DVD: Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Eunuchs (15)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

This George Harrison-produced oddity from 1974 benefits hugely from a mesmerising turn from John Hurt as the delusional, furious and ultimately pathetic Malcolm Scrawdyke (think of a more acidic Citizen Smith), an expelled art student hellbent on humiliating his nemesis, teacher Mr Allard.

He is backed up by his worrying followers – devoted Wick (John McEnery), gormless Irwin (Raymond Platt) and damaged Nipple (the always excellent David Warner) – who form the Party of Dynamic Erection. On the bleak, icy streets of Seventies Oldham the four fantasists rehearse, comically, the kidnapping of Allard (a man we never get to see).

Their scheme comes across more Dumber and Dumber than Baader-Meinhof, and, clearly, this feeble call to arms is never going to pan out well, particularly with new recruit Nipple in their ranks, an oddball agitating to usurp Malcolm. He's a duffel-coated revolutionary who suggests his own form of salute (a Nazi one, essentially), gets very worked up about the subject of corduroy, and delivers deranged speeches about "mesmeric visions" at the gasworks. A very British fruitcake.

Little Malcolm's plot could do with more work, but its cast and script have bite and there's some adroit cinematography from John Alcott (A Clockwork Orange). Unsettling.