Sunday, August 24, 2014

McDowell's Looping Trilogy

"Don't die like a dog"

Lindsay Anderson's If.... and O Lucky Man!, sandwiching Stanley Kubrik's A Clockwork Orange appear to be more than just three films that happen to starr Malcom McDowell.

shout-outs to Dr. Tomoculus, K, and MKUltrasound.


First stanza of the poem "If" byRudyard Kipling:
If you can keep your head when all about you
are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
but make allowance for their doubting too.

"If" was a poem Rudyard Kipling wrote for his son. It continues much in this same vein. Setting almost impossible standards of altruism in a world that is often cruel and corrupt.

The booklet for the deluxe dvd of If... opens with Kipling's poem and then goes on to describe how the film is essentially the antithesis of it.

Opening title card for If...
Binah/Understanding and Chokmah/Wisdom make up the left and right Sephiroth of the Supernal Triad at the top of the Kabbalah Tree of Life.

If... is the story of a brash young man, Mick Travis, in his penultimate year of British public school, and the clashes he encounters with the authority figures. Randomly intercut with black & white scenes as well as fantasy sequences.

Along with the many thematic motifs, If... also shares a number of visual motifs with ACO:
bleeding in a corner.
Mick Travis imagines a nude wrestling match with a woman.
This imagery brings to mind the depiction of Lillith, the Scarlet Woman, riding atop the Beast on Crowley's Lust card.
While relaxing in his dorm, Mick listens to the African Missa Luba, and again later from a jukebox at a cafe. The LP of which can be seen in the Chelsea Drug Store which Alex visits in the famous scene from ACO.
(far right, top shelf, next to man in leather jacket)
While hanging with his chums one fateful evening, Mick clutches this orange pillow to his bossom amidst a laughing fit.
It then immediately cuts to a scene with the head Whips and the school administrator. The very moment they all decide to whip Mick and his two friends, the administrator eats this orange wedge.
The whipping scene will be a turning point in Mick's life and everyone else's life around him in this film, for it is what pushes him over the edge and into committing his acts of ultra-violence.
I've heard McDowell state twice that it was Lindsay Anderson who advised him on how to play Alex in ACO - and it was the way he played the whipping scene.
And not only that, but we interestingly also have a fixation on fetuses and space. Remember If... came out in 1968, the same year as Kubrick's 2001:ASO.

Now it's interesting here that Mick has a poster of a lion and another of a gorilla side-by-side on his wall. If it were just one of them, I would probably ignore it, but I feel it's appropriate to point out their significance since it seems a point is being made here.
The Lion corresponds with Leo, the Sun, and thus Tiphareth on the Kaballah Tree of Life. Tiphareth occupies the center of the Tree and directly above it spans the 19th path, the path of Strength, or OZ in Hebrew, which holds the tree apart in it's split state.
The Strength card is attributed to this path, or in Crowley's Thoth deck, the Lust card, as mentioned above.
King Kong of course was killed by Beauty, not the planes. Tiphareth translates to 'Beauty'. Malkuth, the lowest Sephirah, translates to 'Kingdom' or 'Empire'. King Kong climbed the Empire State Building.
King Kong here would be the Beast, which is attributed to the Sun, since the grand sum total on the Babalonian Sun Square equals 666 - the number of The Beast.
The last thing The Girl says to Mick before they nude wrestle is...

During this scene in his dorm room, which I must emphasize again is a very crucial scene, he is trying to think of the worst way to die, and comes up with a nail being driven into the neck; though he adds that it would depend on the speed of the nail, which causes him to launch into his laughing fit.
The significance here is that the Hebrew letter Vav means 'Nail'. The Vav in YHVH is attributed to Tiphareth on the Tree of Life, when divided into the four correspondences of YHVH, the Tetragrammaton.
Vav also represents the Son in the divine family in YHVH, which is what Tiphareth represents.
Da'at is often attributed to the neck when relating to the human body.
When the film first cuts to this scene, we see Mick seeing how long he can hold a plastic bag over his head. This brings to mind the Vav of YHVH representing the element of Air in European occultism, as well as Lillith being a succubus.
It also brings to mind the fact that the word for 'fool' comes from the word 'follis' which is the etymological root of our word for 'bellows' or 'air bag'. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fool
More on Mick as The Fool in O Lucky Man.

The film ends with Mick, his two buddies and The Girl shooting up the students and faculty of the school.
It's fairly clear to most that said ending is a fantasy sequence of Mick's, much like other scenes in the film, i.e. nude wrestling with The Girl, who was also in the basement with them when they found the fetus.
In my post on Antonioni's Beatles/Manson trilogy, which can be seen here, I stated that Mark was a figment of Daria's imagination, as well as their adventures together. I would say the same here in this film.
It's also worth mentioning that in Antonioni's The Passenger, Jack Nicholson's companion is also only referred to as The Girl. (also in Nicholson's The Shooting, and Polanksi's The Ninth Gate).

