If.... (Masters of Cinema) review

The first in Lindsay Anderson's trio of state-of-the-nation satires starring Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis (the others being 1973's O Lucky Man! and 1982's Britannia Hospital), If…. follows the exploits of three nonconformist pupils at the College House public school, whose disaffection eventually boils over into anarchy and violence.

Freely mixing reality and fantasy, Anderson's allegorical masterpiece uses the traditions of the public school system to examine the upper echelons of British society. All of which made it all the more surprising when David Cameron described this classic of counterculture cinema as one of his favourite British films.

Picture: We've no complaints whatsoever about this disc's AVC-encoded 1.66:1 1080p transfer. Colours are robust and well saturated, while blacks are suitably deep, and film grain has been reproduced faithfully. The occasional black and white inserts also hold up well with excellent contrast and clarity. And the print itself appears in wonderful shape, clearly having undergone a serious amount of restoration and remastering. Another hit for the Masters of Cinema stable.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Eureka provides a restored version of the film's original mono soundtrack on this Blu-ray. Understandably, the LPCM 1.0 mix doesn't offer much in the way of dynamic range, but what matters most is that there's no distortion, hiss, dropout or other issues to disrupt the presentation of the dialogue and music.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: This UK Blu-ray platter clearly outdoes Criterion's celebrated US hi-def release when it comes to extras.

While both releases share a commentary track by film historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell (recorded separately) and Anderson's 1954 short film Thursday's Children, Eureka trumps Criterion with 11 newly-recorded interviews, two US theatrical trailers and two additional Lindsay Anderson shorts – 1952's Three Installations and 1955's Henry.

As with all Masters of Cinema releases, Eureka's If…. Blu-ray also comes accompanied by an exclusive booklet. Across its 56 pages you'll find new essays about all three of the Mick Travis films, a new interview with actor Brian Pettifer, smaller pieces about the three shorts included on the disc and – best of all – an archival piece in which Anderson 'interviews' himself about the film.
Extras rating: 4.5/5

We say: A magnificent hi-def outing for this classic of British cinema. David Cameron should be well chuffed...

If…., Eureka! Masters of Cinema, Region B BD, £23 Approx