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The Rules of the Game (1939)

La règle du jeu (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 8 April 1950 (USA)
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director:

Writers:

(scenario & dialogue), (collaborator) (as Koch)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
...
Lisette, sa camériste
Mila Parély ...
Geneviève de Marras
Odette Talazac ...
Madame Charlotte de la Plante
Claire Gérard ...
Madame de la Bruyère
Anne Mayen ...
Jackie, nièce de Christine
Lise Elina ...
Radio-Reporter (as Lise Élina)
...
...
Marceau, le braconnier (as Carette)
Roland Toutain ...
André Jurieux
Gaston Modot ...
Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
...
Octave
Pierre Magnier ...
Le général
Eddy Debray ...
Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay ...
Monsieur de St. Aubin
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Storyline

Aviator André Jurieux has just completed a record-setting flight, but when he is greeted by an admiring crowd, all he can say to them is how miserable he is that the woman he loves did not come to meet him. He is in love with Christine, the wife of aristocrat Robert de la Cheyniest. Robert himself is involved in an affair with Geneviève de Marras, but he is trying to break it off. Meanwhile, André seeks help from his old friend Octave, who gets André an invitation to the country home where Robert and Christine are hosting a large hunting party. As the guests arrive for the party, their cordial greetings hide their real feelings, along with their secrets - and even some of the servants are involved in tangled relationships. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the two or three greatest films ever made in France.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rules of the Game  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 5,500,500 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included in the Toronto International Film Festival's Essential 100, movies every cinephile should see. See more »

Goofs

(around 24 min) When Schumacher and the under-gamekeepers find the cat in the rabbit trap, they complain about it. They release it and the cat runs away to their right. Schumacher immediately turns about 75 degrees to his left and shoots into the far distance (his gun is level). From the characters' dialogue, he obviously "killed it" (!). See more »

Quotes

Marceau, le braconnier: A laughing woman is disarmed, you can do what you like.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in La Dolce Vita (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Valse No. 7 op. 64, 2 'Petit chien'
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Every Film Student Knows This One
5 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Rules of the Game" is one of those movies that would be easy to be disappointed by, because it's constantly lauded as one of the greatest movies ever made, and anyone who's spent any time studying film knows that at some point you have to see this movie if you're going to consider yourself a film connoisseur. Well, it is excellent, though it's not excellent in a lot of obvious ways, and I could forgive someone for watching it and having a lukewarm reaction on a first viewing.

The film is sort of reminiscent of Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night" (though of course Renoir's movie came first) in its use of a country estate filled with a bunch of well-to-do's and the servants waiting on them. It also put me in the mind of Evelyn Waugh's novels, as Renoir uses a thin glaze of humour to mask some bitter truths about class and social standing. There are some downright slapstick moments that feel like something out of a silent comedy, but there are also some sober moments that give the film a very serious grounding.

What impressed me most was the fluidity of Renoir's direction. The camera is a constant observer, gliding through the vast house, following one character only to switch direction and follow another as he or she walks past. The viewer feels like a voyeur, and Renoir gives the impression that these characters would be behaving somewhat differently if they knew you were watching. I can't explain exactly how he does that, but the feeling comes across distinctly.

Probably needs to be watched a few times for a full appreciation. In fact, I need to watch it again myself.

Grade: A


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