Also in my post on Antonioni's trilogy, I point out the motifs that can't help but remind one of the "Paul McCartney is Dead" mythos. We see similar themes in If... and O Lucky Man.
If... begins with Mick sporting a mustache.
The whole scene of him with the 'stache takes place in front of a mirror. Mirroring the fact that McCartney began parting his hair on his right in 1967, rather than on the left as it was in the early-'60s. This also playing into the double motif, as well as the clue-finding technique of mirror usage.

Mick (sounds like Mac) and his pal Johnny engage in a mock fight on the city streets, Johnny eventually falls to the ground and plays dead. Immediately after he hits the ground, this red VW Beetle drives by.
Also notice how his red scarf gives the appearance of blood pouring from the neck. Many PID legends state McCartney was beheaded.

It then cuts to this shot of a green mini at a car dealership. I'm pretty sure it's not an Aston Martin, but it's color matches that of Paul McCartney's, which he was rumored to have been driving when legend says he was in a fatal auto accident. It may be nothing, but with the timing, and the fact that the poster on the wall behind it reads "Beater", I felt it was worth mentioning.


What makes Malcolm McDowell an appropriate Paul McCartney surrogate is that he was born a year & a day after McCartney, and he also grew up in Liverpool.

Like Antonioni's Blow-Up and Zabriskie Point, If... is 111 minutes long. We even have a 111 written on the chalkboard in Mick's classroom.
see my post on 111 here.


If... won the 1969 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or award. One of the judges on the panel was Stanley Donen, director of Singin' In The Rain. In the commentary, McDowell recounts the story of Donen personally talking to him & Anderson about the voting process that year, and how If... was decided upon as the winner.
Remember, it is the song Singin' In The Rain that Alex sings while committing his acts of ultra-violence in A Clockwork Orange.


It can be said that A Clockwork Orange is a direct response to If... And also that ACO is the fantasy of an angst-ridden school boy.
I will skip an analytical breakdown of ACO here; because I assume most of my readers are familiar with the film, and also for brevity. But, sandwiched between If... and O Lucky Man, we seem to be seeing the story arc of a teen-ager's struggles through a British school system, a violent young man's troubles with law, order and government, and finally a reformed young man's attempts at launching a career.

There is one thing from ACO that I do want to point out quickly, since I don't see it mentioned often enough, and it trips me out, and I noticed it before I knew of anyone else noticing it. It is in regards to the two young women Alex meets at the record shop.
When the film cuts to the interior of the record shop, we see the strawberry blonde directly in front of the camera, and center-screen we see the brunette in the purple.

Alex enters, stroll by them, and down the rounded hall. As Alex is halfway down the hall we can still see the strawberry blonde standing there looking at records.

Just a few seconds later, Alex rounds the corner, and there are the two young women. This is all one shot, mind you. No cuts, no editing!
They show no signs of being winded. I am assuming they were driven there in a golf cart or something, as soon as they were no longer in the shot. The question is, what was the point of doing that? Cognitive dissonance? Playing with time/space? The kind of trippy stuff I love.

Notice the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour LP on the top shelf.


Due to a lip scar allegedly received during a moped accident, Paul McCartney stated, "So I started to grow a mustache - a sort of Sancho Panza - mainly to cover where my lip had been sewn." (Although he didn't grow the mustache until a year after the accident. Not to mention the 'fake mustache' clues in The Beatles' work).

OLM begins with a short, documentary-style, black & white film of McDowell portraying a coffee bean picker working under cruel conditions. He is caught stealing a bean and has his hands cut off.
And of course, he's donning a Sancho Panza style mustache.


It then cuts to director Lindsay Anderson sitting amongst the film's band and their Orange brand amps while he holds a stopwatch (clock).

It could be said that O Lucky Man is the final chapter of ACO that Kubrick did not include in his film; in which Alex reforms and leads a straight life.

Thus continues the story of Mick Travis. Now he is a salesman trainee for Imperial Coffee.
During the first training session, his colleagues are unable to smile, but Mick is able to astound Gloria, their trainer, with his smile. More on that, later.

Soon, the suits at Imperial learn that their lead salesman Jim Oswald has disappeared and they need someone to replace him immediately. Remember the significance of the Hebrew word OZ in regards to the split Tree of Life.

The boss asks Gloria which of her trainees is best suited to replace Oswald, and she picks Mick Travis.
So Mick is now taking over Jim Oswald's spot as salesman of the Northern territory.
The last thing the boss gives Mick before he takes over for Oswald is this green apple.

As Mick heads north, we hear the news on his radio. It gives the weather forecast for "tomorrow and Thursday", which means this is a Tuesday, the next day will be Wednesday.


