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Customer Review

185 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bondarchuk's masterpiece still has the power to enthrall, 19 Nov. 2006
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This review is from: War And Peace [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this film in 1969 on general release when I was a young University student. I loved it then for the way it captured the spirit of Tolstoy's novel. I have always wanted an opportunity to see it again. I was astounded when a chance Amazon search revealed the film had been restored and was being re-released in a Collector's Edition the following week. After 38 years, the make up and hair firmly place it as 1960s vintage but that aside the scale and authenticity of the scenes, the attention to detail remain unsurpassed and it does not disappoint. The casting of Natasha, and Bondarchuk himself as Bezukhov are sublime. Natasha's first Ball, the Battle of Borodino and the Moscow Fire are just a few of many wonderful scenes. The courage and confidence of the Director to organise scenes on this scale is breathtaking.

The Collector's Edition is in Russian with English subtitles and some optional dubbing in English. I found the American accents of the dubbing irritating and next time will watch it with subtitles only - the richness of the Russian language is far kinder to the ear. I have wondered whether the standard edition released now in English has better dubbing. The sound has been remastered but on occasion the quality of sound falters. One of the joys of the Collector's Edition is a large amount of wonderful archive footage about how the film was made, Tolstoy, and interviews with people who made the film. These contribute a great deal to understanding the film's place in Film History. This edition will make a great present for any lover of films of the great classics of literature, for unreformed romantics like myself or anyone with an interest in Film History. I shall always treasure my copy.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Dec 2011 08:39:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Dec 2011 08:39:58 GMT
I saw this in 1969 too. It has remained one of my all time favourite films. The photography is stunning. The battle scenes are inspired. The acting is superb. I have not seen it since 1969 but many scenes are etched on my memory. A truly wonderful film.

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 17:04:51 BDT
I also saw it when it first came out - my mother had to take me two separate weeks to the cinema as it was released in two parts. Then as a student I twice saw it in all day showings at the South Bank in London. It is indeed a great film and I also love the musical score by Ovchinnikov which unfortunately only ever appeared on LP in the UK.

Posted on 5 Dec 2013 16:06:11 GMT
M. N. Walsh says:
Thank you for noting that the dubbing could be turned off. The mixture of dubbing and sub-titles that others wrote about would have put me off.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Feb 2014 10:16:31 GMT
Hannah says:
Ah - I see you've already had this discussion!!! I'm going to 'risk' it!
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Location: Bedfordshire, UK

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