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Press Release Criterion Press Release: The Rules of the Game (1939) (4k UHD Combo) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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Considered one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis’s country château lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haut bourgeois acquaintances. The film has had a tumultuous history: it was subjected to cuts after the violent response of the audience at its 1939 premiere, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here.
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FILM INFO
  • France
  • 1939
  • 106 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • French
  • Spine #216

4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES​

  • New 4K restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray of the film with special features
  • Introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir
  • Audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
  • Comparison of the film’s two endings
  • Selected-scene analysis by Renoir historian Chris Faulkner
  • Excerpts from a 1966 French television program by filmmaker Jacques Rivette
  • Part one of Jean Renoir, a two-part 1993 documentary by film critic David Thompson
  • Video essay about the film’s production, release, and 1959 reconstruction
  • Interview with film critic Olivier Curchod
  • Interview from a 1965 episode of the French television series Les écrans de la ville with Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand
  • Interviews with set designer Max Douy; Renoir’s son, Alain; and actor Mila Parély
  • PLUS: An essay by Sesonske; writings by Jean Renoir, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bertrand Tavernier, and François Truffaut; and tributes to the film by J. Hoberman, Kent Jones, Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders, Robert Altman, and others

    New cover by Raphael Geroni

    June 6, 2023
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. As an Amazon Associate, HTF earns from qualifying purchases. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

 
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titch

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I was hoping Criterion would issue the remaster that was made available in France last year. I'm not fussed about all the harping about whether it merits a 4K UHD, or not. I'm just glad that such an important film is released in the best possible format available for home viewing. But WHY, oh why, Criterion didn't release The Servant as a 4K UHD, is baffling. Particularly as there is a noticeable difference in video quality between the blu-ray and 4K UHD of that title, released by StudioCanal last year.
 

Lord Dalek

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Why do you say that?
Because the negative was blown to smitheerens by the Nazis and even the best surviving copies of Gaborit and Durand's reconstruction have only slightly better resolution than DVD. I know this because I have it on dvd, I have it on blu-ray, and in fact have seen it theatrically. Rules of the Game is not a feast for the eyes...at all.

Also in the liner notes of the previous release Criterion basically said the fine grain (which must have been fifth or sixth gen) they used was literally the best they could find and the results speak for themselves.
 
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david hare

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I was hoping Criterion would issue the remaster that was made available in France last year. I'm not fussed about all the harping about whether it merits a 4K UHD, or not. I'm just glad that such an important film is released in the best possible format available for home viewing. But WHY, oh why, Criterion didn't release The Servant as a 4K UHD, is baffling. Particularly as there is a noticeable difference in video quality between the blu-ray and 4K UHD of that title, released by StudioCanal last year.
I bought the French ESC UHD disc last year. It takes the presentation of this masterpiece to a new level. One of the stakeholders is Janus so this is the same restoration that is being released by Criterion. They wisely avoided HDR because the composite sources simply don’t yield enough dynamic range to require it. The French disc has removeable English subs.

some may think this was not an ideal title to remaster given the quality of the source material but as a long-time admirer of the title I think it’s breathtaking. The image now has clarity and depth, and finally grain is visible - the grain management in this encode is superlative. It shines in projection.
 
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titch

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Because the negative was blown to smitheerens by the Nazis and even the best surviving copies of Gaborit and Durand's reconstruction have only slightly better resolution than DVD. I know this because I have it on dvd, I have it on blu-ray, and in fact have seen it theatrically. Rules of the Game is not a feast for the eyes...at all.
You are prone to negative speculation without having seen the finished product. For example, you roundly damned Arrow's 4K UHD of Dune, long before it was released - the picture and mastering on that title turned out to be much better than on previous blu-ray editions. David Hare's comment above is based on something he has actually purchased and watched. I put more stock in that.
 

compson

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In the UK, BFI is releasing the movie, from the 2021 4K restoration, but only on 1080p Blu-ray.
 

plektret

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Because the negative was blown to smitheerens by the Nazis and even the best surviving copies of Gaborit and Durand's reconstruction have only slightly better resolution than DVD. I know this because I have it on dvd, I have it on blu-ray, and in fact have seen it theatrically. Rules of the Game is not a feast for the eyes...at all.