It then cuts to Mick now wearing his coat, and we see it is foggy Wednesday morning.
Beatles fans, particularly followers of the "Paul is dead" mythos will be reminded here of the song She's Leaving Home, which begins with the line "Wednesday morning at 5:00".
Which some PIDers believe is a clue as to when Paul died in a car accident.

Notice even the O in the O Lucky Man title is a clock set at 5:00.

The Campbell Clan of Scotland committed their famous Massacre of Glencoe on Wednesday, February 13th, 1692, which began at 5 o' clock in the morning.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Glencoe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Campbell
Mick is then passed by a speeding young man in a sports car. As he speeds ahead and vanishes into the fog we hear the sound of a loud car crash!

As Mick eventually approaches the scene, we see that the young man has collided with a delivery truck!
It might be hard to see, but the writing on the truck says Lanzer Graves & Son.
Mick rushes to help the drivers. The truck driver lays dead on the ground, and the young man dies seconds after Mick attempts to comfort him.

What's interesting is that right after the young man dies, his car radio turns on and plays pop/rock music. Despite a death, the music must go on...
The police soon arrive and tell Mick to move along, and they refuse to let him report the accident or provide a testimony. They are more interested in looting the free food that has spilled into the street.

Once Mick arrives at his room & board, Oswald's old room, what is the attendant's name?

"Paul is dead" states that Paul's replacement is a man named William/Bill.

McDowell goes up to his room and rifles through Oswald's stuff. One thing he takes special interest in is a stack of porno mags, and of all the ones he picks up and reads, it's the one with a model wearing a light-colored wig...

bringing to mind the model Alex is tested with in ACO.


Down the rabbit hole. Notice he is eating his green apple.

#9 on McDowell's sales clipboard is DeLarge; his last name in ACO.

One of Mick's new contacts takes him to a strip club. As he enters he is greeted by Linda.
(McCartney's wife's name. They were married from 1969 until her death in 1998).

While in the strip club, Mick is introduced to a Harry Wilson. Which brings to mind Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister from 1964-1970. (and again in 1976).
Harold Wilson is not only mentioned in the Beatles song Taxman, but it was he who suggested the Beatles be awarded the MBE medals in 1965.


After Mick's first stint as Oswald's replacement, Imperial Coffee phones him and informs him that he is to do sales in Scotland, as well.
"Paul is dead" fans will see the significance in this, in that in the late -60s McCartney moved to a farm in Scotland. It was there that he and Linda had a reclusive period in the early-70s after the Beatles broke up. PIDers say it is the replacement who was returning to his original homeland and farming life in Scotland, though McCartney originally purchased the farm in the summer of 1966.
Before leaving, Monty, the elderly gentleman in the room next door, gives Mick a tailored golden suit.
The golden fleece before his Odyssey.

Venturing towards Scotland, Mick gets lost and eventually finds himself at a military base.
Remember, earlier he spent an evening at a strip club.
In the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour, Ringo & Paul go to a military base and George & John go to a strip club.

While trying to figure out where he was, before becoming aware he'd stumbled onto a military base, through his binoculars, Mick sees these three spherical buildings, which make me think of the Supernal Triad of the three Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, Kether, Chokmah & Binah.
Is it a coincidence that he sees this right as the man on the radio is talking about sudden illumination?

The military does not take kindly to Mick being on their premises. They quickly apprehend him, blindfold him, and take him into the base for interrogation.
And who is the interrogator? The man who played Alex's father in A Clockwork Orange - Phillip Stone.
He will play two other roles as this film continues on.
Kubrick fans know that Phillip Stone also played Grady in The Shining, as the former Overlook caretaker, who talks to Jack in the bathroom and convinces Jack to kill his family. He is one of only a few actors to appear in more than one Kubirck film.

There is an emergency evacuation of the base and Mick barely manages to escape with his life. Although his car is destroyed in the bombardment.

Mick then wanders the countryside and is taken in by a church family. The mother is played by the actress who played the hostess at Oswald's old room & board. Her real name is Mary MacLeod, and eventually, she breast feeds Mick in the sanctuary of the church. Which also brings to mind Lucy from the Moloko milk bar.
McCartney's mother's name was Mary. She died of breast cancer.

by the way, while staying in Oswald's old room, Mick and the hostess began a sexual relationship.

After being nursed back to health, Mick heads through the church graveyard on his way back south. While hitch-hiking, he is picked up by a man working for a genetic research lab, looking for paid volunteers. Mick agrees to partake.
Many will recognize this actor as Alex's best friend Dim, in A Clockwork Orange. He was also the Master of Ceremonies at the strip club from earlier in this film.

Lid-locked by Doctor Millar upon arriving at the genetic research lab.
Mick continues eating his green apple as he and Dr. Millar negotiate the amount he is to be paid for volunteering.

