Retro: The Unquiet American


William Klein
France 1969

“William Klein’s over-the-top fantasy-satire (1968) is conceivably the most anti-American movie ever made, but only an American (albeit an expatriate living in France) could have made it. Despite Klein’s well-deserved international reputation as a still photographer, his films are almost unknown in the U.S., so this spirited and hilarious second feature offers an ideal introduction to his volatile talent. Filmed in slam-bang comic-book style, it describes the exploits of a heroic, myopic, and knuckleheaded free-world agent (Playtime’s John Abbey) who arrives in Paris to do battle against the Russian and Chinese communists, embodied by Moujik Man (a colossal Cossack padded out with foam rubber) and the inflatable Red China Man (a dragon that fills an entire metro station). Donald Pleasence is the hero’s sinister, LBJ-like boss, and Delphine Seyrig at her giddiest plays the sexy, duplicitous double agent who shows him the ropes. Done in a Punch and Judy manner that occasionally suggests Godard or Kubrick, and combining guerrilla-style documentary with expressionism, this feisty political cartoon remains a singular expression of 1960s irreverence.”

  • Donald Pleasence - Dr. Michaels
  • Serge Gainsbourg
  • Philippe Noiret
  • John Abbey
  • Delphine Seyrig
Guy Belfond, Christian Thivat, Michel Zemer
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