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The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-Ray] (Version française)

Nora Gregor , Paulette Dubost , Jean Renoir    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
Price: CDN$ 34.39 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

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Consistently cited by critics worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's bittersweet drama of life, love, class, and the social code of manners and behavior ("the rules of the game") is a savage critique undertaken with sensitivity and compassion. Renoir's catch-phrase through the film, "Everyone has their reasons," develops a multilayered meaning by the conclusion. A young aviator (Roland Toutain) commits a serious social faux pas by alluding to an affair on national radio. To avert a scandal, the cultured Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio), husband to the aviator's mistress, Christine (Nora Gregor), and a philanderer in his own right, invites all to a weekend hunting party in his country mansion. The complicated maze of marriages and mistresses (social register and servant class alike) is plotted like a bedroom farce, but the tone soon takes a darker cast. Renoir, who also takes the pivotal role as Andre's jovial pal and de la Chesnaye confidant Octave, deftly blends high comedy with cutting satire as he parallels the upstairs-downstairs affairs. The film builds to a comic pitch with the hilarious performance of Julien Carette as a rabbit poacher turned groundskeeper, but soon turns tragic in a devastating conclusion. The film was roundly condemned and banned in France upon its 1939 release, but years later (out of the shadow of WWII) the film was rediscovered for the masterpiece that it is. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion), is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners, in which a weekend at a marquis’s countryside chateau lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haute bourgeois acquaintances. The film was a victim of tumultuous history—it was subjected to cuts after premiere audiences rejected it in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Criterion 2-disc DVD edition Jan. 24 2004
Format:DVD
On the surface, THE RULES OF THE GAME is a frivolous satire of the French ruling class during the interwar years. But beneath it, this 1939 film is a rather sweeping appraisal on human nature and how the rigidity of our society continues to undermine our humanity. With a microcosmic cast of characters that comprises of masters and servants, the film weaves an intricate plot about their love, jealousies, deceit, infidelities, hypocrisies, misunderstandings, and, at times, reconciliations, and realignments of friends and foes. Through their travails, the film depicts a symbolic breakdown, and ultimately restoration, of the prevailing social order, resulting in the film being both a comedy and a tragedy. Director Jean Renoir also acts in the film, playing the pivotal role of an outsider (obviously a stand-in for the audience). His character's futile attempts to break into the "circle" and to bring about the well-beings of his friends suggest that it is often difficult to survive under the social order, let alone change it.
The Criterion DVD is an all-region two-disc set with a newly restored video transfer and plenty of rewarding extra material. This eagerly-awaited disc was originally to be released last Fall, when Criterion had already finished a video transfer that would have looked better than any existing copy of the film. But at the last minute, Criterion received word that an earlier-generation fine-grain master of the film had been located in France, and that additional improvement, though not dramatic, could be made to the picture quality. Being the perfectionist that it often is, Criterion decided to redo the video transfer based on the fine-grain master, thus delaying the DVD's release by several months.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Heaven April 10 2004
Format:DVD
I've been watching this movie intermittently for 30 years since I was first introduced to it in a film class at college. Seeing it in Criterion's spectacular transfer is falling in love again with this landmark of 20th century art. What was once squinting at a blurry reproduction is now a riveting experience in time travel, taking me back to what it must have been like to see it first run in 1939. The only thing that's missing are riots in theater, but I can do without that in my living room.
As for the film itself, what's really striking is that what is one level a formalistic imitation of classical French drama interbreeds with some kind of prophetic documentary of sick souls and a sick society. Remember that in 1939, war was in the cards but nobody new if it would be a passing crisis or gateway to a new dark ages. Renoir didn't just stare into the abyss, he climbed down for a better look.
It's a cliche to say that they don't make 'em like that any more. But here I'm torn between regret that such a thing is no longer possible and relief that it's no longer necessary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Great DVD April 10 2004
By rk
Format:DVD
Don't listen to the people who badmouth this film. The context of the time and place have to be taken into account. But even so, it is not an irrelevant or dated film. The camerawork and choreography of the action are still impressive.
The transfer is good and the supplements are extensive. Criterions are expensive because of their limited audience and the amount of work they put into them. Rules of the Game won't be selling Bad Boys II numbers. For the film buff this DVD is worth the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Among Classics Jan. 20 2004
Format:DVD
Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game is a classic among classics in cinema. One would be hard pressed to find a reputable critic who doesn't put this film in their top-ten films of all time. This isn't just a critics' film either. It is filled with satiric wit and brilliant ideas, not to mention it's look and pace. That said, when Criterion puts out a film like this with the extras they unearth, the price is reasonable. When this company releases a film you know you are going to get a pristine transfer, (of a 65 year-old film) and extras that actually get into the film. Not an HBO making of featurette that has the actors telling you what you already know. These are featurettes that they have licenced from European broadcasters or small independent companies.
A good example is Criterion's release of Tarkovsky's Solaris versus Soderberg's Solaris which was released by Universal. Criterion's extras are head and shoulders above the Universal release. As much as I loved Soderberg's version of the novel, the extras were painfully out of place.
When Criterion releases a film (especially in a double disc edition as is Rules of the Game) it isn't merely just your average dvd release, it is almost an event. And worth every penny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I again can not think of a title April 29 2004
By Vincent
Format:DVD
Corruption of the French aristocracy and their "Rules of the game" that they abide by in order to remain where they are, it revolves around a central plot of this pilot who flies to France for the woman he loved but she is marries and the husband is trying to end the affair and they are all with a bunch of members of the aristocracy, it is truly a great film. Criterion collection is growing to my liking quite a lot, the picture and sound are great for a movie made in 1939. Good movie, watch it you fiend.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars High Society Relationship Games
“The Rules of The Game” is both a dramatic and enticing film about men and women from high French society who become involved in shocking exploits of their time. Read more
Published 14 months ago by marriedutopianstriver
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest movie ever. Hardly.
Let's see. We have an aldulterer, a cheat, a liar, a slut & a guy with anger management issues. They all exist in this ultra chic, super rich sub-culture. Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by JOHN GODFREY
5.0 out of 5 stars The Game Rules
"The Rules of the Game" directed by Jean Renoir is now ranked #1 on many film critic lists. Renior built a comedy of manners around old stories. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by R. A Rubin
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rules of the Game - Criterion Collection
When affluent Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio) hosts a party at his sprawling property, emotions run high. Read more
Published on May 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly Mixed Reviews=?
Harold Bloom seems to think Richard III is kind of a so-so play and one Amazon reviewer considers Benvenuto Cellini, by Hector Berlioz, to be a lousy opera. Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by Wayne A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenge Accepted
...Everyone praises this movie, but no one can ever tell you why they liked it, unless it's to repeat Truffaut's opinion that Renoir's work is to be praised for having sympathy for... Read more
Published on March 25 2004 by McTeague
2.0 out of 5 stars As Substantive as Air: Utterly Lacking in Significance
Here it is, in all its Criterion Collection Glory: La Regle du Jou, considered by critics worldwide as one of the greatest movies ever! Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by ixta_coyotl
1.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely boring
One of the greatest films ever made? Just try to stay awake. Hilarious? Try to find a single laugh? Deep, moving? Are you kidding? Film critics need to get an honest job. Read more
Published on March 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know why...
I had no idea what to expect before watching this film. I purposefully kept myself ignorant of it because I wanted to experience it as fresh as possible. Read more
Published on March 7 2004 by JR Pinto
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic.
Beautiful packaging, very clear and stable transfer, nice bonuses/extras. It'll impress your friends... Don't forget Grand Illusion, also on Criterion!
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by offeck
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