if…. – Lindsay Anderson (1968)

if…. is a 1968 British drama film produced and directed by Lindsay Anderson satirising English public school life. Famous for its depiction of a savage insurrection at a fictitious boys’ boarding school, the X certificate film was made at the time of the May 1968 protests in France by a director who was strongly associated with the 1960s counterculture. The film stars Malcolm McDowell in his first screen role and his first appearance as Anderson’s ‘everyman’ character Mick Travis. Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, David Wood, and Robert Swann also star. if…. won the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. In 1999, the British Film Institute named it the 12th greatest British film of the 20th Century; in 2004, the magazine Total Film named it the 16th greatest British film of all time. Set in a traditional British public school in the late 1960s, the film opens as the pupils return for a new term. Mick Travis, Wallace, and Johnny are three non-conformist boys in the lower sixth form, their penultimate year. They are watched and persecuted by the ‘Whips’, upper sixth formers given authority as prefects over the other boys. The junior boys are made to act as personal servants for the Whips, who discuss them as sex objects. Early scenes show the school’s customs and traditions. The headmaster is somewhat remote from the boys and the housemasters. Mick’s housemaster, Mr Kemp, is easily manipulated by the Whips into giving them a free hand in enforcing discipline. Some members of the staff are shown behaving cruelly or bizarrely. …”
Guardian: Anarchy in the UK
Guardian: If…
NY Times: If . . .’ Begins Run:Tale of School Revolt Opens at the Plaza By VINCENT CANBY (March 10, 1969)
YouTube: if… – Trailer

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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