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The Grand Illusion (1937) - movie overview

The Grand Illusion (1937)

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Plot Description

Original title: Grande illusion, La

DVD Release Date
• R1: Nov 23, 1999

Running Time
1 hour, 54 minutes

Country France

Production Companies
Réalisation d'art cinématographique (RAC) (as Réalisations d'Art Cinématographique)

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Other Titles
• The Grand Illusion
• La Grande illusion (1937)

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Genre: Drama, Prison, World War I, Love, Escape, True Story

Plot: 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.

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 Directed by
Jean Renoir
Boudu sauvé des eaux, French Cancan, Chienne, La
 Written by
Charles Spaak
Bas-fonds, Les, Caporal épinglé, Le, Kermesse héroïque, La
Jean Renoir
Carola, The Rules of the Game, Bête humaine, La
Erich von Stroheim
Sunset Blvd., Détective, Five Graves to Cairo
Jean Gabin
Bête humaine, La, Pépé le Moko, French Cancan
Dita Parlo
Atalante, L', Kismet, Heilige Flamme, Die
Pierre Fresnay
The Man Who Knew Too Much, Corbeau, Le, Fanny
Julien Carette
The Rules of the Game, Bête humaine, La, Auberge rouge, L'
Sylvain Itkine
Chienne, La, Crime de Monsieur Lange, Le, Vie est à nous, La
 Music By
Joseph Kosma
Children of Paradise, Bête humaine, La, Crime de Monsieur Lange, Le

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