- Rated: Unrated
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 51 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: November 16, 1999
- Originally Released: 1937
- Label: Criterion
Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
Packaging: Keep Case
Audio Essay - Peter Cowie
Rare Filmed Introduction by Renoir
Archival Radio Presentation: Renoir and Erich von Stroheim accept GRAND ILLUSION'S Best Foreign Film Award at the 1938 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Re-release Press Book Excerpts: Renoir's Letter "To the Projectionist," Cast Bios, Essay on Renoir by Von Stroheim, Essays About the Film's Title and Recently Recovered Camera Negative
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Entertainment Weekly - 08/20/1999
"...[A] masterpiece..." -- Rating: A
Los Angeles Times - 12/16/1999
"...One of the greatest films ever made....The performances -- from Gabin, Pierre Frensay, Erich von Stroheim and Marcel Dalio -- are as fresh as they were in 1937..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/03/1999
"...It's a meditation on the collapse of the old order of European civilization....There is a quiet voluptuousness; the camera doesn't point or intrude, but glides..."
USA Today - 02/15/2005
"In '38: a New York Film Critics best-direction citation to Jean Renoir and a best-picture Oscar nomination."
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2007
"[An] anti-war classic....As in so much of Renoir's work, it's the humanism that resonates most strongly."
Total Film - 05/01/2012
5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] compassionate, ambiguous work....Beautifully acted, photographed and designed, it ranks proudly alongside THE RULES OF THE GAME as Renoir at his stunning best."
Jean Renoir's brilliant farewell to Europe's ancient regime, GRAND ILLUSION, set during WWI, stars Jean Gabin as Marechal and Marcel Dalio as Rosenthal, French prisoners of war who constantly escape from prison only to be recaptured. Along with the gracious aristocrat de Boldieu (Pierre Fresnay), they're moved to the fortresslike Wintersborn prison, from which no one has escaped. The commandant of the prison is the ace German pilot von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim), now grounded by injury. Despite humane treatment, the Frenchmen plan to escape once again.
Essential Cinema |
Prison / Prisoners |
World War I
- Theatrical release: June 1937.
- The film was shot in Colmar, Neuf-Brisach, and Haut Koenigsberg.
- Orson Welles once said, "If I had to save only one film in the world, it would be GRAND ILLUSION."
- LA GRANDE ILLUSION won an award at the Venice Film Festival as well as the New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film in 1938. (This was the first time such an award was given by the critics.) Its pacifist views, however, were none too popular with the emerging fascist governments of Germany and Italy, who banned the film.