If . . .

Screening on Film
Directed by Lindsay Anderson.
With Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick.
UK, 1968, 35mm, color and b&w, 111 min.
Print source: HFA

Y is for Youth Gone Wild

The tale of boys’-school rebellion perfected by Vigo in Zero for Conduct is here transposed to the revolutionary climate of May 1968. Taking Vigo’s cue, Anderson mixes fantasy and reality in the story of Mick Travis, a young anarchist who attempts to overthrow a British public school. McDowell reprised the role of Travis in two more films with Anderson, O, Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital, but neither performance matched the raw intensity of this character’s debut. Although it serves the film’s surreal tone, Anderson’s choice to film with both black-and-white and color film stock was actually prompted when the director went over his budget and could only afford to purchase black-and-white stock.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive