Retro Review: if… (1968)

beetleypete

At a time when street protests were all the rage in Europe, and British society was going through a period of great change, this unusual film was released in cinemas here. Directed by Lindsay Anderson, a one-time darling of the British New Wave Cinema, and starring many stalwart character actors, alongside some exciting new young discoveries, including Malcolm McDowell, in his first screen role. It lampooned the old Public School (read expensive private school) system in the UK, and injected the revolutionary spirit of the time too.

Set in a fictional boarding school, we follow the antics of a disillusioned trio of older boys who are all more than ready to rebel against the privileged system that they are a part of. The familiar hangovers of Victorian schooling are still there. Younger boys used as servants for the Prefects, and harsh corporal punishment dealt out too. Homosexuality is rife, and…

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