Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Lev Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre Bezukhov, who is unhappy in his marriage. Another is the "Great Patriotic War" of 1812 against the invading Napoleon's Armies. The people of Russia from all classes of society stand up united against the enemy. The 500,000 strong Napoleon's army moves through Russia and causes much destruction, culminating in the battle of Borodino. The Russian army has to retreat. Moscow is occupied, looted and burned down, but soon Napoleon loses control and has to flee. Both sides suffer tremendous losses in the war, and Russian society is left irrevocably changed.Written by
Eugene Fraga and Steve Shelokhonov
Director Bondarchuk cast those Russian actors who were previously censored under Stalin, and were kept underemployed in the Soviet film industry. Thus Bondarchuk arranged for comeback of several stars of the 1930s and even of the silent-films era, such as Veronika Polonskaya, Stanitsyn, Anatoli Ktorov, Galina Kravchenko, Boris Zakhava and other notable actors. See more »
When some of the characters are attending the opera,
"L'incoronazione di Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi is being performed. It premiered in Venice in 1642, but by the time that the story takes place (ca. 1807), it had been lost and all but forgotten. A score wasn't rediscovered until 1888, and the first modern performance was given in 1905. The anachronism is probably intentional since Monteverdi's tale of the destructiveness of erotic desire foreshadows the events immediately after that scene. See more »
In addition to their multi-tape release, Kultur Video released this film on a single VHS tape (recorded at extended play). This version is English dubbed, pan and scanned, and edited into a single feature with no intermissions or recaps. The running time of this one-tape version is 358 minutes. See more »
A project so gigantic that it had to be funded by the Soviet Government.
Bondarchuk brings Tolstoy's enormous literary work to the screen with all the scope and pomposity that the Soviet film industry could muster in the sixties. It's a long, two-part movie that tries to give moviegoers as much of an experience as readers often get from the novel. It's generally successful in a clinical way. The production design and set pieces are delivered on a massive scale, with battle scenes that are basically re-enactments of history. There's enough creative casting to make most of the characters come alive, although much of the drama is wooden and stagey (just as in the book, I might add). All in all, this is probably the biggest visual spectacle ever put on film, even in the age of CGI (a fact which only makes the viewer more appreciative of the logistics involved in setting up a production as big as this). A colossal epic that gives true meaning to the term "years in the making with a cast of thousands!". Image/Rusico is presenting a definitive DVD version in the Sovscope widescreen ratio with the original 70mm six-track magoptical sound on four discs. That's around 7 hours of subtitles for those inclined to see this spectacle in it's purest form.
38 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this