Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was ...
Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was banned as morally perilous during the German occupation and the original negative was destroyed during WWII. It wasn't until 1956 that Renoir was able to restore the film to its original length. In retrospect, this reaction seems both puzzling and understandable; at its heart, Rules of the Game is a very moral film about frequently amoral people. A comedy of manners whose wit only occasionally betrays its more serious intentions, it contrasts the romantic entanglements of rich and poor during a weekend at a country estate. André Jurieu (Roland Toutain), a French aviation hero, has fallen in love with Christine de la Chesnaye (Nora Gregor), who is married to wealthy aristocrat Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio). Robert, however, has a mistress of his own, whom he invites to a weekend hunting party at his country home, along with André and his friend Octave (played by Jean Renoir himself). Meanwhile, the hired help have their own game of musical beds going on: a poacher is hired to work as a servant at the estate and immediately makes plans to seduce the gamekeeper's wife, while the gamekeeper recognizes him only as the man who's been trying to steal his rabbits. Among the upper classes, infidelity is not merely accepted but expected; codes are breached not by being unfaithful, but by lacking the courtesy to lie about it in public. The weekend ends in a tragedy that suggests that this way of life may soon be coming to an end. Renoir's witty, acidic screenplay makes none of the characters heroes or villains, and his graceful handling of his cast is well served by his visual style. He tells his story with long, uninterrupted takes using deep focus (cinematographer Jean Bachelet proves a worthy collaborator here), following the action with a subtle rhythm that never calls attention to itself. The sharply-cut hunting sequence makes clear that Renoir avoided more complex editing schemes by choice, believing that long takes created a more lifelike rhythm and reduced the manipulations of over-editing. Rules of the Game uses WWI as an allegory for WWII, and its representation of a vanishing way of life soon became all too true for Renoir himself, who, within a year of the film's release, was forced to leave Europe for the United States.. Mark Deming, Rovi
Nora Gregor, Jean Renoir, Marcel Dalio. Run time: 101 mins. Originally released: 1939. NO scratch. Import. Same artwork. Worldwide playable. Taiwan released. Original French. Hidden subtitles: English/ Chinese/ Off (switched easily). Original DVD jewel case. Legal with bar code. Watched once. First-Class Mail + free tracking in U.S. Airmail for international. Email notification after shipping.
Gérard, Claire, Gregor, Nora, François, Camille, Francoeur, Richard, Elina, Lise, Dubost, Paulette, Debray, Eddy, Dalio,... Good. 1939 Run time: 110. Connecting viewers with great movies since 1972. All used discs are inspected and guaranteed. Used discs may not include digital content. Customer service is our top priority!
TWO (2) DVD's in hard case w/art work, booklet, Fine copy! FREE USPS TRACKING NUMBER! Criterion, 2004. Jean Renoir's 1939 classic is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and Criterion is very proud to present the film in a special two-disc edition. Cloaked in a comedy of manners, this scathing critique of corrupt French society is about a weekend hunting party at which amorous escapades abound among the aristocratic guests-which are also mirrored by the activities of the servants downstairs. The refusal of one of the guests to play by society's rules sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy. I've seen Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" in a campus film society, at a repertory theater and on laserdisc, and I've even taught it in a film class--but now I realize I've never really seen it at all. This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it. But for many years you couldn't even watch it properly. Without going into detail about how it was butchered after its first release and then finally restored into a version that was actually longer than the original running time, let it be admitted that it always looked dim and murky--even on the Criterion laserdisc. Prints shown on TV or 16 mm were even worse. Now comes a new Criterion DVD of the film so clear it sparkles, it dances, and the famous deep-focus photography allows us to see clearly what all those characters are doing lurking about in the background. Like Criterion's restoration of "The Children of Paradise, " it is a masterpiece reborn. The movie takes the superficial form of a country house farce, at which wives and husbands, lovers and adulterers, masters and servants, sneak down hallways, pop up in each other's bedrooms and pretend that they are all proper representatives of a well-ordered society. Robert Altman, who once said "I learned the rules of the game from 'The Rules of the Game, '" was not a million miles off from this plot with his "Gosford Park"--right down to the murder. But there is a subterranean level in Renoir's film that was risky and relevant when it was made and released in 1939. It was clear that Europe was going to war. In France, left-wing Popular Front members like Renoir were clashing with Nazi sympathizers. Renoir's portrait of the French ruling class shows them as silly adulterous twits, with the working classes emulating them within their more limited means. His film opens with a great national hero, the aviator Andre Jurieu, completing a heroic trans-Atlantic solo flight (only 10 years after Lindbergh) and then whining on the radio because the woman he loves did not come to the airport to meet him. Worse, the characters in the movie who do try to play by the rules are a Jewish aristocrat, a cuckolded gamekeeper, and the embarrassing aviator. This did not go over well with French audiences on the eve of war. The film is preceded by a little introduction by jolly, plump Renoir, looking like an elderly version of the cherub so often painted by his father Auguste. He recalls that a man set fire to his newspaper at the movie's premiere, trying to burn the theater down. Audiences streamed out, the reviews were savage, and the film was a disaster, even before it was banned by the occupying Nazis. The French like to be funny, but they do not much like to be made fun of. "We were dancing on a volcano, " Renoir says. After a prologue at the airport and an elegant establishing scene in Paris, most of the action takes place at La Coliniere, the country estate of Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio) and his wife Christine (Nora Gregor). Among the guests are Robert's mistress Genevieve (Mila Parely), and the aviator (Roland Toutain), who is in love with Christine. During the course of the week, Robert and his gamekeeper...
Marcel Dalio, Jean Renoir, Odette Talazac, Mila Parely, Paulette Dubost, Nora Gregor. New. 1939 Run time: 106. Buy with confidence-Satisfaction Guaranteed! Delivery Confirmation included for all orders in the US.