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25 La Grande Illusion 
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Post Re: 25 Grande illusion, La 1937
Ah yes, a third viewing and it just keeps getting better and better with every viewing, although I must admit that the end is still a touch less moving than the first 80% of the movie. Just a personal thing, and nothing that would bother most folks, just my thoughts on the subject. It portrays the real life part of the movie, so that may be why I don't prefer this portion of the film as much.

Where go I begin? I tend to dwell on the seminal themes of class and status taking place in the war to end all wars. Duty, honor, rank, privilege, class, and education all separates us in modern society and when compiled into a war film, creates a most intricate deep movie. Many are drawn to the character of Marechal, but I think my favorite character besides von Rauffenstein is De Boeldieu.

De Boeldieu permeates the screen as a French Military cultured man, that has been bred from an early age to act and behave according to plan. Caught in a war that involves all of the classes, his prim and proper demeanor is superbly portrayed by Piere Fresnay

I am also touched by the idea presented in the movie that regardless of war and politics or even education, ones feelings for your fellow man can serve as a focal point of pride and morals in your life. This unique relationship can be seen by both the Rauffenstein Boeldieu relationship and the Marechal and Rosenthal relationship.

When I hear the traditional German marche Die Wacht Am Rhein and the French national anthem La Marseillaise , I always think about how this might have influenced Max Steiner and his music for Casablanca. I also note how the singing at the end of the movie serves to bring the characters back together too, as does all of the music in the film, Music is used as an escape in more than one sense in this movie.

Dealing with change is another theme I adore in this movie, change from the methods and professionalism of war to the the future being dark and dreary. Change from camp to camp, change in moods of the characters, change in the world as it is affected by the war. How else could all of the social classes of the world be brought into close contact with each other.

A nobel movie, based upon a noble period of time (at least in their thoughts about war)

Please do take the time to watch this movie, and please seriously consider adding the criterion DVD to your permanent collection.

A 9.9 out of 10! A supreme accomplishment.


Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:48 am
Post Re: 25 Grande illusion, La 1937
Interesting how Wade's additions make any thread classy, even this one that was classy to begin with.

I'm in general agreement that the film is very good, but somehow I didn't like it as much as you two. I was also somewhat disappointed by the final 15 minutes or so which are a bit tepid when compared to what comes before (although I was obviously more bothered than Wade). Ditto for the actual end which I thought transpired rather quickly.

Everything that comes before is perfect, however. This movie has loads of layers. As Rob mentioned, it can be enjoyed solely as a WWI drama, but there is really so much more at play here.

Maybe I'll appreciate this more when I've seen more movies, but for now I've given it a solid 8/10.


Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:48 pm
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