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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Change
I have only seen La Grande Illusion from this 3 box, but I was disappointed to find that it is not a full print. I have seen an earlier vhs copy that is fuller. Some key scenes have been dropped eg the introduction of Rosenthal that makes clear how much the other prisoners owe to him - as a rich man he gets exotic food parcels. Another loss is the scene that shows that...
Published on 31 May 2006 by Mr. Gavin A. Anderson

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4 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All aboard the Renoir express.
The story revolves around a train driver, station master and his philandering psycho of a wife.Many scenes revolve around the french rail network and if you are into railways then this film will surely be a delight.
However should you be looking for a slice of philsophical intrgue and exploration of dark themes you may be disapointed. It's not that these are not...
Published on 30 Dec. 2004 by geomcwilliams


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Change, 31 May 2006
By 
Mr. Gavin A. Anderson "Renoir fan" (Edionburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jean Renoir - La Bete Humaine, La Grande Illusion, Le Crime De Monsieur Lange [1938] [DVD] (DVD)
I have only seen La Grande Illusion from this 3 box, but I was disappointed to find that it is not a full print. I have seen an earlier vhs copy that is fuller. Some key scenes have been dropped eg the introduction of Rosenthal that makes clear how much the other prisoners owe to him - as a rich man he gets exotic food parcels. Another loss is the scene that shows that the Jean Gabin character goes to bed with the German widow who shelters the fugitives. My wife is currently reading a biography of von Stroheim and this suggests that the cuts were demanded by french interests when the film was re-released after the war - probably anti-semitism in the case of the cut involving Rosenthal.

I would rate the full version at 5 stars - it's a masterpiece - but the cut version leaves one without an understanding of some of the motivations of the characters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to Renoir, but..., 24 July 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jean Renoir - La Bete Humaine, La Grande Illusion, Le Crime De Monsieur Lange [1938] [DVD] (DVD)
...despite boasting decent transfers, the lack of the extras from the R1 NTSC Criterion discs or the French StudioCanal releases lets the set down badly.

La Bete Humaine is my favorite Renoir and one which tends to divide many of his critics and admirers. For me it's an exhilarating and involving piece of cinema with characters destroyed by and destroying themselves in events in much more credible circumstances than in Regle du Jeu, which gives it some real emotional and thematic weight beyond mere parlor games - not to mention having the thrill of seeing post WW1 French doomed romanticism evolving into proto-film noir before your very eyes. These characters truly do all have their reasons and find their attempts to control events and other people backfiring spectacularly as they lose control in a way that none of the mannequins in Regle do. But it's all subjective. Jean Gabin is superb, the use of locations exemplary and Simone Simon was a babe, even if she does try to bite!

La Grande Illusion is one of those films whose reputation as one of the pinnacles of cinematic achievement has always seemed unfathomable to me. If anything, its reputation does the film a great disservice. It IS a good film - a very good film, in fact - but it's not a particularly great one, and it seems to have less to say with each passing year, gradually turning into yet another prisoner of war movie moving from boarding school hijinks to superficial comments on the class system. There are a few excellent scenes in the last third, not least once Von Stroheim re-enters the film, but it feels at times as if there's more French studio system craft than substance. Certainly as an anti-war film it's surprisingly ineffective compared to Pabst or Milestone's earlier efforts.

Le Crime de Monsieur Lange is not exactly a disappointment but certainly a long way from Renoir's best. Prefiguring Ealing comedies and British social dramas like Chance of a Lifetime, it's a mixture of the best and worst of pre-war French cinema. Its socialist message seems a little too contrived at times, and there's something genuinely unpleasant and extremely distasteful about the joy and cheap jokes about the death of an illegitimate child that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, which is a shame because there's a real sense of energy and everyday triumph to the second half of the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Masterpieces!, 29 April 2008
By 
M. Cole (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jean Renoir - La Bete Humaine, La Grande Illusion, Le Crime De Monsieur Lange [1938] [DVD] (DVD)
This is excellent value for money, three of Renoir's best films in one package.
Despite the lack of DVD Extras, this is still worth having. The print quality is exceptional,
especially in the case of Grande Illusion where the longer vhs version was a much poorer copy.
The inclusion of Crime De M. Lange makes this box set a must, as I don't believe it's available
elsewhere and it is definitely the best of the three- almost as good as Boudou or
La Regle Du Jeu.
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4 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All aboard the Renoir express., 30 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Jean Renoir - La Bete Humaine, La Grande Illusion, Le Crime De Monsieur Lange [1938] [DVD] (DVD)
The story revolves around a train driver, station master and his philandering psycho of a wife.Many scenes revolve around the french rail network and if you are into railways then this film will surely be a delight.
However should you be looking for a slice of philsophical intrgue and exploration of dark themes you may be disapointed. It's not that these are not present in the movie. They are. It's just that the central threads of the movie lacked coherence and there is a lack of empathy generated for the key characters.
Worth watching as a curiosity piece.
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