Grand Illusion (1937)
February 28, 2024 10:48 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] A group of French soldiers, including the patrician Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and the working-class Lieutenant Maréchal (Jean Gabin), grapple with their own class differences after being captured and held in a World War I German prison camp. When the men are transferred to a high-security fortress, they must concoct a plan to escape beneath the watchful eye of aristocratic German officer von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim), who has formed an unexpected bond with de Boeldieu.

Also starring Dita Parlo, Marcel Dalio.

Directed by Jean Renoir. Written by Jean Renoir, Charles Spaak. Produced by Albert Pinkovitch, Frank Rollmer for Réalisation d'Art Cinématographique.

Cinematography by Christian Matras. Edited by Marthe Huguet, Marguerite Renoir, Renée Lichtig (1958 cut). Music by Joseph Kosma.

97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently, a person needs a physical copy to watch this... unless they're willing to watch on DailyMotion. Don't do that, though. Just rent/buy/borrow the Criterion edition.
posted by DirtyOldTown (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honestly, for the first 10 minutes or so I didn't think this was a war, I thought it was just a training exercise. Everyone was treating each other so CIVILLY.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

The one piece of trivia I recall about this film is that Renoir was annoyed by the English translation of the title. He thought it sounded too pompous and reverent, which was the opposite of what it was meant to convey. (He felt The Big Illusion or The Big Joke would have more accurately captured the original intent.)

Anyway, a great film.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:09 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Criterion edition is currently OOP.
posted by praemunire at 12:42 PM on February 28

I think the Lionsgate/StudioCanal disc may be the way to go right now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:48 PM on February 28

If you can vpn into the UK this is available from many on demand streamers.
posted by biffa at 3:12 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

And if you are in the UK, it is also bundled up with the studiocanal package on Amazon UK, a fiver a month but you can get a free week if you sign up and then remember to cancel in a week.
posted by biffa at 3:48 AM on March 7

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