One of the lab technicians is named Stanley. In the audio commentary, McDowell mentions that he & L. Anderson decided to name him Stanley as their "ode to Stanley Kubrick".
What is Mick's room number at the research center?

Mick sneaks out of his room after a failed attempt to get him to go to sleep. He goes into a fellow patient's room and asks him how much he's getting paid. The young man is sweating profusely and seems extremely agitated. Curious, Mick removes the young man's blanket to see that he is a genetically altered pig/goat-man!
This is the same actor who played the young man in the fatal car crash earlier in the film.

This actor is Jeremy Bulloch. His most famous role came later as Boba Fett, from the Star Wars films. This actor will appear again towards the end of the O Lucky Man.

Speaking of genetics and the fact that Boba Fett is a clone; Ancient Hebrew tradition states that a Golem is brought to life by writing on it's forehead Aleph, Met, Tav (AMT), which is pronounced Emet, and means Truth. Aleph, Mem and Tav are the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. So it's interesting that we see this actor, who later plays Boba Fett (a clone) near the beginning, middle and end of the film.


Mortified by the pig/goat-man, Mick flees the research center and is knocked off his bike by a van of musicians. They agree to let him ride along with them.
The musicians are Alan Price and his band; the band that is performing the soundtrack for the film, playing themselves. Mick is now interacting with the Greek chorus that is providing the very on-camera music to the soundtrack of his adventure.

From Nietzsche's book The Birth of Tragedy:
"Schlegel's observation in this sense reveals a deeper significance. The chorus IS the "ideal spectator" in so far as it is the only BEHOLDER, the beholder of the visionary world of the scene. A public of spectators, as we know it, was unknown to the Greeks. In their theatres the terraced structure of the theatron rising in concentric arcs enabled everyone to OVERLOOK, in an actual sense, the entire world of culture around him, and in an overabundance of contemplation to imagine himself one of the chorus.
According to this view then, we may call the chorus in it's primitive stage in early tragedy a self-mirroring of the Dionysian man: a phenomenon which is most clearly exemplified by the process of the actor, who, if he be truly gifted, sees hovering almost tangibly before his eyes the character he is to represent. The satyr chorus is above all a vision of the Dionysian throng, just as the world of the stage is, in turn, a vision of the satyr chorus."

Alan Price's most well-known album is titled Between Yesterday And Today.
There's a 'yesterday version' and a 'today version' of the title track.
The two sides of the record are respectively titled the 'yesterday side' and the 'today side'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Between_Today_and_Yesterday

The Beatles have an infamous 1966 American release titled Yesterday and Today. It was first issued with what is known as the "Butcher" image. After a public disgust, the LPs were quickly recalled and replaced with a new image.
Notice in the first image, they are holding 14 piece of meat, paralleling Osiris being cut into 14 pieces by Set. In the new image Paul is in a box, paralleling Osiris being put into a box and killed by Set. (the second image is also flipped).


In the tour van, Mick eventaully realizes that there is a young woman sleeping next to him under a fur coat. They meet and we learn her name is Patricia. She is played by Helen Mirren.
She is also seen earlier in the film during the scenes in which the band is performing the soundtrack.
Remember, Helen Mirren & Malcom McDowell went on to starr together in Caligula.
Interestingly, she was also the voice of Deep Thought in the film adaptation of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, in which she states the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of life, the Universe, and Everything" is "42".
In this film, she is essentially the Shekinah figure missing from ACO.
What is also interesting is that Sharon Tate's final role was as a woman named Patricia. And remember from my blog post on Blow-Up, Thomas' love interest in that film was named Patricia. Thomas was played by David Hemmings who starred as Sharon Tate's brother in her first film Eye of the Devil.
See Sharon Tate post here.
Anyways, Patricia informs Mick that the golden thread for his jacket is really nylon.
They eventually begin making out. Alan Price looks back and refers to Mick as a waif and a stray.
When he was being admitted to the genetic lab, we learned that Mick's full name is Michael Arnold Travis.
Initials M.A.T.

In the the Marseilles Tarot decks, The Fool is called Le Mat, and in the Italian decks it goes by Il Matto, which translates to "madman" or "beggar", as he is often depicted as a vagabond, or a waif or stray.
So we seem to have Mick being identified as The Fool, here.
In recent times, The Fool has been assigned to the number 0 in the deck. He begins the Hero's journey, and the sequence returns to him and begins again.

in If... when cleaning out the basement as punishment, Mick and his mates find this large plastic crocodile. Crowley's Fool stands over a crocodile; as he is associated with Hoor-Pa-Kraat, or Harpocrates, the innocent Egyptian lord of silence, who treads upon the crocodile god Sebek the Devourer.


The film splits in two at the moment Mick and Patricia are in union, or Alchemically, in Coniunctio: the coming together of opposites.


