When a film deals with a harrowing subject matter like Lindsay Anderson's If.... does (fagging in British all-boys' public schools), it quite easily gets monotonous. Recently I saw Another Country which is quite like If...., although in Another Country Rupert Everett ends up a Cold War Russian spy, when in If.... Malcolm McDowell deals with his frustrations with some good old ultra-violence.
Another Country lacked many of the things that made If.... so great; it might have been the fact that it was a play brought to screen (I'm beginning to think that's just never a good idea), but it felt so uninspired. Films with younger actors always excite me because anything seems possible, but where If.... still feels fresh and original after 42 years, Another Country was dull and traditional.
There's many moments that stick out when I think of If....: the ending of course, the scene where Mick Travis shoots a gun at pictures on his walls (perfectly aiming for Audrey Hepburn, which infuriated her husband Mel Ferrer when the film came out), the infamous "dance" with The Girl.. but my absolute favourite is the scene where Bobby Phillips falls in love with Wallace.
It's such a simple scene and the contrast between this scene and the rest of the film couldn't be bigger. Just the amount of shouting and noise early on, and the quiet and concentration two minutes in.. amazing.