New Release: The Rules of the Game Blu-ray

Release Date: Nov. 15, 2011
Price: Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

The Rules of the Game movie scene

The lights burn brightly for the rich and the poor in The Rules of the Game.

A staple on all the “Greatest Films Ever Made” lists, Jean Renoir’s 1939 The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu) is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners.

Starring Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Marcel Dalio and Renoir himself, the comedy-drama movie is set during a weekend at a marquis’ countryside chateau filled with an assorted cast of characters — the rich and their poor servants — and lays bare some ugly truths about members of the haute bourgeois.

The Rules of the Game is a victim of tumultuous history. The movie was subjected to cuts after premiere audiences rejected it in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II. It wasn’t reconstructed until 1959 and it’s that version, which has stunned viewers for decades, that is presented on Criterion’s Blu-ray.

In French with English subtitles, the film is presented with a high-definition digital restoration and an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

Special features on the Blu-ray all are available on Criterion’s previously issued DVD edition of the film. Here’s the list:

  • introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir
  • audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
  • comparison of the film’s two endings
  • Olivier Curchod Presents “The Rules of the Game,” a 2005 documentary comparing today’s 106-minute edit with Renoir’s original script
  • scene analysis by Renoir historian Chris Faulkner
  • excerpts from Jean Renoir, le patron: La règle et l’exception (1966), a French television program by filmmaker Jacques Rivette
  • part one of Jean Renoir, a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by film critic David Thompson
  • video essay about the film’s production, release and 1959 reconstruction
    1965 interview from the French television series Les écrans de la ville in which Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and rerelease of the film
  • interviews with set designer Max Douy; Renoir’s son, Alain; and actress Mila Parély
  • booklet featuring writings by Jean Renoir, François Truffaut, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Bertrand Tavernier; an essay by Sesonske; and tributes to the film and Renoir by J. Hoberman, Kent Jones, Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders, Robert Altman, and others


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.