The two halves seem to be a mirror image of the other. Or, a Mirren image of each other.
Helen serving as the mirror held up to the center of the film.
Also note, the last third or so of ACO has Alex revisiting all the places of the first 2/3 of the film, only this time he cannot resort to violence.

Begin part 2
Mick and the band eventually arrive in London. The next morning Mick finds Patricia on the roof painting the "Ohm" symbol and she explains to him the meaning.
Read Juli Kearns' brilliant synopsis on Michelangelo Antonioni's usage of "Ohm" in his English-speaking trilogy, here.

Mick then tells Patricia of how he aspires to climb his way to the top of the corporate ladder and own his very own tower someday. Patricia informs him that the tower he is currently admiring belongs to her father, Sir James Burgess, one of the richest, and cruelest, men in the world. (Remember Anthony Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange. And that James Paul McCartney has been knighted).
Notice the famous Radio Tower standing prominently behind it. The 1966 Melody Maker Awards were held there sometime in September, although nobody knows exactly which day. Most Paul is dead believers state this was the last appearance of the 'real James Paul McCartney'.

So, Patricia comes from a wealthy family, has decided to tag along with a band, and is trying her hand as an artist. An accurate description of Yoko Ono.

Ralph Richardson plays Monty and Sir James Burgess.
He later plays The Supreme Being in Terry Gilliam's film Time Bandits. His roles in O Lucky Man contain many parallels.
Interesting that the first line after he appears in Time Bandits mentions scarab beetles. George Harrison was a producer on Time Bandits.
(Terry Gilliam is a member of Monty Python).

And, oh yeah, Ralph Richardson is also in Paul McCartney's self-written film Give My Regards To Broad Street. Richardson's character is named Jim. The name of Paul's father. This was his last film, (not the best way to go).


Mick, claiming to have kidnapped Patricia, gains an audience with her father, Burgess, in hopes of either extorting money from him or obtaining a job.
The fall-guy in Malkuth (Kingdom), with aspirations of climbing the tower to the top. Like King Kong.

A scientist, played by the man who played Dr. Millar, distraught as a result of Mr. Burgess' cruel decisions, decides himself to leap to his death out the top floor window, taking Burgess' assistant William with him.
The two men falling from the top of the tower, from the king's office window, can't help but remind one of the Tower card of the Tarot.

Mick then becomes Burgess' new assistant, replacing William.

Mick's first outing with Mr. Burgess is accompanying him at a meeting with African dignitaries, military weapon suppliers, and even his Imperial Coffee predecessor Jim Oswald.
Oswald says "Good to see you made it" to Mick. Oswald also narrates a slide show that is shown to Burgess regarding a resort being built in Africa, that Burgess plans to invest in, but is concerned about the African native rebel's attempts at destroying it.

Here, Mick Travis also meets Basil Keyes, who will supply him with a form of napalm nicknamed "honey" which will be used against African rebels who are planning to stop the resort from being built.
Remember from my Antonioni post, it was Jack Nicholson as David Locke who took over the life of a supplier of weapons to African rebels.
Also remember in If... Mick's dorm room is filled with posters depicting imagery of African and military motifs; added to the fact his favorite music was the Africa Missa luba.
It's also important to know that Imperial Coffee deals in Nigerian coffee beans.


The drummer of Alan Price's band is clean-shaven throughout the entire film, except for one brief scene we see him with a mustache.


Sir James Burgess' butler is played by Phillip Stone, Alex's father. His 2nd appearance thus far.

Burgess uses Mick to take the fall for the illegal export transaction of gold bullion which is contained inside a briefcase.

So, we have in O Lucky Man; A briefcase in Mick Travis' possession links him to the secret funding of wars against African revolutionaries. Weapons of which were provided via Basil Keyes.
In The Passenger; a packet in David Locke's possession links him to the secret funding and supplying of wars for African revolutionaries.
A briefcase in former Beatles equipment manager Mal Evans' possession goes missing after he is killed by gunfire in 1976. According to legend, the briefcase may contain a diary or manuscript that exposes something that happened, most likely to McCartney, in Africa.

Mick Travis is busted by the Fraud Squad and ends up serving 5 years in prison. Again, echoing ACO.

Before being released, the prison warden, seeing that Mick has learned his lessons, gives Mick a book of inspirational poems and quotes.
Upon his release he encounters a Salvation Army Band and donates what little money he has, only to be pick-pocketted and condemned for his sins by the band leader, who is played by Phillip Stone/Grady. Notice Mary MacLeod is playing his wife.
The film in this scene is much grainier than that of the rest of the film. That, in tandem with the silent film dialogue cards that will be used a couple scenes later, give a definite film-within-a-film feel.

Mick then attempts to convince a distraught housewife with children out of committing suicide. The woman is played by Rachel Roberts, who played Gloria, Mick's trainer at Imperial Coffee; and the mistress of the African dignitary. Not only does Mick fall from her 3rd floor window, but fails to dissuade her of her fatal intent.

