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The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1939)

Nora Gregor , Paulette Dubost , Jean Renoir  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + La Grande Illusion (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray]
Price for both: $44.73

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parely, Marcel Dalio, Gaston Modot
  • Directors: Jean Renoir
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HK13OK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,170 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

Introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir

Audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich

Comparison of the film’s two endings

Olivier Curchod Presents “The Rules of the Game,” a 2005 documentary comparing today’s 106-minute edit with Renoir’s original script

Scene analysis by Renoir historian Chris Faulkner

Excerpts from Jean Renoir, le patron: La règle et l’exception (1966), a French television program by filmmaker Jacques Rivette

Part one of Jean Renoir, a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by film critic David Thompson

Video essay about the film’s production, release, and 1959 reconstruction

1965 interview from the French television series Les écrans de la ville in which Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and rerelease of the film

Interviews with set designer Max Douy; Renoir’s son, Alain; and actress Mila Parély

PLUS: A booklet featuring writings by Jean Renoir, François Truffaut, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Bertrand Tavernier; an essay by Sesonske; and tributes to the film and Renoir by J. Hoberman, Kent Jones, Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders, Robert Altman, and others


Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
192 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Criterion 2011 Blu-ray, 2011 DVD, 2004 DVD January 24, 2004
Format:DVD
*** NOV-22-2011: ADDED REVIEW OF 2011 BLU-RAY & DVD ***

Criterion now has released 3 editions of this French classic: 2004 DVD edition (blue cover with photos) that has been put out of print, 2011 DVD edition (bright cover with vintage drawing) that has identical content save for a revised supplement, and a corresponding 2011 Blu-ray edition that is a high-def version of the 2011 DVD.

The 2011 Blu-ray and DVD appear to have used the same source that yielded the 2004 DVD. As those who have seen the 2004 DVD know, the original source is not in the best of shape, even though it is the best material Criterion was able to get. Google "nytimes hunting rules of the game" to see the report on Criterion's effort in tracking down the best material of the film. So does this Blu-ray look as good as the "Casablanca" blu-ray, the "Gone of the Wind" blu-ray, the "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" blu-ray? No, it doesn't. But as usual, Criterion maintains the integrity of the picture by retaining a lot of film grains on the transfer. Other studios may use digital noise reduction (DNR) to remove those film grains to not annoy modern viewers. But Criterion consistently retains film grains on its Blu-rays, thereby retaining a lot of picture details which may have been lost otherwise had DNR been used. Those who have seen a classic film in theaters would know that film grains are inherent to the pictures from those periods. These Criterion Blu-rays therefore give you as close to a theatrical experience as you can get.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DVD of the Year. January 28, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
On its surface, "The Rules of the Game" is a light farce involving the couplings - and decouplings - of an assortment of weekend guests staying at the chateau of the Comte de la Cheyniest (Marcel Dalio). Without knowing any other context, the film can be enjoyed on this level: Renoir's writing (he co-scripted) is witty and his direction is elegant and sublime. His fluid long-shots make you feel like you're gliding along in this rarified - though topsy-turvy - world; and his open approach to the actors is suffused with generosity. He never allows us to focus on one particular person, or couple, because, in this social world, "everyone has their reasons" and everyone's actions bounce and intertwine with everyone else's.
As a homage and updating of a classic French farce, "Rules" is flawless; it is, however, as a commentary on the decline of a social order that makes this more than a cinematic souffle. Shot in 1939, "between Munich and the War" as Renoir says, the film is portrait of the European aristocracy where ethical codes (conjugal fidelity above all) are not only violated, but are even dismissed as irrelevant. Human relationships collapse and reform with sudden ease (witness the gameskeeper and the poacher) and those who cling to outmoded notions of love and faithfulness set themselves up for disaster (such as the aviator). This is the domestic complement to Renoir's war drama, "La Grande Illusion", where the mournful French and German artistocratic officers, having more in common amongst themselves than with the common soldiers of their respective nationalities, lament that mechanized warfare has rendered their class irrelevant.
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The exquisite decline and fall of Old World Europe... October 20, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Jean Renoir's THE RULES OF THE GAME takes place on the eve of World War II at an aristocratic house party in an opulent chateau just outside of Paris where the overlapping `affaires d'amour' of all social classes are observed with a keen and compassionate eye. Renoir looks to the eighteenth-century world of Commedia dell'Arte and Mozartian opera, and seamlessly integrates farce with tragedy, using a classical form to offer his audience a profound and multifaceted parable on the disturbing realities that underlie the veneer of contemporary French society.
It is the middle-class aviator, André Jurieu (Roland Toutain), who embodies the film's central conflict between the private passions and a sense of obligation to a larger social body. Right at the outset of the film, he violates the unwritten "rules" of social propriety by declaring to a radio reporter his disappointment that the woman he had been courting, Christine de la Chesnaye (Nora Grégor), is not present at his reception after completing a record-breaking flight across the Atlantic. His skill with the advanced technology of aircraft is not matched by an ability to deal with people, particularly in matters of love. Indeed, André's careless and unmediated show of desire for a highborn lady not only transgresses the received law of proper social conduct but of traditional class distinctions as well.
Other characters also entertain desires that come into conflict with the social order.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful black comedy.
A Marcel Dalio tour-de-force. Very dark. Very-very funny. So far my favourite French film.
Published 2 days ago by The Bear
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
We'd seen the movie several times before but never such a clear copy.
Published 1 month ago by Justine Valenti
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film
Full disclosure: I have not seen the film. This was a gift for my son who is a film studies graduate. He said it was an excellent film.
Published 3 months ago by Charles from Redondo Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars top 20 all-time movie classic
Finally, this gem of a movie is issued in bluray. And to see it in vivid black and white is sheer heaven.
Published 4 months ago by Daniel Nascimento
5.0 out of 5 stars Rules of the Game and Great Gatsby
Rules of the Game is a film classic directed by Jean Renoir. Their is great similarity between this film and the original Great Gatsby film.
Published 6 months ago by Jeffrey Lilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting foreign film
My husband and I watched the film with interest. Even though we had to read some of the dialogue, it was a good film.
Published 7 months ago by redlin51
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles on Criterion 2-disc edition released November 15, 2011
This is only in regard to the abovementioned edition: it has new digital white subtitles with thin black lines around the letters, so it's always readable! Read more
Published 7 months ago by HT
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Considered by some one of the greatest films ever made. Great director, great actors (I admire Julien Carette, that I remember from other films, more than the others), fine plot. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Santos
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Film
After hearing how great this film was, I thought I would see for myself if it could hold up to the standard. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bartok Kinski
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This film was rescued from near obscurity, an thankfully so. Renoir was a fantastic director, who doesn't have quite the same level of acclaim as other auteurs. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anyong
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