This film recieves an oblique favourable reference in an amusing 3 minute short called "World Cinema" by Joel and Ethan Coen. I just watched it on You Tube.
I thought this movie was outstanding. It's a farce, about upper-class people who cannot see how ridiculous are the social rules that they feel bound by. I liked it because the movie doesn't take sides by portraying the people in a sympathetic or unfriendly light, or try to comment itself, but instead takes a fly-on-the-wall approach, and in so doing lets the characters hang by their own rope and leaves the audience to make up their own minds.
With all that said, it's definitely not for everyone. It's subtitled (from French) and in B&W, and some people find these a bit indimidating (which is a shame - they'll miss many great movies). It also takes a bit of thought, so if you like movies with obvious storylines and watch them just to unwind, it may not be for you. If you want something more than that, this is well worth a look.
(Also it's from 1939, not 1961 as this website claims).
The quality of the DVD transcription leaves much to be desired. You'd really have to be an aficionado to watch (plough your way through) it. This film would be for those who think 'Citizen Kane' is (one of) the best film(s).
Give this one a spell, like a great old wine, it needs time to develop to let its characters become familiar and their machinations and interactions progress. A send-up like “the second best move of all time” is absurd since the ‘time’ (of movies) hasn’t stopped. That said, Jean Renoir’s satirical comedy of manners of pre-WWII French aristocracy and their servants is stunning. Its superficial theme of a weekend hunting and house party on a large estate is a launching pad for a profusion of societal ideas and layered characterizations. Interwoven are trysts, betrayals, adultery, ritualized hunting scenes, an amateur play, chases, a botched duel, mistaken identity and unwritten rules broken leading to tragedy. Brilliantly photographed, acted and spoken, indeed a Classic!
A bit too much of a farce for me to enjoy as a proper movie.
A rather dated upstairs, downstairs comedy drama which is not as amusing now as it must have been originally, but still fascinating as a send-up of the blatant hypocrisy common in French aristocratic society of the 1930s and of the underclass of servants that served it. Watching the more contemporary Gosford Park, Robert Altman's more serious portrait of similar classes in 1930s' England, might be more entertaining.
In introducing The Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir talks about the controversy that it caused at its first screening in Paris in 1939. Apparently one viewer was so upset that he wanted to set fire to the cinema and had already lit a newspaper to do so. This level of reaction is hard to imagine now, but nonetheless, the movie pulls no punches in its satirical examination of the mores of the bourgeoisie. It examines the interplay between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of the upper class country house, much as Robert Altman would do in one of my all-time favourite movies, Gossford Park, many years later. The Rules of the Game is a work of genius and often ranks just behind Citizen Kane as one of the greatest films. It is filled with great scenes, such as where the clownish Octave (played by Renoir himself) runs around looking for someone to help him take off a bear suit, and where Robert proudly displays his latest acquisition - a clanging, animated, clockwork organ. This was my second viewing and it’s a film that will clearly become more enjoyable every time you see it.
A great classic French film.