Sadly enough, Rachel Roberts committed suicide in 1980. The same year of Lennon's death. Alan Price played music at her memorial service.

Rachel Roberts co-starred with Albert Finney in Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, a scene of which can be seen in the Twickenham Studios mural from The Beatles For Sale gatefold image; directly between George & Paul, next to Paul's elbow.
Saturday Night & Sunday Morning was a film based on the book of the same name, which was part of the Angry Young Men works that revolutionized the British youth culture of the late-50s through early-60's; prefacing Beatlemania. A Taste Of Honey was another. The Beatles covered the song from the play & film on their debut album. Remember, Mick purchased a large arsenal of "honey" from Keyes.

Notice to the right of McCartney's head is actress Jayne Mansfield from her role as Billie in It Takes A Thief, where she plays a car thief. Mansfield died in an auto accident in 1967. So, here, McCartney is surrounded by two young women who both experienced an untimely death. Also notice he's holding a cigarette in his right hand.
Albert Finney's best friend in Saturday Night & Sunday Morning was played by Norm Rossington, Whom most will recognize as the man who played The Beatles' road manager in A Hard Day's Night.

If... and O Lucky Man were produced by Memorial Enterprises, which was headed by Albert Finney.
http://www.imdb.com/company/co0103375/?ref_=ttco_co_1
Memorial Enterprises first film was Privilege, released in 1967, about a young pop star who is used by the church and government to sway the mindsets of the youth.
Their last film was Memoirs Of A Survivor, which was released in September 1981, nine months after Lennon's shooting.
So they began in 1967, when the PID rumors first quietly started in London, and they concluded shortly after Lennon's death.

Still determined to keep his spirits high amidst a cruel, cynical world (think Kipling's poem "If"), Mick helps feed the tramps at a homeless camp, one of which being Patricia, only to be beaten up and left for dead by them all. Again echoing ACO.

Sir James Burgess is the demiurge (A. Burgess author of ACO), the lord of the Faulty Tower of Babel, which Travis aspires to, but ends up exiled at the bottom of the Kingdom(Malkuth) with he King's daughter, the Shekinah.
Sir James as Monty gives the Golden Fleece to the hero before his Odyssey, and it is his daughter who informs him the golden thread is only nylon.
from Crowley's Book of Thoth:

Like many films of the late-'60s and early-'70s, this seems to be the story of a failed attempt at ascending the Tree, Alchemy, usurping the current king, etc.

Bedraggled and destitute, Mick roams the city streets begging for hand-outs. Interesting that Anderson has Mick stand in front of this T Rex display; in light of Marc Bolan dying in a car accident in '77, and that there are a number of 'prophetic' lyrics in his music to such.

Mick eventually runs into a young man handing out flyers for acting auditions.
This is the young man who wrecked the sports car earlier, and the pig/goat man from Dr. Millar's lab.

Mick decides to take a crack at the auditions. And after vaguely recognizing Hellen Mirren, who registered him at the front door, Mick sits amongst his fellow auditioners.
Interesting that he sits by the Lennon-y looking guy. (Who also played one of the Whips in If...)

Lindsay Anderson, playing the director at the auditions, takes interest in Mick and calls him over for a personal audition. He has him hold a stack of text books, bringing to mind his role in If...

Anderson then has him hold the gun he used in If...

Anderson then asks Mick to smile, but Mick refuses; asking why and stating that there's no reason to. After repeatedly asking Mick to smile, and continually being disobeyed, Anderson clocks Mick over the head with the script to O Lucky Man, a very thick book.
Which doesn't just break the 4th wall, it demolishes the other three as well.

Slowly, a sinister smile creeps across Mick's face.

Movie fades to outro.

Mick is auditioning for If... ACO and OLM, here. This is where the Hero's journey has ended, only to loop back to the beginning.

The added significance of the similarities between these shots from ACO and their Anderson counterparts is that they literally bookend ACO. These are the very first and last shots.


As I mentioned earlier, the 2nd half of the film seems to be a mirrored version of the 1st half.
The subtle difference between the two is that the first half is about the PID myth, and the second half is the story of Paul, but backwards.
From the end of the film to the beginning of the second 2nd half:
He is selected amongst his peers to play a role (sitting next to the Lennon-y guy).
He's the altruistic, lovable guy, but dies (the homeless tried to kill him).
He goes to jail. (Purgatory, underworld).
Comes back out and is associated with the elite powers and is money-obsessed.
Winds up with a group of musicians.
The 2nd half is also basically an alternate universe version of ACO, but with Hellen Mirren as the missing Shekinah figure.

The two halves of the film are also like the two sides of a record, and each episode is like a song. The recurring actors in different roles reminds me of Beethoven's 5th Symphony with the one motif recurring throughout the song, but in a different light each time. (Alex is obsessed with Beethoven).
I'm also apt to see the film as a concept album that Alan Price's band is writing, and the characters are much like characters in the songs; such as Lovely Rita, Lucy, Mr. Kite, etc. And the musicians can likewise be fictitious characters interacting within their own album.

