IMDb > The Rules of the Game (1939)
La règle du jeu
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The Rules of the Game (1939) More at IMDbPro »La règle du jeu (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   17,273 votes »
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Up 74% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Jean Renoir (scenario & dialogue)
Carl Koch (collaborator)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Rules of the Game on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 April 1950 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
One of the two or three greatest films ever made in France.
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
historically essential but not entirely satisfying See more (84 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Nora Gregor ... Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
Paulette Dubost ... 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)

Marcel Dalio ... Marquis Robert de la Cheyniest (as Dalio)
Julien Carette ... Marceau, le braconnier (as Carette)
Roland Toutain ... André Jurieux
Gaston Modot ... Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse

Jean Renoir ... Octave
Pierre Magnier ... Le général
Eddy Debray ... Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay ... Monsieur de St. Aubin
Richard Francoeur ... Monsieur La Bruyère (as Francoeur)
Léon Larive ... Le cuisinier
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nicolas Amato ... L'invité sud-américain (uncredited)
Henri Cartier-Bresson ... Le domestique anglais (uncredited)
Celestin ... Le garçon de cuisine (uncredited)
Tony Corteggiani ... Berthelin (uncredited)
Roger Forster ... L'invité efféminé (uncredited)
Camille François ... Le speaker (uncredited)
Jenny Hélia ... La servante (uncredited)
André Zwoboda ... L'ingénieur (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Renoir 
 
Writing credits
Jean Renoir (scenario & dialogue)

Carl Koch (collaborator) (as Koch)

Produced by
Jean Renoir .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Joseph Kosma 
 
Cinematography by
Jean-Paul Alphen  (as Alphen)
Jean Bachelet  (as Bachelet)
Jacques Lemare 
Alain Renoir 
 
Film Editing by
Marthe Huguet  (as Mme Huguet)
Marguerite Renoir  (as Marguerite)
 
Production Design by
Max Douy  (as Douy)
Eugène Lourié  (as Lourié)
 
Costume Design by
Coco Chanel  (as La Maison Chanel)
 
Makeup Department
Ralph .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Camille François .... production supervisor
Raymond Pillon .... unit manager (as Pillon)
Claude Renoir .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Henri Cartier-Bresson .... assistant director (as Henri Cartier)
André Zwoboda .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Joseph de Bretagne .... sound engineer (as De Bretagne)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Sam Levin .... still photographer
Jean Mousselle .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Roger Desormière .... conductor: Mozart and Monsigny (as Roger Desormières)
Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny .... music by (as Monsigny)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart .... music by (as Mozart)
 
Other crew
Dido Freire .... script girl (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La règle du jeu" - France (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
110 min | USA:106 min (DVD version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric)
Certification:
Australia:G | Australia:PG (VHS rating) | Finland:K-16 (original rating) | Finland:S (1953) | France:U (Visa #266) | Netherlands:9 (2009) (DVD) | South Korea:12 (2004) | UK:PG (1992) | UK:A (1946) | USA:Approved | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Despite now being considered by historians to be one of the best films ever made, the picture almost became a lost art. Claiming that it was bad for the morale of the country (due to impending war), the French government banned the film about a month after its original release. When Germany took over France the following year, it was banned by the Nazi party as well, who also burnt many of the prints. Allied planes then accidentally destroyed the original negatives. It was thought to be a lost picture. In 1956, some followers of director Jean Renoir found enough pieces of the film scattered throughout France to reconstitute it with Renoir's help. Renoir claimed only one minor scene from the original cut was missing.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: When you first see Christine and Lissette, there is a man visible in Christine's dressing-table mirror.See more »
Quotes:
Robert de la Cheyniest:Excuse me you know you're no fool, you're a poet, a dangerous poet.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Danse macabre, Op.40See more »

FAQ

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67 out of 98 people found the following review useful.
historically essential but not entirely satisfying, 8 August 2005
Author: Michael Moricz (MCMoricz@aol.com) from Astoria, NY

At the risk of seeming heretical, I have to confess that having finally seen this film (at the American Museum of the Moving Image in NY), I found it disappointing to some degree.

