A marvellous rediscovery from the golden age of French cinema, Jacques Feyder’s Le Grand jeu is a tragic doppelgänger romance, steered by the fate of the tarot card, and set against the dizzying exoticism of 1930s Morocco.
When scandalous Parisian playboy Pierre Martel (Pierre Richard-Willm) is forced by his family to leave France and his adored lover Florence (Marie Bell), he begins a new life in the Foreign Legion as Pierre Muller. Drowning his regrets in camaraderie, whores, and hell-raising, he is astonished at meeting Irma (also Marie Bell), a prostitute with an uncanny resemblance to his beloved, and begins a fitful scheme to allow her escape.
An early benchmark of poetic realism and a fascinating precursor to both Duvivier’s Pépé le Moko and Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Feyder’s fluid, masterful storytelling make this a unique classic of the screen: vividly forceful yet subtle, acutely observed yet fantastic, world-weary yet tender. —Eureka Entertainment
A French film-maker of Belgian origins, born under the name of Jacques Frédérix in 1885. His family intended him to follow a military career, but he changed his name and chose first, the theater, and then the cinema in 1912. He debuted as a director with Gaumont in 1915. L’Atlantide brought him international fame in 1921. Thus started a cosmopolitan career with many ups and downs and films made in the studios of Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Los Angeles and London.
Returning to Paris from a disappointing stay in Hollywood, he found new inspiration with a series of films starring his talented wife, Françoise Rosay : Le Grand jeu (1934), Pension Mimosas and the famous Carnival in Flanders (1935). He died in Switzerland in 1948. —Octuor de France
Feyder's first film after returning to France from a spell in Hollywood was a big hit with critics and public alike. The director shows his visual mastery in a Foreign Legion story that is a precursor to the poetic realist films made later in the decade by Carné, one of Feyder's assistants on this film. A bankrupt playboy is exiled to Morocco where he meets a woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to his former lover..
According to the notes on the back of this typically exemplary Eureka!/Masters of Cinema release, this 1934 film by Jacques Feyder, who from