7.7/10
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À Nous la Liberté (1931)

À nous la liberté (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 31 December 1931 (USA)
Seeking better life, two convicts escape from prison.

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(story and screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Henri Marchand ...
Émile
...
Louis
Rolla France ...
Jeanne
Paul Ollivier ...
L'oncle (as Paul Olivier)
Jacques Shelly ...
Paul
André Michaud ...
Le contremaitre
...
Maud - la femme de Louis
Léon Lorin ...
Le vieux monsieur sourd
William Burke ...
L'ancien détenu
Vincent Hyspa ...
Le vieil orateur
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Storyline

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 footsperry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Le chef-d'oeuvre de René Clair

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

À Nous la Liberté  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Charles Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) 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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
[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
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood: End of an Era (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Timeless French classic
22 November 2006 | by (Much-Snogging-On-The-Green, East Yorkshire) – See all my reviews

This is a little gem of a film that doesn't date nearly as much as you would think, considering it come from the early thirties. The masterful hand of director Rene Clair overcomes an insubstantial plot and imbues the film with some fantastic visuals, humorous satire and some good clean knockabout fun. Two prisoners escape from custody and one reaches the top of the ladder while the other clings onto the bottom rung. Clair makes his feeling about capitalism clear by showing how the worker under the capitalist is as much a prisoner as the people locked in the jail. But any political overtones are not so much that they interrupt with the comic narrative and the film merrily continues with it's chases, bottom-kicking and all manner of good-natured silliness. Highly recommended.


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