Le Grand Jeu is a highly atmospheric 1934 film that really leaves a mark. It conveys the heat of Morocco in wonderfully fluid cinematography, and brings an intimate feel to material that was usually treated with more distance; in a sense it seems more intimate than, say, Casablanca, more improvised in its stitching together of the scenes. The camera often glides into the frame in a very striking way, and visually the film is superb, with all sorts of unexpected shots and interludes, including one of the most playful scenes with a dog under a grand piano that I have seen on film! The story fascinates with its parallel with the much later Vertigo; here the symmetries are woven around the double character like beautiful, sad arabesques. The lead actress, Marie Bell, gives a brilliant performance - it's hard to believe it's the same actress playing both parts - but it is the director's wife, Francoise Rosay, who perhaps makes the deepest impression as the card-reader who sees and feels everything from the captivity of her own life. She has a wonderful lucidity and soulfulness in her face ... These readings are what gives the film its title and are quite brilliantly filmed and acted, ultimately almost goose bump-inducing in the way they draw together fate and emotion. Another key aspect of the film is Hans Eisler's fantastic score, all ambiguous wind marches whose German worker association is set fascinatingly in the North African context of the Foreign Legion with the threat of Nazism looming at the end. The atmosphere of the whole film seems to capture the sense of foreboding of that decade, with characters caught both by society and the intractability of their own emotions.