OLM reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode 'Shadow Play', where a man has a recurring nightmare that is the same every night, except the roles of the characters get switched around each new night.
This episode is playing on the jumbo-screen in Times Square during Tom Cruise's nightmare scene at the beginning of Vanilla Sky, (post on that here).
Shadow Play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFO-eEb_8Hk

The recurring actors in different roles also makes me thing the movie is a dream; characters in dreams often morph into other characters seamlessly.
But the Greek chorus also interacting with the characters of the story gives the film a feeling of "the main character needs to realize he's an actor in a film". And being smacked over the head with the script serves as the ultimate wake-up call.

Doing so did finally get Mick to smile. And remember in the early part of the film when Gloria asks the trainees to smile, but Mick is the only one that can, and does it well. So not only does this trilogy seem to loop, but OLM seems to be it's own self-contained loop.

Reminds me of the heartbeat the begins and ends Pink Floyd's album Dark Side Of The Moon. And the fact that the beams of white light meet and the rainbows on the front & back sides meet and continue with the heartbeat in the gatefold. Pink Floyd also happens to have a song titled 'If'.

by Mk Ultrasound


It seems the only actors who were contained to only one role were Oswald and the Soup Lady. Not sure what that could mean.
The Soup Lady was played by Vivian Pickles, who also played the mother in Harold & Maude. Harold, played by young McCartney look-alike Bud Cort, repeatedly commits phoney acts of suicide in front of his aloof mother.
(Maude played by Ruth Gordon of Rosemary's Baby).



Britannia Hospital (1982), is Lindsay Anderson's proper third installment to his Mick Travis trilogy.
Other than the recurring DJ character with the Maharishi poster on his wall, the only Beatles node I gleaned from the film was Dr. Millar's overall theme of creating a super race; the next step in the evolution of man, or Magick Supermen, as the Beatles put it.
I found it noteworhty how Dr. Millar described his creation as the Genesis, and "the coming into being", which what the Scarab beetle represents.
Definitely lots of stuff about genetic engineering and royalty.

There's a scene where Dr. Millar splits a human brain in half. He then proceeds to liquify it in a blender and drink it.

There may or may not be a connection here, but McCartney's video for Appreciate came out the day after I watched Britannia Hospital, so perhaps sync is trying to tell me something. In it, there are many shots of this halved brain. It is in front of this split brain that McCartney teaches Newman the robot how to cut loose and act like a human.


Mick Travis meets his end in this film when his head gets Frankensteined onto a patchworked body in Dr. Millar's lab.

There are several instances of Frankenstein motifs in The Beatles work, one noteworthy occurrence is that of John Lennon as a Frankenstein in the Yellow Submarine film. Drinking a potion turns him into human John.

Frankenstein is a quintessential Osiris resonator. He's green and he's re-assembled.
Interestingly, Osiris died in his 28th year of reign. And of course the license plate on the VW Beetle on the Abbey Road cover reads 28IF.


A dowell is a wooden peg, much like Osiris' wooden phallus. McDowell gets reassembled much like Osiris in Britannia Hospital.

When Mick awakens he bite's Millar's hand and has to be pulled off by the attendants. Gripping on to Millar as hard as he did, caused his head to ripped from the body. His decapitated body then makes one final charge at Millar before finally being subdued.


What I found most interesting is that Briannia Hospital also starrs Mark Hamill as Red. (Luke Skywalker's call number during the strike on the Death Star is 'Red 5').
Red is Mick's co-worker as they attempt to infiltrate Dr. Millar's lab and expose the nefarious goings on of the hospital.
Mick is the eyes and ears of the operation, with his remote camera. The signal is sent to a nearby truck and recorded by Red, making Red the brain, and thus inextricably linking McDowell and Hamill.

Something I tripped out on last fall was the thematic and visual similarities between ACO, George Lucas' films THX 1138 and Star Wars.

If you watch A Clockwork Orange as if it came out after Star Wars, the first scene with Julian (David Prowse/Darth Vader) plays like a Darth Vader gag, as he is breathing heavily off screen while lifting weights.

It's interesting that ACO and THX 1138 both came out in 1971, and began filming in 1969.
To me, they are both, as Lucas described THX, "Not a film about the future, but a film from the future." Where the viewer not only has to become accustomed to the culture, but also to the way films are made in the futuristic culture.

THX 1138 and ACO seem to be essentially the same movie. A man going against the establishment, that is manipulating his mind.
"I was cured alright." Alex claims, but is his new life really any better than his previous?
THX is free from the oppressive underground city, but is the world on the surface habitable? Is there a life for him up there? He is free, alright.
It's also interesting that Alex is having sex in the final scene of ACO, and it was the crime of sex that got THX in trouble.

