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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Grand Illusion" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/renoir.htm
France 1937

“It is magnificent, a French officer said in 1856, watching the Light Brigade throw itself into the Russian guns, but it isn't war. What it is, he might have added, is a grand illusion.”

<SPOILERS>  During 1st WW, two French Air Force officers are held prisoners. Captain De Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) is an aristocrat, Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin), a mechanic in civilian life. In their first capture by a German officer, Captain von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim), treats Captain De Boeldieu quite respectfully. The French prisoners go through various vignettes and relate superficially to their German captors, attempt escape, sacrifice, develop and bond with each other. De Boeldieu has learned from his German counterpart and comes to realize as he sacrifices himself for two men who, attempt and, eventually succeed at escape.   <END SPOILERS>

 

The title reflects Renoir’s feeling of the “Illusion” of War. He displays his importance of values towards relationships in life and not towards the war’s victors. The bond of soldiers regardless of geographical border nationality, the bond of a man and a woman, and that of an adult and a child are all covered with beautiful subtlety. There are conversations in the film that are so “in place” in the respective scenes, it is only after the fact that they reflect heavily upon the viewer. Renoir touches on issues of class structure. ``Grand Illusion" influenced two sequences from films after it. In ``The Great Escape'' the digging of the tunnel with the usage of air being accessible to the digger and the disposing of the dirt in the courtyard and the singing of  ``Marseilles'' enraging the Germans in ``Casablanca''. This is repeated in La Grande Illusion.

 

It is hard to describe this film and its impact as it deals with issues on such a personal level. Stroheim and all other actors in this are excellent. For its anti-war message it was decades ahead of its time and a MUST for all film buffs.

Gary Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 8th, 1937

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Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

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 Comparison:

Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Pavel Borodin for the Screen Caps!

 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

North American (Lionsgate version) - see comments

Distribution

Criterion Collection (US) Spine #1

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Warner Bros (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Studio Canal
Region 'B' -Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 1:53:12 1:49:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:42:40 (4% PAL speedup) 1:53:41.333
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.7 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.38 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,538,511,871 bytes

Feature: 25,104,150,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.40 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

US (Lionsgate) version:

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,739,393,013 bytes

Feature: 25,106,749,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.44 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Collection (US)

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum (UK)

Bitrate:

 

Warner Bros (UK)

 

Bitrate: Studio Canal

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Lionsgate

Blu-ray

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0) 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1587 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1587 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1595 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1595 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)

 

US (Lionsgate) Version:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1582 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1582 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1590 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1590 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)

Subtitles English, None Fixed English Subtitles English (non-removable) English, French, German, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection (US)

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio essay by film historian Peter Cowie
• A rare theatrical trailer in which Jean Renoir discusses both Grand Illusion and his personal war ex
• Archival radio presentation: Renoir and Erich von Stroheim accept Grand Illusion’s Best Foreign Film honors at the 1938 New York Film Critics Awards
• Press book excerpts: Renoir’s letter “to the projectionist,” cast bios, an essay on Renoir by von St
• Restoration demonstration

DVD Release Date: November 23, 1999
Keep case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Ginette VIncendeau (23:38)
• Introduction by Jean Renoir (5:35)
• La Petite Marchande D'Allumettes (31:35)
• Sur Un Air De Charleston (21:49)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (4:13)

DVD Release Date: November 13, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 16

 
Release Information:
Studio: Warner Bros (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Available as part of 3-disc set.
2 more movies:
• - Le crime de Monsieur Lange (1935)
• - La bête humaine (1938)

 

DVD Release Date: September 6, 2004
Triple jewel case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Studio canal

 

Aspect Ratio:
1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,538,511,871 bytes

Feature: 25,104,150,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.40 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• The Little Match Girl (31:44 in 576i)
NOT ON US EDITION
• Trailer (1937) - 4:09 in 576i

• Trailer 1958 (5:36 in 576i)
• Francoise Giroud Remember Shooting the Film (11:02 in 576i) - NOT ON US EDITION

• Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau (12:15 in 576i)

