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La Grande Illusion (1937)

Drama | 114 minutes
3,57 287 votes

Genre: Drama / War

Duration: 114 minuten

Alternative titles: The Grand Illusion / De Grote Illusie

Country: France

Directed by: Jean Renoir

Stars: Jean Gabin, Erich von Stroheim and Pierre Fresnay

IMDb score: 8,1 (38.981)

Releasedate: 4 June 1937

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La Grande Illusion plot

"A Great Drama of Human Emotions"

First World War. A couple of French and British are imprisoned in a German camp. They try to make their lives as pleasant as possible by smuggling in good food and making a plan to get themselves out of the camp.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Le lieutenant Maréchal

Le capitaine de Boëldieu

Le capitaine von Rauffenstein

Le lieutenant Rosenthal

Cartier, l'acteur

L'ingénieur

Le serrurier

Le sergent Arthur

L'instituteur

Reviews & comments


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avatar van Sir Djuke

Sir Djuke

  • 349 messages
  • 960 votes

Wartime and class struggle illuminated from a French, German and English point of view in beautiful images by Jean Renoir. An international star cast (Jean Gabin, Erich von Stroheim) in a film that did not appeal to Goebbels (Joseph, not Phillipe).

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van mjk87

mjk87 (moderator films)

  • 13402 messages
  • 3972 votes

Very strong film by Renoir. On the surface first of all just a very entertaining movie in that camp with all the prisoners. Whether that camp life was really like that (I can imagine officers had it relatively good) I don't know, but it was believable enough to go along with it. Then it also plays a role that the film is primarily a comedy and not a realistic drama. And the last half hour itself becomes emotional.

But what makes this film rise above the ordinary comedy is what Renoir says about war, already well articulated by The One Ring, to which I have little to add. But the period in which this film is released also gives this film just that little bit more, just before the Second World War. And Renoir shows this especially at the end with people who don't need war and just help each other, Germans and French. And even more cynical, stop fighting when they've crossed a man-made border. What are we still fighting for?

That said all. Certainly the first hour and a half are also a bit too light on the surface to really get under the skin. And film remains an audiovisual medium for me, and this film was a bit boring to say the least. Visually nothing special to see and the music is nice, but also not very uplifting. Therefore only 4.0*

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Dievegge

Dievegge

  • 3023 messages
  • 7770 votes

The title can be interpreted in two ways. He can hit on the big escape trick, such as when an illusionist distracts attention with his right hand while secretly swapping cards with his left. It could also be the misconception that La Grande Guerre would be the last war. In 1937 they already knew better.

Jean Renoir was a pacifist. He was also for a classless society. In the camp you see a bond develop between the German and the French captain because they are both noblemen. Yet the German shoots at the Frenchman, against his will but out of a sense of duty. Anti-Semitism is also criticized, which is not self-evident in 1937. The best thing is when a relationship develops between Lieutenant Maréchal and the widow Elsa. She has reason to hate the French, for they killed her husband. However, these two individuals break through the national barrier.

As the son of a painter, the director was interested in visual compositions and the landscape of Alsace. Some things are said to be censored in Hollywood, most notably the cross-dressing show and the hints that Rosenthal is gay. The different acting styles are striking: the physical of Jean Gabin versus the theatrical of Pierre Fresnay. Marcel Dalio was a son of two Romanian Jews. Erich von Stroheim himself came up with the idea of wearing a corset. It is a captivating drama with profound ideas but also moving, exciting and funny moments.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original