A famous left-wing satirical comedy about two ex-convicts, one of whom escaped jail and then worked his way up from salesman to factory owner, where he oversees a highly mechanized ... See full summary »
A famous left-wing satirical comedy about two ex-convicts, one of whom escaped jail and then worked his way up from salesman to factory owner, where he oversees a highly mechanized operation where the workers are reduced to mere automatons. Fearful of being exposed over his past, at first by his friend and later by another gangster, the owner chooses to give his factory to the workers, then escapes with his friend to the freedom of the open road. The production company for "A Nous la Liberte" was for more than a decade embroiled in a lawsuit claiming that Charles Chaplin had seen their film and plagiarized many ideas from it as he developed "Modern Times." Written by
When Charles Chaplin's Modern Times premiered, the original distribution company of À nous la liberté, Tobis, wanted to sue. Director René Clair refused to join such a suit, saying that he considered it a compliment if Charles Chaplin based his film on René Clair's, but the suit went ahead nevertheless. Tobis, sued United Artists and Charles Chaplin for plagiarism. The suit, with separate segments in France and in the US, went on for more than a decade, right through WWII. Charles Chaplin, at the request of his lawyers, finally settled, but never admitted to the charge. René Clair stayed aloof from the affair, and he and Charles Chaplin, whom he greatly admired, remained friends. See more »
[Voice over Singer]:
Liberty is the happy man's due / He enjoys love and skies of blue / But then there are some / Who no worse crimes have done / It's the sad story we tell / From a prison cell
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One of the great masterpieces of the early French Sound Cinema.
I was lucky enough to see "A Nous La Liberte" along with it's sister film (in my mind, anyway) "Le Million" at an early age at the Museum of Modern Art. I have never gotten over them. They are both miracles of studio production with even many of the exteriors built in studio. Both films were designed by the great Lazare Meerson and evoke the magical Paris of the 20's. Both films make wonderful, inventive use of music and song, though neither one is exactly a Musical in the modern sense. "A Nous La Liberte" is also interesting for having been Chaplin's inspiration for much of "Modern Times."
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