La grande illusion

La grande illusion

DVD - 1999 | French
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In this classic tale of adventure, duty and honor conflict in a German prisoner-of-war camp when an aristocratic French officer becomes friends with the commandant while cooperating with his comrades in a daring escape.

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d
DoctorVine
Nov 25, 2016

of course. Every element of this story is still valid today. Very much worth watching over and over.

p
princeofdarkness
Oct 16, 2016

Because of the title of the book on which it was based, I began thinking about the many different 'illusions' contained within this film. To name one, that of the class divisions perpetuated in the 'officers only' prison camps, where prisoners of war are afforded civilized treatment in the midst of a barbaric conflict. Another illustration of an illusion might be that of the growing love between Gabin and Parlo, whose story would make for an interesting movie of its own and wouldn't necessarily benefit from more time in this film. Wartime has many realities but Renoir succeeds in showing the audience that war can be a battle against illusion. The unused tunnel may be the ultimate symbol, that we never really escape from the ravages of war.

t
ThomasJWhiting
May 15, 2015

Very good 1937 b&w French movie set in German WWI French prisoner camps - released not many years prior to WWII.
Hadn't previously seen this famous movie; now I have, and glad I took the time.

m
ms_mustard
Aug 24, 2013

honour, humour, death, loyalty mixed with class distinctions during WW 1. a message from Renoir.

a
akirakato
Jan 30, 2013

It is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, who co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Spaak.
The story concerns class relationships among a small group of French officers who are prisoners of war during World War I and are plotting an escape.
It stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French officers held in a World War I German prison camp, and Erich von Stroheim as the unforgettable Captain von Rauffenstein.
The title of the film comes from a book:"The Great Illusion" by British economist Norman Angell, which argued that war is futile because of the common economic interests of all European nations.
The perspective of the film is generously humanistic to its characters of various nationalities.
As the very first prison escape movie, it is regarded by critics and film historians as one of the masterpieces of French cinema.
It would be much better, however, that Jean Renoir expanded the love between the French officer (Jean Gabin) and a German war-widow after the escape.
I still wonder what happened to the tunnel the French prisoners had dug.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Jul 26, 2012

The older film, in black and white, from France tells the story of two escapees in a prison camp during WWI. Lots of dialogue (yes, it has English subtitles) and little action. It is basically a human drama. Don't expect it to be a war film with violence and action.

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