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The Rules of the Game (1939)

La règle du jeu (original title)
Not Rated | | 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:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Jean Renoir (scenario & dialogue), Carl Koch (collaborator) (as Koch)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

On the brink of WWII, the record-breaking aviator, André Jurieux, safely lands at a small airport crammed with reporters, only to come face to face with his worst fear: the object of his desire, Christine--a blonde noblewoman and wife of the affluent Marquis de la Cheyniest, Robert--is not there to greet him. Intent on winning her back, André accepts his friend Octave's invitation for a lavish hunting weekend at the aristocrat's palatial country estate at La Coliniere, among hand-picked guests and the mansion's servants; however, intrigue, rivalries, and human weaknesses threaten to expose both royalty and paupers alike. Who will breach the unwritten rules of the game? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German | English

Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rules of the Game See more »

Filming Locations:

Aubigny-sur-Nère, Cher, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 5,500,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fact the movie was almost lost during the war is a myth: actually, the EXTENDED version was almost lost. The original movie shown in 1939 was 113 minutes, or maybe more. It was a relative failure, so Renoir cut it down to approx. 100 minutes and then again to 90 minutes (and even 85 minutes for theatres showing two movies). It was these 23 minutes that were thought to be lost during a WWII bombing. The situation remained unchanged until as late as 1958, when most of the original rushes were discovered and the long version reconstituted to 110 minutes, which is still the version showed nowadays. The parts that have been definitively lost correspond to two scenes for which sound exists, but not images. 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

André Jurieux: If you want to make her happy, let her come with me. Because I love her. Seeing her with that idiot La Chesnaye! Him and his hunts, château and mechanical birds! Two-timing snob!
Octave: He may be a snob, but he's got his feet on the ground. Your head's in the clouds.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Film historians Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand salvaged excised and unused footage and created a new longer version, presented at the 1959 Venice Film Festival. Where the original theatrical version was 91 minutes long, the new 1959 version was 106 minutes long, over fifteen minutes longer than the original cut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Movie Review: Cannibal Holocaust (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Cors de chasse (Huntng Horns)
(uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Every Film Student Knows This One
5 January 2006 | by evanston_dadSee 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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