• Orson Welles once said, “If I had only one film in the world to save, it would be Grand Illusion.” Thankfully he wouldn’t have had to worry, as the film world continues to treasure Jean Renoir’s mega-classic. This week in New York, years after its famed late-nineties restoration, the movie returns, with more restoration done digitally by STUDIOCANAL and the Cinémathèque de Toulouse for its seventy-fifth anniversary. This new 35 mm print from Rialto Pictures promises to be the most vivid version yet seen, and features a major audio restoration as well, plus new subtitles. Film Forum will show the rejuvenated masterpiece May 11–May 24.

    Preservation efforts aside, to revisit Renoir’s overwhelming work of compassion in wartime is to fall back in love with screenwriters Renoir and Charles Spaak’s eloquently drawn characters: Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay’s socially opposed POW French officers; their antagonist, the Teutonic officer Captain von Rauffenstein, played by Erich von Stroheim; Marcel Dalio’s generous Jewish fellow captive; Dita Parlo’s good-hearted German farm widow. Here’s Rialto’s new trailer for the film to reacquaint you with Renoir’s beautiful souls.

6 comments

  • By thevoid99
    May 10, 2012
    03:32 PM

    Will this mean a new Criterion upgrade coming soon?
    Reply
  • By Batzomon
    May 10, 2012
    05:27 PM

    Yes, let's get this treasure in Blu-ray! We might not have Citizen Kane any longer (I didn't partake in the laserdiscs), but Welles would be proud to see such a great work getting its due.
    Reply
  • By Brian
    May 11, 2012
    12:49 PM

    Unfortunately, Lionsgate has already announced a Blu-ray release for La grande illusion for July 31, 2012.
    Reply
  • By Michael
    May 12, 2012
    12:37 AM

    Sadly the CC could not come to a rights fee agreement with Studio Canal back in early 2010. Over twenty films were dropped from the catalog including this one and I have seen nothing in the intervening time about that leads me to think that the situation is going to change. Lets hope that Lionsgate doesn't mess things up the way they have in the past.
    Reply
  • By Danny
    November 12, 2012
    12:08 AM

    Blu-Ray pleaseee.
    Reply
  • By Ruth B. McKay, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    May 27, 2013
    11:34 PM

    I saw the restored version of The Grand Illusion today, Memorial Day 2013, at the AFI Film theatre. The film, despite being 75 years old, is a beautiful, eloquent, haunting essay on the human folly of war. The Director Renoir is as much an artist as his father.
    Reply

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