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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 (97 customer reviews)

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The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + La Grande Illusion (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parely, Marcel Dalio, Gaston Modot
  • Directors: Jean Renoir
  • Format: 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 (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HK13OK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,841 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
188 of 196 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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63 of 69 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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renoir's Masterpiece January 20, 2005
Format:DVD
No history of cinema would be complete without "The Rules of the Game" (1939). Director Jean Renoir's brilliant, perceptive study of a dying French aristocracy remains among the finest examples of visual poetry captured on film - as evidenced in the savage "rabbit hunt" and the haunting final shot. Along with "Grand Illusion" (1937), "The Rules of the Game" represents the high-water mark of Renoir's career. It's as close to perfection as a film can get.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know why... March 7, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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. All I knew was that, for years, it has consistently placed second on the Sight & Sound polls of the greatest films of all time (Citizen Kane always comes in first). Now, knowing that a film is considered one of the greatest of all time sometimes means that you are in for a snore. There are some so-called "classics" that just bore me to tears (The Conformist or L'Aventura spring to mind).
Yes, this is one of the greatest movies ever made. Yes, it is a satire on aristocratic society at the time. Yes, it was badly received and banned by the Nazis. Blah, blah, blah - who cares? The amazing thing is what a joy this movie is to watch. It is genuinely funny. I often hear it cited as the main influence on Robert Altman, and now I can understand why. Instead of criticizing Paul Thomas Anderson for copying Altman, we should appreciate Altman imitating Renoir. Here we see the big cast without any real central character, the anarchic humor, and the brisk energy that moves everything along.
Like everything in the Criterion Collection, this print LOOKS VERY GOOD. This is all the more important since the original negative had been destroyed in World War II and for years only second-rate prints were available. There is a second disc that documents all the travails that this film went through, and how it was edited to several different versions. The version we have now was restored in the fifties outside (but with the blessing of) Renoir. This print is 98 minutes long. The original was 91 minutes, and we are still missing an unimportant scene from that original version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 2 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 months ago by Anyong
5.0 out of 5 stars A French classic and cinema history!
The black-and-white photography/cinematography is superb, what with Henri Cartier-Bresson in both cast (the English butler) and crew (assistant director of photography)... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tony Spadarella
4.0 out of 5 stars Good For Its Time
I don't think this film deserves its reputation as some kind of cinema milestone. It is a good film by 1937 standards, but not a great one. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Scott McFarland
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant Today & Looks Great In Blu!
For a film that endured so many indignities such as massive cuts shortly after its release and then complete destruction during the Second World War Criterion did as good a job as... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Frederick Baptist
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 9 months ago by marriedutopianstriver
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