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Director: Jean Renoir     Starring: Jean Gabin Erich Von Stroheim
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Learn more about La Grand Illusion (Blu-ray):

Format: Blu-Ray DVD
Sku: 231354575
UPC: 012236114093
UPC 14: 00012236114093
Sales Rank: 3310
See more in Horror
Editor's Note
Calling on his own experiences as an aviator in WWI as well as those of his comrades, Jean Renoir's antiwar masterpiece bids farewell to the class constrictions of European society and calls for the unity of humankind across class and national boundaries. Set in the German prison camps of WWI, the film stars Jean Gabin as Marechal, and Marcel Dalio as Rosenthal. Like the charming aristocrat de Boldieu (Pierre Fresnay), these two French aviators were shot down and now spend most of their time escaping from German prison camps before inevitably being recaptured. Between escapes, they do what they can to amuse themselves, which includes running a talent show, but after a tunnel they've dug is discovered, the three are sent to Wintersborn, a forbidding fortress of a prison, which is commanded by former ace pilot von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim). The humane commandant practices noblesse oblige toward de Boldieu, hoping for an alliance across national lines. But he comes to learn that this phrase has a different meaning for the Frenchman. One of the great films of all time, GRAND ILLUSION perhaps most purely embodies director Jean Renoir's characterstic humanism, manifested less here in camera technique than an instinctive ability to educe truthful performances from his cast.


Video Features English, Subtitled, French, German

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Lions Gate
Video Release Date Release Date: 7/31/2012
Video Play Time Running Time: 113 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1937
Video UPC UPC: 00012236114093
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks:
Video Color Spec Video: B&W

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Jean Gabin
Video Cast Info Pierre Fresnay
Video Cast Info Erich Von Stroheim
Video Cast Info Marcel Dalio
Video Cast Info Carette
Video Cast Info Dita Parlo
Video Cast Info Charles Spaak - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Frank Rollmer - Producer
Video Cast Info Albert Pinkovitch - Producer
Video Cast Info Jean Renoir - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Jean Renoir - Director
Plot Summary
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.

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"...[A] masterpiece..." -- Rating: A 08/20/1999 p.100

Los Angeles Times
"...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..." 12/16/1999 p.C47

Chicago Sun-Times
"...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..." 10/03/1999 p.5

USA Today
"In '38: a New York Film Critics best-direction citation to Jean Renoir and a best-picture Oscar nomination." 02/15/2005 p.6D

Sight and Sound
"[An] anti-war classic....As in so much of Renoir's work, it's the humanism that resonates most strongly." 01/01/2007 p.89

Total Film
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." 05/01/2012

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   Blu-Ray
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