I Want To Break Free - Video

Video

The music video "I Want to Break Free" was directed by David Mallet. It was shot on 22 March and 4 May 1984 in the studio "Limehouse Studios" and cost about £100,000. It was included in the collections Greatest Video Hits 1, and Greatest Video Hits 2. Footage from the video was later used for the song "The Show Must Go On".

The first part of the video was a spoof of the northern English soap opera Coronation Street, as proposed by Roger Taylor.

"We had done some really serious, epic videos in the past, and we just thought we'd have some fun. We wanted people to know that we didn't take ourselves too seriously, that we could still laugh at ourselves. I think we proved that."

The video depicts Mercury as a housewife, loosely based on Bet Lynch, who wants to "break free" from his life. Although Lynch was a blonde in the soap opera, Mercury thought he would look too silly as a blonde and chose a dark wig. May plays another, more relaxed housewife based on Hilda Ogden. Deacon appears as a conservative 'grandma', while Taylor plays a schoolgirl, who like Mercury wants a different life.

At the beginning, during the synthesizer prelude, the clip shows a common British brick house (as featured in Coronation Street) and then moves into May's bedroom. May is woken up by a Teasmade. He gets up, dressed in a pink shirt, pink socks and pink bunny-shaped slippers, with hair rollers in his head. The camera moves to the living room and the kitchen where Mercury is vacuuming the floor. He wears a black wig, pink earrings, pink blouse with a sizeable false breast under it, black leather miniskirt, knee-high and heeled shoes. During the trials Mercury realised that he couldn't walk freely in high-heeled shoes and settled on 2-inch ones. His own thick moustache remains in place (although he appears without it in the latter part of the video). May descends the staircase and goes to the kitchen. He passes Deacon, who is sitting on a couch, dressed in a black cloak, gloves, grey wig and a hat. Deacon reads a newspaper, constantly snorting and shaking his head. Taylor is busy with dishwashing in the kitchen, dressed as a stereotypical schoolgirl – blonde wig, white blouse, grey miniskirt, coloured tie and a straw hat behind his back. Mercury stops vacuuming and starts singing. Although he does not sing on the studio version of the song, Taylor can be seen lip-syncing some of the harmony vocals, which he did however perform in live performances.

During the first verse, Mercury opens the door of a storage room that briefly reveals a dark place, which is further used in the second verse; it appears to be a coal mine. There, the group features in their normal-life look (with Mercury naked above the waist that was common for his live and studio performances). It is surrounded by a crowd wearing black robes and miner's helmets with headlamps. The crowd moves in sync with the music. The camera is constantly closing up on the musicians who are arranged in the same pattern as in the video for the song "Bohemian Rhapsody". Mercury sings, while Deacon, May and Taylor just stand around him with their heads down. During the third verse, Mercury moves to another set and hides behind a big white box. In the beginning of the synthesiser solo, the box "explodes" and falls apart revealing a large stone. Mercury sits at the top of the stone, playing on a copper pipe, though the sound is of electric guitar. He is surrounded by two men and two women, all wearing the same spotty tights. In the second part of the solo, more people wearing the same outfit join in and together they perform a choreographic composition. In its first part, Mercury is carried through a row of people who pass his body over their heads. He then climbs the stone and dives in between two rows of people who catch him on the fly. After that, Mercury moves over a group of people who lie parallel on the ground and roll him over their bodies by turning around, as on a lineshaft roller conveyor. This part is finalized by a static scene of Mercury with a female dancer in a dry ice smoke.

The composition was choreographed by Wayne Eagling – a friend of Mercury who had helped him before with the choreography of the "Bohemian Rhapsody". Eagling was then a leader of the Royal Ballet which was involved in the video (one of the dancers was Jeremy Sheffield). Specially for this part, Mercury shaved his trademark moustache to portray Nijinsky as a faun in the ballet L'après-midi d'un faune. The shooting took much practice, especially the conveyor rolling episode. According to Eagling, despite being a natural performer on stage, Mercury could not stand performing any choreographed act himself, which is why he was mostly picked up and moved around in the ballet part of the video. The rehearsals with the Royal Ballet were organised by Eagling secretly from his superiors, something that placed him in serious trouble when discovered later.

The fourth verse, with the words "but life still goes", returns to the Coronation Street set of the first part, with some minor changes. May, Taylor and Deacon sit in the living room; May and Deacon are reading and Taylor is doing "her" school homework beside a table. Mercury walks around them and goes up the stairs, while singing. In the final, the action moves back into the coal mine set of the second part, but this time the miners surrounding the Queen musicians move erratically.

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