MDC's Tower Theater

MDC's Tower Theater

A timeless classic restored like never before. Newly restored original negative.



Directed by Jean Renoir
Cast: Jean Gabin, Eric Von Stroheim, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay

France | 1937 | 35 mm. | 114 min.| Drama, War | Unrated
French, German, English, and Russian with English subtitles

For its 75th Anniversary, Rialto Pictures presents a stunning 4K restoration of GRAND ILLUSION, Jean Renoir's powerful and eloquent anti-war film set during World War I. Aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu and his mechanic, Lieutenant Maréchal are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, who treats them with customary officers' hospitality. The two downed pilots are then sent to a German POW camp, where they quickly join a group of prisoners who have concocted an elaborate escape plan. Their plot is foiled, however, as they are transferred to a new camp, the formidable Wintersborn fortress, run by Rauffenstein, who is now grounded due to battle wounds. Rauffenstein, lamenting the end of an aristocratic era, tries to befriend de Boeldieu, but the French captain is already hatching a new escape plan - one in which he puts himself in danger to allow the others to escape. GRAND ILLUSION was the first foreign film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Screenplay by Jean Renoir, Charles Spaak
Cinematography by Christian Matras
Music composed by Joseph Kosma

1939 Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Picture
1938 USA National Board of Review: Best Foreign Film
1939 New York Film Critics Circle: Won, Best Foreign Language Film
1937 Venice Film Festival: Won, Best Overall Artistic Contribution; Nominated, Mussolini Cup

“A model of simplicity and grace, with emotional effects that move you when you least expect it, the kind of great film that only a master can pull off.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“It's still one of the key humanist expressions to be found in movies: sad, funny, exalting, and glorious.” - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“I can't comment yet again on this magnificent work except to say that its account of French prisoners in German hands during World War I seems now even more soaringly elegiac.”- Stanley Kauffman, New Republic

“Renoir, the grand humanist filmmaker, spoke for all that's best about people at a time when people were in danger of becoming their worst.”- Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

“A magnificent restoration we should all be grateful for.” - Martin Scorsese

“If I had to save only one film in the world, it would be Grand Illusion.” - Orson Welles

“There is a quiet voluptuousness; the camera doesn't point or intrude, but glides…observation and sympathy for the characters define every shot; there is hardly a camera decision made for pure effect.” - Roger Ebert

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