The Game Is Over

The Game Is Over (original title La Curée, "The Kill") is a 1966 French-Italian French language drama film directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda, Michel Piccoli and Peter McEnery. The film is a modern-day adaptation of the 1871-72 novel La Curée by Émile Zola.[2]

The Game Is Over
Directed byRoger Vadim
Produced byMario Sarago
Roger Vadim
Screenplay byJean Cau
Roger Vadim
Bernard Frechtman
Based onLa Curée
by Émile Zola
StarringJane Fonda
Michel Piccoli
Peter McEnery
Music byJean Bouchéty, Jean-Pierre Bourtayre
CinematographyClaude Renoir
Edited byVictoria Mercanton
Production
company
Les Films Marceau (Paris)
Cocinor – Comptoir cinématographique du Nord
Mega Film (Rome)
Distributed byRoyal Films International
Columbia (US)
Release date
1966 (France)
1967 (USA)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryFrance
Italy
Box office2,558,254 admissions (France)[1]

SynopsisEdit

In Paris, Maxime Saccard visits his wealthy industrialist father Alexandre and his beautiful young Canadian wife, Renée. Alexandre fathered Maxime years ago in a prior marriage and Maxime has come to stay with them after studying in England.

Renée tells Maxime that she married Alexandre when she was pregnant following an unhappy love affair; the child was stillborn and the passion between the two has faded.

Renée and Maxime begin an affair and fall in love with each other. Renée, who came from a wealthy family, asks Alexandre for a divorce. He agrees, on the condition that she leaves the fortune she brought to their marriage invested in his business.

Renée accepts this and goes to Switzerland for a divorce. But while she is away, Alexandre confronts his son with two alternatives: he can either run off with the now penniless Renée or become engaged to Anne Sernet, the daughter of a wealthy banker whose support Alexandre wants for his business. Maxime agrees on the second course of action.

Renée returns from Switzerland to find Alexandre holding a ball celebrating Maxime's engagement to Anne. Renée throws herself into the pool to kill herself – but then changes her mind and dripping wet enters the party. Alexandre escorts her to the gymnasium, where she sits and stares into an empty future.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The movie was one of a series Vadim made based on a classic text. He described the book as "about high society in Paris with a rather serious background, since it likens dogs turning on a deer in a hunt to people."[3]

"I am making no attempt to give the wide sociological picture that Zola did", added Vadim. "I am not a naturalist or a moralist. The Zola characters were hardly everyday. There was something fantastic about them, though they have their counterparts today, as I hope to show."[4]

Vadim and Jane Fonda married immediately prior to making the film.[5]

It was only the second film performance of Tina Aumont.[6]

The movie was shot in both English and French versions. Fonda acted in French and English. "I said it was hard enough to shoot anything once", she said. "But doing it twice, I found, seemed perfectly natural.[7]

"I love working in French", she added. "I feel a certain kind of freedom. The way you feel when you learn to speak a foreign language and find you can say things you wouldn't dare say in English."[8]

Peter McEnery did not speak French so when shooting the French version he had to learn his lines phonetically and a French actor was then dubbed in for him.[7]

Fonda appears in some nude scenes which were explicit for the time. She said later about shooting these:

You have to be relaxed, free. Pornography begins when things become self-conscious. But the set was cleared and closed, and I knew Vadim would protect me in the cutting room. Months later we discovered that a photographer had hidden in the rafters and taken pictures which he sold to Playboy. It rocked me, it really did. It's a simple matter of breaking and entering, and invasion of privacy.[8]

ReceptionEdit

The movie was a solid box office success in France, where it received mostly good reviews. It was the tenth most popular movie at the French box office in 1966, after La Grande Vadrouille, Dr Zhivago, Is Paris Burning?, A Fistful of Dollars, Lost Command, A Man and a Woman, For a Few Dollars More, The Big Restaurant and The Professionals.[9] When the film screened at the Venice Film Festival, however, critical reception was hostile.[10]

When the movie was screened commercially in Italy later, all copies were seized on the grounds of obscenity. The Italian producer and 23 cinema owners were charged.[11][12][13] Vadim and Fonda were not charged.[14]

US ReleaseEdit

The Game Is Over received mostly negative reviews in the US. Critics praised the cinematography by Claude Renoir, but called the film's story and dialogue trite. New York Times reviewer Bosley Crowther wrote that the film "has absolutely nothing in it but fancy clothes and decor",[2] while critic Roger Ebert called it "a tedious and ridiculous film of great physical beauty".[15] The Washington Post called it 'this deliciously false and phony picture."[16]

However the Los Angeles Times called it Vadim's "best film since Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the finest of Miss Fonda's career... Rarely has Vadim's style been so expressive."[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Box office information for Roger Vadim films at Box Office Story
  2. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (January 10, 1967). "Movie Review: The Game Is Over (1966)". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Scheuer, Philip K (20 July 1965). "Vadim Is Frank On, Off Screen". Los Angeles Times. p. C8.
  4. ^ Thomas Quinn Curtiss (16 Jan 1966). "And Vadim 'Created' Jane Fonda". New York Times. p. X15.
  5. ^ "Producer Weds Jane Fonda In Ceremony in Las Vegas". New York Times. 15 Aug 1965. p. 70.
  6. ^ "Hollywood Family--2nd Generation". Los Angeles Times. 15 Mar 1966. p. c10.
  7. ^ a b Kimmis Hendrick (17 Feb 1967). "It's the doing she likes: Suggestion of reality". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass. p. 4.
  8. ^ a b Gerals Jonas (22 Jan 1967). "Here's What Happened to Baby Jane". New York Times. p. 91.
  9. ^ "French Box Office 1966". Box Office Story.
  10. ^ "A Ball in Venice Competes With Films for Excitement". New York Times. 9 Sep 1966. p. 41.
  11. ^ "Trouble for Jane Fonda with Italian censors". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 17 January 1967. p. 12. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Jane Fonda Film Seized in Italy". New York Times. 22 Nov 1966. p. 33.
  13. ^ "Producer Indicted in Italy For 'Obscene' Vadim Film". New York Times. 20 Dec 1966. p. 58.
  14. ^ "Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda Face Obscenity Charge". Chicago Tribune. 26 Apr 1967. p. b5.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 14, 1967). "The Game Is Over Movie Review".
  16. ^ Richard L. Coe (8 April 1967). "Jane's Back; So is Sandra". The Washington Post, Times Herald. p. B7.
  17. ^ Thomas, Kevin (20 Jan 1967). "'Game Is Over' and Vadim a Winner". Los Angeles Times. p. c6.

External linksEdit