I took delivery of this disc a couple of days ago, and IMHO it's a thoroughly good disc, with one notable exception. For those of you who don't know what this film is about, it's set in France just before WWII. Most of the action takes place in a country house where assorted members of the French nobility and hangers-on have gathered for the weekend. The actions of the upper classes are contrasted with those of the servants. Nearly all are portrayed as mindless slaves of the social system who know that they must abide by the 'rules of the game'. At the start of the film, one of their number breaks the rules by saying what they actually feel on national radio, and the rest of the movie in effect follows the consequences of that action. I shan't spoil the enjoyment of newbies by giving away any more of the plot, but suffice to say that the ending of the movie is a wonderful combination of tragedy and dark comedy. In the hands of a Brit or an American, Rules of the Game would be a heart on the sleeve denunciation of the evils of the class system, but Renoir, the director, adopts a superficially more relaxed Gallic view of the proceedings. It appears more nonchelant, but is ultimately more effective by not preaching but forcing the viewer to comprehend rather than just watch. The movie is regularly listed in critics' (and directors') lists of the 'best movies of all time', and if you have any claim to liking movies, then you should at least see it and ideally pick up the DVD, because like all great movies, it gets better with repeated viewings. Okay, what about the disc itself? Well, Criterion have done their usual excellent job of cleaning up the picture and sound, and unless you are a total pedant, you'll have nothing to complain about (I have the French R2 version which came out a few years ago, and the Criterion version is considerably better). This is a two-disc set, and is beautifully packaged in a clear plaster cover. DISC 1 This contains the movie (in excellent condition, as noted), and a few extras. First, there is an introduction to the film by Jean Renoir himself. This is a brief five minutes or so, but Renoir's wonderful charm shows through, and he is admirably self-depricating. Then there is a side by side comparison of the two versions of the movie with commentary by Professor Christopher Faulkner, a noted expert on Renoir's work. This is very informative, and IMHO it's a shame that Prof Faulkner didn't do a commentary on the whole movie. For those who are wondering what's meant by 'two versions of the movie', some explanation is required. When Renoir premiered the movie in 1939, reaction was extremely hostile (to put it mildly). Alarmed by the reaction, Renoir trimmed about ten minutes from the original running length, giving a movie of about 80 minutes. This is the version that everyone saw for the next 20 years. During the war, the original movie was lost in a bombing raid. However, in 1959, some film historians attempted to recreate the original movie by salvaging bits of discarded negatives, etc. The result was a movie of over 100 minutes long - in other words, not only was the original footage restored (or rather most of it - one minor scene has been lost forever, it would seem), but in addition, they'd inserted stuff that Renoir had cut out before the original release. Renoir approved this new cut, and that is the version we have on this disc and the one which has established the reputation of Rules of the Game as one of the greatest movies ever made. Also included on Disc 1 is an audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske. This is read out by Peter Bogdanovich. IMHO, it's the one weakness in the disc. It's not that what's said is bad - far from it. But it reads like a very interesting essay that is trying to keep up with what is on the screen. After a short while, I found it very hard to follow. There is just too much information, or perhaps just too many words. I think as a written essay illustrated with still pictures from the movie it would be superb, but it doesn't work for me as a commentary. Others may feel differently, of course. DISC 2 This contains a lot of extra goodies. I've dipped into these, and they seem good, but I suspect that the precise value of these will differ according to your level of interest in Renoir's work. I've cut and pasted the details of what's on Disc 2 from the Criterion website: Excerpts from Jean Renoir, le patron: La Règle et l’exception (1966), a French television program directed by Jacques Rivette Part one of Jean Renoir: a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by David Thompson, featuring reflections on Renoir from his family, friends, collaborators, and admirers New video essay about the film’s production, release, and later reconstruction Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and re-release of the film New interview with Renoir’s son, Alain, an assistant cameraman on the film New interview with The Rules of the Game set designer Max Douy 1995 interview with actress Mila Parély Written tributes to the film and Renoir by François Truffaut, Paul Schrader, Bertrand Tavernier, Wim Wenders and others In conclusion, I'd say this was a must-have purchase for film fans, but the commentary track may not be to everyone's taste.