If... (Blu-ray, Criterion Collection)
Starring: Malcolm McDowell Director: Lindsay Anderson R

If... (Blu-ray, Criterion Collection)
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Format:  Blu-ray
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Blu-ray Disc Features:

  • Rated: R
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 52 minutes
  • Video: Black & White / Color
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Released: August 30, 2011
  • Originally Released: 1969
  • Label: Criterion
  • Note: Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell
    • Episode of the Scottis TV series Cast and Crew from 2003, featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondricek, Rakoff, director's assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter Ddavid Sherwin
    • Video interview with actor Graham Crowden
    • Thursday's Children (1954), an Academy Award-winning documentary about a school for deaf children, directed by Lindsay Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by actor Richard Burton
    • Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein as well as reprinted by Sherwin and Anderson
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.66

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , &
Directed by

Major Awards:

Cannes 1969 - Palme d'Or

Entertainment Reviews:

Entertainment Weekly - 09/16/1994
"[The film combines] innovative technique with corrosive humor..." -- Rating: A-
Total Film - 03/01/2002
"...Much of its potency is due to the way former documentarian Anderson manages to blend European surrealism into the film's near-documentary style..."
Ultimate DVD - 08/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "With surreal elements....It success perhaps lies in cannily tapping the zeitgeist of the time."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2007
"Though IF....is more sombre than its successors, it shares with them a streak of surrealism and magic realism."

Product Description:

Filmed at the time of the 1968 student uprising in Paris, Lindsay Anderson's IF. . . is one of the seminal films of the era of student revolt. The characters' direct psychological and emotional displays are an allegory for how individuals must either conform to or rebel against the autocratic authority that is imposed upon them in the face of a class-driven society. The microcosm for this allegory in IF... is College House, a typical English boarding school for boys 11-18 years of age. Malcolm McDowell makes a powerful debut in the role of Mick Travis, a student in his Junior year who becomes the leader of a student rebellion. The students are rebelling against the system which allows Senior prefects to control and discipline younger students--through physical beatings--for infractions of the schools arcane and arbitrary rules. When Mick is disciplined by the Seniors for his "bad attitude" he is punished in a harrowing scene which does not romanticize the violence he endures.

Divided into chapters with on-screen titles, Anderson methodically shows Mick's transition from adolescent rebelliousness--growing a mustache--to more serious revolt. Anderson uses surrealism, in a style similar to that of Bunuel or even Monty Python. For instance, the headmaster keeps the school chaplain in a large drawer in his office. Clearly inspired by Jean Vigo's ZERO FOR CONDUCT, IF. . . manages to give a realistic, unsentimental view of English public school life, while connecting--largely through McDowell's wonderfully sympathetic portrait of anguished youth--to the theme of personal freedom vs. social order.

Plot Synopsis:

A shocking, surreal and poignant drama about a trio of lower-class British youths who rebel against their boarding school in a metaphorical statement about English class distinctions.


Production Notes:

  • Theatrical release: March 1969 (New York).
  • That a few scenes in the film are in black and white was seen at the time as a purposeful artistic statement, but Anderson later admitted that it was because of a lack of funds to buy color film.
  • The original script was titled CRUSADERS by David Sherwin and John Howlett.
  • IF... won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • The writers originally wanted Nicholas Ray to direct the picture.

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Product Info

  • UPC: 715515085014
  • Shipping Weight: 0.28/lbs (approx)
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