Also in the liner notes of the previous release Criterion basically said the fine grain (which must have been fifth or sixth gen) they used was literally the best they could find and the results speak for themselves.
Not everything is about additional detail in the picture. UHD is also capable of bringing a more analog/film-like look than regular Bluray, which is something I value. Better grain rendition, less banding and other digital anomalies, if the encoding is done right that is.
 

david hare

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The trailer gives you a taste (although they’ve “softened” the image in places.)

 

Robert Harris

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Regarding resolution and 4k worthiness, possibly we should take a page from the current thinking on film preservation.

The finest extant element - whatever it may be - should be scanned and archived in 4k.

Is there 4k information in Rules? Not a chance.

Do we need HDR? Probably not, as duping has already affected black levels and shadow detail a bit.

Would I be happy to view Rules in 4k as opposed to 2? Nothing to lose. Everything to gain, even by tiny increases in potential quality.

If Criterion is willing to fund, I applaud their efforts.
 

JoshZ

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For example, you roundly damned Arrow's 4K UHD of Dune, long before it was released - the picture and mastering on that title turned out to be much better than on previous blu-ray editions.

Which Blu-ray editions did you compare it to? Believe me, I am very familiar with that film. The UHD is barely distinguishable from the Universal Blu-ray released in 2010.
 

Josh Steinberg

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With respect, that’s just one opinion. To my eyes, there is a huge difference between the Universal Blu-ray and the Arrow Blu-ray, as we discussed when the release first came out. I haven’t seen the UHD.
 

david hare

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Regarding resolution and 4k worthiness, possibly we should take a page from the current thinking on film preservation.

The finest extant element - whatever it may be - should be scanned and archived in 4k.

Is there 4k information in Rules? Not a chance.

Do we need HDR? Probably not, as duping has already affected black levels and shadow detail a bit.

Would I be happy to view Rules in 4k as opposed to 2? Nothing to lose. Everything to gain, even by tiny increases in potential quality.

If Criterion is willing to fund, I applaud their efforts.
I described my first viewing of this disc in a review last year as "a shock". Because you actually see what the elements look like, after they were preserved and the movie itself was put back together with such maximum care and consistency. There were more than half a dozen sources to put the picture back together again but the two main elements are fine grains which actually look here much better than they did on the older 1080p discs. I keep coming back to that, it's like looking at film again not a lot of digitally manipulated bits and pieces. In my view at least this is absolutely what 4K preservation and presentation is about.
 

moviepas

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Because the negative was blown to smitheerens by the Nazis and even the best surviving copies of Gaborit and Durand's reconstruction have only slightly better resolution than DVD. I know this because I have it on dvd, I have it on blu-ray, and in fact have seen it theatrically. Rules of the Game is not a feast for the eyes...at all.

Also in the liner notes of the previous release Criterion basically said the fine grain (which must have been fifth or sixth gen) they used was literally the best they could find and the results speak for themselves.
It wasn't the Nazis but rather Allied accidental bombing of the labs down the river from Paris. What else was lost there is not known to me.
 

darkrock17

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Interesting that Criterion's created new cover art for an already existing title. The original cover is very Marx Brother's-esque while the new looks like the back of a playing card or the hallway of some mansion.

1678918860332.png
 

Paul Penna

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So far I haven't seen anything about the included Blu-ray - specifically whether or not it derives from the same new transfer or uses the one from Criterion's previous release, or is perhaps the earlier release in toto. I posed the question on the Criterion Facebook page. I don't know if they typically respond.
 

david hare

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I have to correct myself on one detail. The French disc is encoded with HDR10. It's been applied with great care, like similar treatment in Criterion's Mildred Pierce. I assume Criterion will go down the same path with their encode.
 

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