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A Nous La Liberte (The Criterion Collection) (1931)

Raymond Cordy , Henri Marchand , René Clair  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Rolla France, Paul Ollivier, Jacques Shelly
  • Directors: René Clair
  • Writers: René Clair, Francis Picabia
  • Producers: Alexandre Kamenka, Frank Clifford, Roger Le Bon, Rolf de Maré
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 20, 2002
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067IY4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,986 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Nous La Liberte (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer
  • Deleted scenes
  • Entr'acte (1924), the short Surrealist masterpiece by Clair and artist Francis Picabia
  • Video interview with Madame Bronja Clair
  • Film historian David Robinson on the Tobis lawsuit against Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

Editorial Reviews

One of the all-time great comedy classics, René Clair's À Nous la Liberté is a skillful satire of the industrial revolution and the blind quest for wealth. Deftly integrating his signature musical-comedy technique with pointed social criticism, Clair tells the story of an escaped convict who becomes a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately his past returns to upset his carefully laid plans. Featuring lighthearted wit, tremendous visual innovation, and masterful manipulation of sound, À Nous la Liberté is both a potent indictment of mechanized modern society and an uproarious comic delight.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... September 18, 2002
By A Customer
... The film is fully intact as Clair intended, and the deleted scenes are available for us to see. The circumstances of these cuts by Clair are fully explained on the DVD's deleted scene menu pages (Clair cut the scenes between the original release and the 1950 reissue), so it is totally inaccurate to say that the film has been "mutilated" since it was the director who made the cuts. The reviewer from Lincoln needs to pay a little more attention to history and stop writing such misleading gibberish.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unquestionable Classic September 3, 2002
Perhaps the most elegantly rendered feature film of the very early days of sound production (barring, perhaps, Chaplin's CITY LIGHTS), Clair's classic is such a seemingly effortless blend of romantic melancholy, bitter social criticism and gentle surrealism, that its many aesthetic qualities tend to overshadow the film's astounding technological innovations in the poetics of sound.
The fact that Criterion has thrown Clair's short film ENTR'ACTE onto the disc is reason enough to buy the dvd. The transfers of both the feature and the short are of superlative quality. It's an invaluable release.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This early talkie is an unexpected joy to watch and an artful piece of transitional cinema. It's difficult to believe that Charlie Chaplin claimed he never saw René Clair's fanciful 1931 musical comedy since it predates many of the same leitmotifs that came up in Modern Times five years later, including pointed jabs at corporate greed interlaced with Keystone Cops-style slapstick. In fact, Clair seems completely inspired by Chaplin in the way he carefully orchestrates the chase scenes and the robotic assembly line in this film, so much so that Chaplin borrowed back the visual cues in Modern Times.

Clair sets up his story as an elaborate parable centered on two convicts, best friends Émile and Louis, who make toy horses in the prison assembly line. In a long-planned attempt to escape, Émile escapes thanks to a generous leg-up from Louis, who is caught and returned back to their cell. Years pass, and Émile becomes a successful industrialist in charge of a phonograph manufacturing business. Meanwhile, Louis serves out his term and upon release, ironically finds himself working in the assembly line of Émile's factory. After some hesitation, Louis and Émile reunite and join forces with a rapid-fire series of chaotic complications leading the two friends to realize that a life away from work may be their true fate.

The film master does not belabor his sociopolitical statements about materialism, but it is intriguing in hindsight to appreciate the film's prescience in showing France disconnected from the encroaching Nazi menace.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For true filmlovers May 28, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I ordered this DVD of Rene Clair's famous film actually because it comes with the less well-known short film Entr'acte, after an incredibly awful experience with a horrible print issued by Anthology of Surreal Cinema. Entr'acte, with the Erik Satie score, is amazing. (And includes cameos of Parisian heroes of the era - Satie, Picabia, Man Ray, Duchamp) The print quality of both films is excellent.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great musical comedy October 12, 2004
This review is for the Critetion DVD editon of the film

À nous la liberté , also known as "Liberty for Us" is another very nice film by Rene clair. The film is a satire of life working in a factory.

It is about an assembly line worker who falls in love with a secratary who works at the factory. Theare is some slapstick humor in the film and has several scenes where the characters sing. The film is considered a musical as well because of this.

The DVD has some great special features.

There is an sudio presentation of the plagarism lawsuit against Charlie Chaplin over his film "Modern Times". There is also a 1998 video interview with Bronja Clair and two deleted scenes.

Finally, Rene Clair's 1924 surrealist film Entr'acte is also on the DVD. It is a short film about a funeral where pepole chase a runaway wagon carrying the casket. Some scenes are played in a very cool slow motion which is better seen than read about.

I highly recommend this film!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nous La Liberte July 9, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A brilliant, elegant and sparkling French comedy. It resembles Chaplin's Modern Times, but is in many ways even funnier in depicting the similarity between factory and prison.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More enjoyable then expected! December 23, 2006
Had me laughing out loud a few times. Usually not one for musicals i actually purchased this movie because i wanted the short, the extra "Entr'acte." The acting is fantastic, all though copied later by chaplin in "Modern Times" i enjoyed this movie much more then Chaplin's "Modern Times," the chemistry between Raymond Cordy and Henri Marchand is wonderful!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars many serios social critics have addressed this
not to be enclosed, enslaved before a computer today is on our minds..freedom must consist of the work consideration of the source of wealth: the worker. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marilyn K. Hunt
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best
I know this is by the great director Rene Clair, considered one of the best in the world. However this film is not my cup of tea, so I don't recommend it.
Published on July 7, 2012 by Tony Marquise Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars May have been a prequel to "The Matrix"....
Confessions abound, this wasn't a favorite film of mine upon the initial viewing. As I sat down to watch it again, there was hesitancy behind my eyes, Rene Clair's work is... Read more
Published on April 29, 2008 by A. Gyurisin
3.0 out of 5 stars An Early Talkie Comedy
It's obvious Clair is a Charles Chaplain fan. Movies had come out of their infancy with Chaplain as the comedy pioneer. Read more
Published on April 11, 2006 by R. A Rubin
1.0 out of 5 stars Mutilation of a Classic
Just a response to another reviewer; yes, this is Clair's 1950 recut of the film. But the recut is ill-advised, and is generally considered by most historians as a prime example of... Read more
Published on October 24, 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware- Mutilation of a Classic
This is an abridged version of Clair's 1931 masterpiece, with two key sequences cut, and added to the DVD as "extras" in beat up 16mm prints, when original nitrate material is... Read more
Published on September 16, 2002
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