Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
By 1812, Napoleon's forces controlled much of Europe. Russia, one of the few countries still unconquered, prepares to face Napoleon's troops together with Austria. Among the Russian soldiers are Count Nicholas Rostov and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Count Pierre Bezukhov, a friend of Andrei's and self-styled intellectual who is not interested in fighting. Pierre's life changes when his father dies, leaving him a vast inheritance. He is attracted to Natasha Rostov, Nicholas's sister, but she is too young, so he gives in to baser desires and marries the shallow, manipulative Princess Helene. The marriage ends when Pierre discovers his wife's true nature. Andrei is captured and later released by the French, and returns home only to watch his wife die in childbirth. Months later, Pierre and Andrei meet again. Andrei sees Natasha and falls in love, but his father will only permit the marriage if they postpone it for one year until Natasha turns 17. While Andrei is away on a military mission, ... Written by
The marching band in the opening parade are all playing modern musical instruments. See more »
Did you notice he almost never smiles? While I was singing, I turned around suddenly and caught him looking at me and he was smiling then. And I felt - but it's almost impossible to describe - I felt as if someone had given me the most enormous, beautiful present.
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Closing credits epilogue: The most difficult thing - but an essential one - is to love Life, to love it even while one suffers, because Life is all. Life is God, and to love Life means to love God. Tolstoy "WAR and PEACE" See more »
As another IMDb'er has mentioned, this film is one spectacular visual moment after another, but unfortunately with really terrible sound. The reason for the bad sound is that the film was produced at Cinecitta studios in Rome and at that time, all films there were shot without live sound. Everything was dubbed later: dialogue, music and all ambient sounds. In addition, recording facilities in Italy were primitive (this was only 11 years after the catastrophe of WWII), resulting in the canned quality of most of the dialogue. (One of the reasons Antonioni's films were such a breakthrough in the following decade was his use of live sound recording and location shooting).
Anyway, War and Peace is a most worthwhile film experience for Vidor and Cardiff's Technicolor Vistavision visuals, for the screenplay which is often quite beautifully written, and for many fine performances from some exceedingly charismatic film actors, especially the astonishing Audrey Hepburn. There are close-ups of her that will make your heart stop.
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