THX 1138 and Star Wars seem to be inextricably linked. One of many examples is the old man using the young man to overthrow the government.
It's also interesting that Singin' In The Rain stars Debbie Reynolds, the mother of Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia.

Star Wars was produced by 20th Century Fox. Britannia Hospital was to be, as well, but the deal fell through, only to be saved by producer Clive Parsons who managed to set up financing through EMI.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britannia_Hospital

Incidentally, MK Ultrasound added up the sum total minutes of If..., ACO, OLM and Britannia Hospital, and they equalled 547 minutes, which is 9.11666 hours.
Which is interesting in light of the film/album sync-up of ACO and Supertramp's Breakfast In America album - also discovered by MK Ultrasound. Added to the fact that when the album cover is flipped, the U and the P of Supertramp appear as a 9 and an 11 behind the WTC Towers, as the waitress, Lady Liberty, holds up a glass of orange juice in front of them.

Supertramp's album Crime Of The Century syncs up with ACO if you start the album the moment Alex taps his cane next to the two girls at the record shop (think Eyes Wide Shut), and says, "I ordered this..." to the clerk.
When Crime Of The Century ends, start Breakfast In America. This is when Alex is being forced to watch Nazi films, and BiA should start the moment a building collapses.

(Crime Of The Century is a concept album about a British school boy).


McDowell starrs in Royal Flash, in which his character is captured by Otto Von Bismarck and forced to impersonate a Danish prince. The film was directed by Richard Lester, director of A Hard Day's Night and Help!, as well as Superman II & III.


McDowell narrates The Compleat Beatles documentary (1982). A popular chronology of their entire career predating The Anthology.



McDowell starrs as H.G. Wells in Time After Time (1979), chasing his friend Jack the Ripper to the year 1979. The date? November 5th, just like in Back to the Future!
And if that weren't enough, the film co-starrs Mary Steenburgen as Wells' love interest. McDowell & Steenburgen soon married and had two children.
She was Christopher Lloyd's love interest in Back to the Future III. Time After Time was Steenburgen's 2nd film. Her first was as C. Lloyd's love interest in the fully-loaded 1978 Jack Nicholson film Goin' South.

Of course, on November 4th, 1979, Iranian activists stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. Which led to the freeing attempt of six of the hostages under the guise of a sci-fi film titled Argo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(2012_film)
Wells' time traveling machine in Time After Time is named Argo.

Jack the Ripper is the ultimate 19th Century master of ultra-violence. He states to Wells that he prefers the 20th century because of it's widespread violence - contrary to Wells' vision of a Utopia.



Turning back the clock to 1965, Lindsay Anderson made a short film titled The White Bus, which was released in 1967.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Bus
The many similarities between The White Bus and The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film are interesting enough, but there are even more Beatles nodes to be found in it.
The lead character, only credited as 'The Girl' (see The Passenger, The Ninth Gate, The Shooting, etc.), played the aloof receptionist at one of Mick's first coffee sales stops, where he meets the man who takes him to the strip club.

The first 12 minutes of The White Bus pretty much sums up the Beatles timeline. First, The Girl gets on a train where many people are wearing long striped scarves, which could very well be red & white. So, we've got A Hard Day's Night and Help wyncs going on.

She then watches a woman almost get run down in the street, the men in the car chase and abduct that woman - for no reason pertaining to the film.

The Girl then gets on the tour bus. Everyone on board is Caucasian except one Asian woman, an African, and a man from India.
Think Yoko Ono, Paul's mysterious trip to Africa, and the Beatles interest in India.

5 comments:

tokugawa7 said...

wow, incredible research. unrelated I watched polanskis venus in fur last night...
lead actor looks identical to polanski.
there is a large wooden phallus on stage.
the film is essentially an ode to Lucifer/morning star/venus/aphrodite.
it was pretty good.. you should check it out sometime. subs r a lil tough to follow, the dialogue is rather quick throughout.
I'll def check these 3 films out as well. thanks for your posts. take care
-gerard

JasonTryp said...

In the film THE ROYAL FLASH (1975), which was the film McDowell performed in after O LUCKY MAN, he plays a British Soldier whom is forced to impersonate (replace) a Danish prince whom is just about identical in appearance to him. He just dies his hair black and changes his hair part to complete the process. The director of the film? RICHARD LESTER.

woslo w said...

Oh, wow! THANK YOU! I'd been meaning to watch that, but hadn't been able to track it down yet. Did Not Notice it was directed by Lester!

JasonTryp said...

Yep, anytime. It's an entertaining film. Love your writing by the way.

Redwel Trabant said...

Great piece. Couldn't help but notice the similarity of the photo of Mick with the plastic bag on his head and the cover of the Rolling Stones album Goats Head Soup.