I can appreciate the provocative candor with which Renoir has created this satire/indictment of a society which has lost its moorings. I think I'm capable of seeing what he was trying to do, and respect the goals he seems to be aiming for. I can also appreciate much of the acting (Nora Gregor seems especially luminous), the dramatic/narrative organization, the witty structural recurrences of things like the old man's "they're a dying race" lines and indeed the overall enormity of Renoir's ambitions. I like what he set out to do, and in most ways I was "on his side" as I watched the film.

And yet -- I find that it doesn't quite all add up for me. Most surprisingly the film seems to be without a very distinct visual style style beyond its overall professionalism. By 1939, the work of Hitchcock, Murnau, Lang, Flaherty, Lubitsch, Eisenstein, Whale, and others had already rampantly shown the potentials of visual style and expressive composition even in the talkie era. Renoir himself had already achieved a masterful job of subtextual visual strategy and meaningful compositions a few years earlier in his powerful GRAND ILLUSION. But that visual confidence is no way in evidence here. Is it because of how many different cinematographers there were?

I'm sure some will point out this or that scene and all the interesting objects within it, a certain fluidity of camera-work, intelligent use of depth-of-focus, interesting overhead shots in the hallway as people headed off to bed at the château, or some of the shots in the kitchen, the hunt or even the almost surreal party .

I will grant you that there is there are some fairly impressive shots now and then, with perhaps the opening scene of the reporter on the runway the most "showy." But after one viewing I have yet to be convinced that there is any distinctive visual personality to the picture. Professionalism, yes. The occasional interesting shot, yes. But the visual creativity or a bravura sense of cinematic identity from the director? I thought not.

But the underlying ideas are what is most important in RULES OF THE GAME, and I give Renoir plenty of credit for successfully exploring them in such a complex way. There are a lot of characters, and we have a strong sense of who they all are once up at the château (contrast this with GOSFORD PARK, where there are a couple of random young men among the upper class whose identities are still a bit obscure when the film is over).

Renoir seems to be balancing on a difficult tightrope of effectively telling a complex story with characters who are not truly meant to be "real" but rather to some degree caricatures in a larger satirical whole. This is perhaps the greatest ambition of the film, and while I'm not convinced it really works, I'm impressed with the diligent thoroughness of how he has attempted to construct it. Much has been said and written about how the public turned against the film when it was released, but I wonder if the real culprit was that the film seems a bit unmoored from any specific context from which an audience could approach it. It has numerous elements of farce, but it is not a farce. It has very witty lines and eventually an overabundance of buffoonery and implausible behavior (from nearly everyone concerned by the last reel or two), and yet it is not a comedy. During the hunt it juxtaposes shots of servants and gentry with rabbits and pheasants, and you understand the irony intended, but that scene, for example, seems a bit meandering in execution. Is it a fable? Not really that either. I'll admit that a work of art need not comfortably fit into any category, yet one still feels a bit bewildered by what Renoir expects you to make of this narrative, or how he expects you to process the characters.

For while certain things work beautifully and other things seem contrived, I often felt caught in a structure where Renoir was deceiving me into trying to relate to the characters as real people (and many of the fine performances help that tremendously), only to pull out the rug and say, in essence, "haha! I have a satirical agenda here which requires that the integrity of these characters is expendable." Yes, one could say that it is the paradox of that rug-pulling which represents the genius of the film. No one is immune to the absurdity at the heart of this script. But ultimately, I suspect that I either want the characters to seem genuine, OR I want the satire or farce to be the point. In this film, neither is exactly true.

I would see this film again, because I agree with others posting here that there is enough in it to warrant additional viewings. It is undeniably an essential landmark in the history of cinema. But I would also agree with those who say it is overrated. For me it lacks the honesty AND the visual distinction of GRAND ILLUSION, and also, despite its ambitions, lacks the basic humanity at the core of something like Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT. Admittedly this film came first, but when you have a director with the visual pedigree, philosophically and genetically, of Jean Renoir, I expect a more satisfying sense of the auteur as filmmaker, not merely as writer and actor. Where this picture is concerned, Renoir succeeded best as a thinker, and secondly as its writer and as a director of actors. In terms of control of its visual sense and aesthetic as cinema, I'm not sure he did quite as effective a job as he might have.

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Frances Finest...best movie from each country? Rogers-astaire
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Dick Cheney, pseudo aristocrat. zhosa
Who broke the rules and what was the game? thatweirdguy_44
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