À Nous la Liberté

Overview

Rene Clair's comedy A Nous La Liberte comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The French soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include the Clair short Entr'acte, interviews, and deleted scenes. Criterion has done a fabulous job with this title, as has come to be expected from them. Anyone with an interest in film history should see this DVD. ...
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Overview

Rene Clair's comedy A Nous La Liberte comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The French soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include the Clair short Entr'acte, interviews, and deleted scenes. Criterion has done a fabulous job with this title, as has come to be expected from them. Anyone with an interest in film history should see this DVD.
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Special Features

New digital transfer; Deleted scenes; "Entr'acte" (1924), the classic Surrealist short by Clair and artist Francis Picabia; 1998 video interview with Madame Bronja Clair; Film historian David Robinson on the plagiarism lawsuit against Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times"; New and improved English subtitle translation; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
What's the point of escaping from a real prison if you only wind up trapped in, say, a factory job, or a loveless marriage, or the strictures of high society? That's the question René Clair poses in this oddly paced but totally winning comedy. Emile (Henri Marchand) is the con who makes good on his escape, leaving his pal Louis (Raymond Cordy) behind to fill out his sentence. By chance, persistence, and talent, Emile turns from a slob to a potential snob, a successful manufacturer of phonographs. Marchand, who looks like the young Jackie Gleason, thus accomplishes the transformation, in Gleason character terms, from the Poor Soul to Reginald Van Gleason III. But Emile is no ordinary captain of industry; he actually wants his workers to enjoy more freedom, and to that end, he's looking to mechanize his factory without downsizing his work force. A blackmail plot almost spoils his plans, but a well-timed wind storm saves the day. At the end, the two pals are almost back where they started but happier than ever. Clair's sound effects and musical interludes may feel dated to contemporary audiences, but they mark this film not as a quaint artifact but a forward-looking historical document. The factory scenes may be reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, but Clair's work preceded Chaplin's by several years. Among the extras on the DVD edition is an essay by Chaplin scholar David Robinson on the plagiarism lawsuit brought against Chaplin by the producers of À Nous la Liberté, a suit of which Clair wanted no part. He said he would have been honored if Chaplin had used his film as inspiration, acknowledging his colleague's unmatched virtuosity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/20/2002
  • UPC: 037429147726
  • Original Release: 1931
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:23:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 3,599

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henri Marchand Emile
Raymond Cordy Louis
Rolla France Jeanne
Paul Olivier Paul Imaque
Jacques Shelly Paul
Germaine Aussey Maud
André Michaud Foreman
Leon Lorin Deaf Old Man
William Burke Old Convict
Vincent Hyspa Old orator
Alex D'Arcy Gigolo
Technical Credits
René Clair Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Georges Auric Score Composer
René Le Henaff Editor
Lazare Meerson Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Georges Périnal Cinematographer
Albert Valentin Asst. Director
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Numbers 155 & 119 [6:08]
2. "Liberty Is All That Counts" [5:06]
3. "Stop, Thief!" [1:37]
4. The Joys of Capitalism [4:46]
5. "Work Is Freedom" [1:42]
6. Escape, One Way or Another [3:18]
7. That Enchanting, Mechanical Voice [5:26]
8. Hanky-Panky [4:41]
9. The Boss [5:30]
10. The Good Life [7:41]
11. Recognition [2:37]
12. Modern Matchmaking [9:30]
13. Dinner Guests [5:32]
14. The Chases Are On [8:26]
15. "Organization & Progress" [8:06]
16. "À Nous la Liberté" [3:11]
1. Color Bars [:20]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Deleted Scenes
      The Singing Flower
         Play Scene
      The Magic Park
         Play Scene
         About This Scene
   "Entr'acte"
      Play
   The Tobis v. Chaplin Affair
      Play
   Madame Clair Interview
      Play
   Subtitles
      English: On
      English: Off
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