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The Rules of the Game [VHS] (1950)

Marcel Dalio , Nora Gregor , Jean Renoir  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély, Odette Talazac
  • Directors: Jean Renoir
  • Writers: Jean Renoir, Carl Koch
  • Producers: Jean Renoir
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302969301
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,194 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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

Infused with Jean Renoir's love for the outrageous, this remarkable film satirizes the erotic charades of the French leisure class as it teeters helplessly on the brink of World War II. Forsaking the humanism of his earlier films, Renoir mordantly satirizes the social and sexual mores of a decadent society near collapse. Forced off the screen by angry Parisians and later banned by the Nazis, Rules of the Game stands as one of Renoir's greatest artistic achievements.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
193 of 201 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
*** 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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66 of 72 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 My Favorite Film
My favorite film. Indescribably so. Essential movie magic. Pure joy. Contrary to popular belief, you don't get to choose your favorite film after a period of considerable debate,... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mad Zack
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 21 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 2 months 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 4 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 7 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 8 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
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