• The Original Negative (11:30 in 1080i)

• Success and Controversy with Oliver Curchod (22:24 in 1080i)

• John Truby Talks about La Grande Illusion (4:18 in 1080i)

• Restoring la Grande Illusion (3:24 in 1080P)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 21st, 2012
Custom Blu-ray Case (see photo above)

Chapters 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (July 2012): This is the exact same image and audio quality as the Studio Canal releases. It has the same DUB and subtitle options. It only differs in that it doesn't have the supplements; The Little Match Girl (31:44) and Francoise Giroud Remember Shooting the Film (11:02) - other than that it is the same disc but housed in a standard Blu-ray case (as opposed to the European 'custom' one).

 

***

 

ADDITION: Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (April 2012): This restoration looks extremely impressive in 1080P. Studio Canal have given us a fabulous dual-layered Blu-ray package - stacked to the gills. Contrast through black levels are a prominent improvement. There is quite a bit more information in the frame - variable but notable on all 4 sides. The image is clean, reasonably tight and looks very strong in-motion. There isn't an abundance of grain - but it has the thickness of a film-like presentation.

 

This package is English, French and German friendly offering a German DUB and subtitles and English subtitles - as well as language menus for all three entitled 'French', 'German', or 'United Kingdom'. The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1587 kbps. This sounds solid in the original French and supports the viewing presentation at a superior level than the DVDs. This Blu-ray disc is encoded for region 'B' empowered audiences.

 

The package is loaded with many supplements including Renoir's silent short (La petite marchande d'allumettesThe Little Match Girl from 1928 (in SD PAL). There is a nice piece with Francoise Giroud remembers some interesting information from shooting La Grande Illusion for about 11-minutes. We also get a wonderful dozen-minute introduction by Ginette Vincendeau - like all extras in French with optional English or German subtitles (or in English language with optional French or German subtitles). There is a highly interesting piece on The Original Negative - securing it and determining the condition. There is a 22-minute video entitled Success and Controversy with Oliver Curchod discussing that aspect of the film's reception. John Truby talks for 4-minutes about La Grande Illusion and there is a 3.5-minute split-screen comparing the new restoration. There are lastly trailers for La Grande Illusion from 1937 (original) and a 1958 re-issue.

This is housed in a wonderful book-style package (see photo above). I was thrilled with the presentation of this Renoir classic. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Optimum - Dec 06' : While the Optimum transfer, a port of the Studio Canal re-release, is better than Warner, almost par with Criterion, and has the scenes not included in the Warner edition (see bottom), it is still cropped on the left to reduce frame from 1.33 to 1.30. There are minute signs of macro blocking, but apart from that it is next to flawless. However due to the cropping, the superior image goes to Criterion. Plus the Optimum subtitles are fixed on the image.

Additional material is a insightful introduction by French critic Ginette Vincendeau, an introduction by Jean Renoir, two early shorts by Renoir, the first "Sur Un Air De Charleston" (1926), the second an adaptation of H.C.Andersen's Little Match Girl "La Petite Marchande D'Allumettes" (1928), and finally the films original trailer.

 - Henrik Sylow

Not much to say here. It is obvious that Criterion's flagship DVD (although spine #1, was not the very first released!) is superior in every way. The image is sharper, better contrast, better subtitles (and removable). The Warner is cropped on the left and top edges. But the big problem are the cut scenes from the Warner, making it an automatic dismissal. I hope the other films in this boxset were given their proper due. The Criterion extras are superb, although some might find Cowie's commentary a little dry. We really don't need to sell you on the Criterion as you already own it. Don't you?

 -Gary Tooze


Menus

Optimum (SE) - Region 2- PAL

 



(Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle sample

 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - SECOND

3) Warner Bros (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion Collection (US) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum (SE)- Region 2- PAL - MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Scenes missing from Warner disc

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Criterion / Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

North American (Lionsgate version)  - see comments

Distribution

Criterion Collection (US) Spine #1

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Warner Bros (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Studio Canal
Region 'B' -Blu-ray



 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...