O Lucky Man!

I like a lot of cult movies but I don’t like this one. Good thing you don’t need the movie to enjoy the soundtrack. In context, Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! is one of a pack of experimental counterculture movies that have, despite initial lack of success, become touchstones, from Easy Rider and Harold and Maude on the high end of popular, to Nicolas Roeg’s Performance on the far side of cult. Like those movies, this one stands out for its then-radical use of rock music as part of the narrative. It’s actually one of the greatest original pop soundtracks, with songs by former Animal Alan Price. The synergy between story and music is perfect, and the music also stands alone. I’m not sure what else Price has done with his solo career, but no doubt this is his brightest moment. Today, using pop songs to add depth and emotion to movie narrative is a cheap ploy, a crutch for lazy filmmakers who don’t know how else to keep the ball rolling, but in 1973 it was groundbreaking. This is one of a few pioneering collaborations in film and pop music, that showcased how much the two forms could enhance each other. Again, I can’t stand the movie (because of reasons), but I love the songs, and can’t I deny it as a trailblazer.


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