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USA, 1973 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Lindsay Anderson

This is a fairy tale abonl the adventures of Mick Travis, a clear-eyed young man urgently determined to succeed. He is training as a coffee salesman for the Imperial Coffee Co. The sudden defection of one of the company's representatives is a stroke of luck for him: the Managing Director dispatches him to the North East, to take over the whole area.

At his destination, Mick makes new friends: the randy landlady, Mary Bell, whom he finds in his bed when he comes home at night, the elderly tailor-philosopher, Monty, who gives him a present before heroes, and among his first customers the worldly Charlie Johnson, who treats him to a night out at a strip club. But Mick has to move on.

Surveying an Atomic Research Establishment from afar, he is arrested, taken inside and interrogated. He signs a confession, but manages to escape.

He goes into a country church, collapses behind a pew during a Harvest Thanksgiving service. Fount! and succoured next morning by the Vicar's wife, he is led to the motorway going South.

He hitches a lift and is picked tip by a Male Nurse collecting volunteers for medical research. Al the Clinic, Mick strikes a bargain with the ruthless Professor Millar for the lease of experimental rights in his body. When he sees a victim of Millar's research, he flees in terror.

Mick travels to London with Patricia, the tearaway daughter of a rich industrialist, and spends the night with her. But she mocks at his simple-minded ideas of success. He contrives a meeting with her father, Sir James Burgess, who engages him as his personal assistant. He enjoys a brief spell of success and power, until Sir James incriminates him in a crooked business deal. Mick is sentenced to five years hard labour. Mick emerges from prison a changed man: Now he believes in Goodness. Penniless, he meets a Lady ministering to the poor, and volunteers to help. He brings hot soup and messages of hope to metho drinkers and derelicts. They retaliate with violence.

He is literally in the gutter, when luck at last comes to the rescue: he meets a Young Man carrying a sandwich board: there is an opening for an unknown who wants to become a star . . .

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