MR. FREEDOM (1969)
Article 4012 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by William Klein
Featuring Delphine Seyrig, John Abbey, Donald Pleasence
What it is: Superhero satire
An American superhero is sent to France to save the country from communism, and he uses drastic means to achieve his goal.
Though it uses a superhero motif, this movie is less a parody of the superhero genre than it is a counter-cultural satire on the United States and its policies during the era of the Vietnam War. Mr. Freedom himself is a parody of the extremist right-wing mindset. Some of the satire is still relevant; after all, extremism isn’t restricted to any particular era of history. My problem with the movie is that once you see where it’s coming from, it’s all a little too obvious, and I’m afraid that the humor that is supposed to redeem it falls pretty flat for me. And though Klein is a creative director (I’m intrigued, for example, by the way he handles Mr. Freedom’s encounter with a window-washer), without the laughs the movie becomes loud, busy, distracting and overbearing. It’s also one of those movies that is so focused on its political viewpoint that it never conjures up a single real, living, breathing character amid the caricatures. I’m afraid I found this one a disappointment.