5.8/10
2,362
17 user 6 critic

Sweet Liberty (1986)

PG | | Comedy | 16 May 1986 (USA)
After selling the rights of his book to a film production company, a writer finds himself fighting the many egos and varying views around him.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Michael Burgess
... Elliott James
... Faith Healy
... Stanley Gould
Lise Hilboldt ... Gretchen Carlsen
... Cecelia Burgess
... Bo Hodges
... Leslie
... Grace James
... Nurse (as Diane Agostini)
Antony Alda ... Film Crew Member
Alvin Alexis ... Male Student
Christopher Bregman ... Running Boy
... Hank
Cynthia Burr ... Assistant Cameraperson
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Storyline

Michael has written a scholarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the film rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, directors want to re-stage battles, and he becomes very infatuated with Faith who will play the female lead in the movie. At the same time, he is fighting with his crazy mother who thinks the Devil lives in her kitchen, and his girlfriend who is talking about commitment. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Michael Burgess wrote a book about the American Revolution. Now, Hollywood's come to his town to make a movie of it -- Plunging him into a summer of madness.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sweet Liberty - What a Liberty  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,160,891, 18 May 1986

Gross USA:

$14,205,021
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the theater where the movie 'Sweet Liberty' premiered, was the Sayeville Theater in Sayville, New York. See more »

Quotes

Michael Burgess: [on meeting the lead actress out of period costume] I'm trying to get used to how *different* you look. You--you know, you're two different people!
Faith Healy: Oh, well, if all I could be is two different people, I'd be out of business!
See more »

Connections

References Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Hooray for Hollywood
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
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User Reviews

 
A missed opportunity.
5 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

I had hoped to like this film a bit more than I did, and I certainly expected to laugh more. Sweet Liberty is an Alan Alda project through and through. In it, he plays a history professor whose historical novel is going to be made into a movie during one crazy summer in the little college town. Everyone is excited about the upcoming shoot, but Alda's excitement turns to disgust once the cast and crew arrive. He finally gets a look at the script and finds out that the movie will be sort of a sex comedy with little regard for historical accuracy. Alda then sets out with the screenwriter to try and convince the actors and director to film his own version. While all of this is going on, we sit through several arguments about Alda's relationship status with his girlfriend. We are also treated to the eccentricities of Alda's ancient mother played by legendary actress Lillian Gish. Overall, there is just too much going on, and the film never quite sustains any comedic momentum.

The film has some genuine strengths. The cast is an eclectic bunch of old stars, new faces, and genial nobodies. Alda and Michael Caine basically play themselves and do a very good job. Michelle Pfeiffer is not only beautiful as hell, but she also gives a strong early performance as the lead actress. Bob Hoskins' character is well-written, but he plays the man in too shrill of a manner to be taken seriously. His screenwriter character has some wonderful points to make about using flattery to get the attention of the actors and director if you want them to change what they are doing. But he is just so hyper that you cringe whenever you hear his voice. Saul Rubinek is good as the hotshot, pompous young director who is only out to show the audience three things: People defying authority, destruction of property, and people taking off their clothing. That's what industry research shows that younger audiences want, he informs Alda more than once.

There are other problems besides the annoying Hoskins character. I'm sure it would seem desirable for an icon like Lillian Gish to be included in just about any film at that time. However, her character and scenes are just not needed and end up being more of a distraction than anything else. Alda and his girlfriend have about the same argument at least half a dozen times. Another scene looks like it will give a huge laugh payoff, but it falls flat. In it, a group of stunt men are in a bar with some of the local re-creators of the Battle of Cowpens who will also be used as extras in the film. The stunt men are trying to tell the amateurs how to fall in the battle scene. One of the stunt men breaks out one of those harnesses that people use to get pulled backwards through doorways in bar fight scenes. And you think you are going to see one of the amateurs get unknowingly hooked up to it and taken for the ride of his life. But alas, they apparently thought it would be funnier for the guy just to fall down on his back like an idiot. Another missed opportunity! 5 of 10 stars.

The Hound.


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