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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

The fact the movie was a complete failure when it came out in 1939 is partly a myth: it was a relative failure. Renoir himself thought it was a complete flop, but he was impressed by a few hostile reactions (which included fights and allegedly a man trying to set fire to a theatre). Attendance was low, but it was summer, there were political tensions with Germany and probably the public was put off by the turmoil around the movie. Critics were balanced: a study showed about a third were positive, a third negative and a third reserved. The movie was banned when WWII started and then again during German occupation, but so were other movies, e.g. the famous "Le Quai des brumes" (1938) and "Le Jour se lève" (1939), both by Carné. See more »

Goofs

After the last characters arrive at the castle when it is raining, Christine and Robert de la Cheyniest say "We will organise a party in a week, after the hunt." However the same evening, Robert says "Let's go to bed, because tomorrow...", implying the hunt will be the following day. And indeed the next sequence is the hunting scene the day after. This because the script was still being modified during the shooting of the movie, hence timelines sometimes varied. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Seul le cinéma (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

C'est la guinguette
(uncredited)
Written by Gaston Claret and Camille François
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Everyone has their reasons.
19 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jean Renoir said that this was not intended to be a social commentary, and whether he truly intended it to be (he referred to it as, "An exact description of the bourgeoisie of our time.") or not, it is hard to dismiss that it hit close to home. So offended were the masses that the picture was banned. It is said that behind every joke there is truth, and whether this was intended to be a joke or not, Renoir still found truth. One could argue the director's intentions all day, but one matter that cannot be disputed is that this film is extraordinary! As a handful of French men and women converge on a château for a hunting expedition, their love affairs clash with their obligations to society's game. For instance, one cannot leave one's lover to be with another until he has confessed his adultery to her. Attempts to leave with another man's wife are particularly difficult, as well, unless the other man has a mistress of his own. These are but a few rules of the game. The old are for the old, the young are for the young. Members of one social order are forbidden to see members from another, and so on. Combine these rules with a tangled web of countless love affairs between a handful of people, and you can see the madness that erupts during the course of this movie. The parts are all played well, but it is the writing and directing of Renoir that makes the film the masterpiece that it is. Keeping all of these sordid affairs in order is an achievement in its own right, but Renoir moves his pieces all over the board like a skilled chess player, achieving his goal while never forgetting the rules of the game!


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