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Mr. Freedom (1968)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 8 January 1969 (France)
Mr. Freedom is an all-American superhero that destroys everyone who even remotely disagrees with imperialism. The film accounts his latest assignment to save France from being taken over by the commies.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Abbey ...
...
Dr. Freedom (as Don Pleasence)
...
Dick Sensass
...
M. Drugstore
Yves Lefebvre ...
Jacques Occident
...
Freddie Fric
...
Herself
Colin Drake
Pierre Baillot
Raoul Billerey
...
Moujik Man
...
Catherine Rouvel ...
Marie-Rouge
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Storyline

Mr. Freedom is a pro-American Right superhero who fights for God and country by beating, robbing, raping, and killing anyone who looks like they might disagree with him. When he hears that France is in danger of falling to the Commies, Mr. Freedom heads overseas to set things right. When the welcome he receives isn't quite as warm as he expected, he gives up hope of steering the French away from the Reds and decides to salvage what he can by destroying the entire country. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

8 January 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mister Freedom  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French censorship certificate: 13. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Freedom returns to his headquarters to find all his henchmen dead, one man with stars painted over his eyes, who is supposed to be dead, can be seen blinking. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Freedom: Let me tell you about the French. They are 50 million mixed-up, sniveling crybabies who haven't stood on their two feet since Napoleon, and that wasn't yesterday. And Napoleon wasn't even French.
Mr. Freedom: He was Corsican!
Dr. Freedom: That's right, boy. So the French are the white man's burden. OUR burden. We've had to carry them through two world wars already, and we're damn well gonna have to carry them through the next.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are presented like political graffitti on the wall. See more »

Soundtracks

Freedom Rock
Music by Michel Colombier and Serge Gainsbourg
Lyrics by Serge Gainsbourg and William Klein
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User Reviews

 
Satire misfire
4 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A curio from the late 1960s, Mr. Freedom is about a costumed super patriot who is sent to France in order to ensure that the Commies don't take it over and therefore the world. (Yes, it's an analogue to the Vietnam War.) The catch is that Mr. Freedom is more than willing to maim, rape, and murder anyone who doesn't agree with his particular brand of bringing true democracy to the masses, which makes him a bit more sociopathic than heroic. But them's the breaks, I suppose.

Mr. Freedom (John Abbey) is in the employ of some faceless secret organization headed by, of course, Dr. Freedom (Donald Pleasance). The doctor sends the mister overseas to help the resistance, as if WW II were ongoing. The idea is that if the Reds capture France, then by the domino effect the rest of Europe will fall to the Iron Curtain - which here includes China. So how does Mr. Freedom hope to accomplish this? With guns, fists, and good ol' American know-how. His French contact Marie-Madeline (Delphine Seyrig) introduces him to the ragtag crew who hopes to forestall Communism - but could there be a spy among their midst? His costume looks like a combination of NFL player and Robocop. Soon all of the freedom fighters are similarly attired, which makes the whole outfit look like rejects from American Gladiators. Mr. Freedom has no time for nuance; he punches, shoots, kicks, and kills anything that seems anti-American. Seems legit. He's surrounded by stereotypes masquerading as symbols - China is represented by a giant dragon costume, of course. The movie, like its purported protagonist, ain't subtle. Mr. Freedom is sort of like the inbred half-cousin to Captain America; all machismo, no smarts, no figurative vision, and too damn angry.

This was directed by one William Klein, whose IMDb page informs me directed quite a few documentaries - and not too many features. His fiction films were typically subversive, meant to satirize known conventions, whether they were the American stance on the war in Vietnam or the fashion industry. I'm not sure how well it was received in 1969, but Klein was so fearful about getting it shown anywhere that he opened it at the Avignon Festival. He was probably wise to do so. The movie is overbearing, crass, and pretty repulsive, even as satire. Phillipe Noiret, Yves Montand, and Simone Signoret each show up in brief roles or cameos, but I'd be willing to wager none was proud of it. Even worse, Abbey gives about as one dimensional a performance as possible; he plays Mr. Freedom as if he were the ROTC guy from Animal House, only not for laughs. Even the sexual scenes are drab. This is a colossal bomb.

The overarching trouble with Mr. Freedom the movie is that the character's schtick runs thin about five minutes in and yet intensifies as the plot progresses. It's not long before he's fighting not just Commies but the French who aren't actively fighting with the freedom fighters, and later all of the French. I'm not sure if that's a commentary on how Americans overall view the French, but there you go. And, of course, since this is during the Cold War, there's a threat of using The Bomb to solve problems. You can probably guess Mr. Freedom's stance on that topic.


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