If…. (1968)

IF…. (1968)
Article 4960 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-17-2015
Directed by Lindsay Anderson
Featuring Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick
Country: UK
What it is: Political allegory

Rebellion brews in a dictatorial boys’ school in England.

I’ve encountered Lindsay Anderson’s work before when I saw O LUCKY MAN!, so I was somewhat prepared for what to expect in terms of the cinematic style and the potential fantastic content. That being said, this one is more focused and less sprawling than the other movie, and though it takes a certain amount of time for the shape of the movie to manifest itself, it has quite a lot of power when it does. The cast is broken out into five groups; the rebellious “Crusaders”, the privileged class that serves as disciplinarians and policemen, the “Whips”, the “Staff” of the school, and the “Juniors” and “Seniors”, the younger boys and older boys of the school. As the head of the “Crusaders”, Malcolm McDowell practically steals the movie, but after reading his bio on IMDB, I gather that he had plenty of personal experience to rely on for help in shaping his role. The fantastic content includes the various surreal touches that lend an air of unreality to the film. Still, it remains primarily a drama and is only marginally a fantasy.

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