Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blind Spot: The Rules of the Game (1939)

Octave, André, and Christine.

Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Renoir and Carl Koch
Starring Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Roland Toutain, Mila Parely, Gaston Modot, Julien Carette, Paulette Dubost, and Jean Renoir

Plot Summary: A group of people from both ends of the social spectrum gather at a French chateau for a hunting party, spawning a series of problems, including a murder.

Significance: This satire of French society is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, and it has been featured in the Sight & Sound Poll (#4 in 2012 critics' poll and as high as #2 in the '72, '82, and '92 polls). Upon its original release, the French government took issue with film's depiction of the upper class, and the film was banned in France for two decades.

Thoughts: It's a delightful farce, which seems like a precursor to Ingmar Bergman's equally amusing Smiles of a Summer Night (1955). The film is smart, witty, and even features a scene-stealing performance by none other than Renoir himself. Despite a slow start, I was hooked by the last act of the narrative. There's a great deal of chaos and hysterical antics that play out among these houseguests and their host, and, as a fan of screwball comedies and satire, this was a very enjoyable comedy with a twist of dark humor. I highly recommend it, especially for movie buffs.

Rating: ****

This is the second film in my 2013 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.

14 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of this -- it sounds quite good. I'll add it to my list. Thanks, Josh!

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    1. You're welcome! Hope you like it. :)

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  2. It was a nice film, but definitely overrated.

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    1. I definitely felt that way at the beginning of the film, but it won me over by the end.

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  3. I've given it a couple chances now, but this is one of those canonized classics that I just don't click with.

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    1. It happens. Fortunately, I loved it.

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  4. LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! So glad you saw it!

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    1. Haha, knew you'd be pleased. It's my new #1 for 1939. I'll have to update my Decades posts accordingly. :)

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    2. OMG!!! It's even better than I imagined! YOUR NEW NUMBER ONE!!! Now you need to see 'Beau Geste' and bump this to #2 so that we can have the same favorites of the year :D

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    3. I should've seen Beau Geste by now, but Netflix screwed up and didn't send it to me. I'll see it soon, though. :)

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  5. Sounds like a great movie, Josh. I should give this a shot as I'm planning to catch up on more classics this year :)

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    1. If you're digging into the classics, you can't go wrong with this one. :)

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  6. I love screwball comedies and since you mentioned that this is a dark one too. I'll check it out

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    1. Great! Hope you like it. Thanks for the follow by the way!

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