War and Peace (1967)

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War and Peace (1967)

Post  pinhedz on Sun May 08, 2011 5:35 am

Cook Pass Babtridge

War and Peace is a Soviet-produced film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace. Sergei Bondarchuk directed the film, co-wrote the screenplay and also acted in the lead role of Pierre.

The film took seven years to produce and cost over US$100 million. If inflation is taken into account, a film of this magnitude would cost over US$700 million today, making War and Peace the most expensive film ever made.


There is a showing of this movie in my local cinema soon. The question is, should I go? The version being played is 7hr 30m (with intervals)!.... That's one hellva long movie. affraid I'm intrigued.


pinhedz

Did you finish the book yet?


Cook Pass Babtridge

Ha, no. I kept reading books inbetween, and then all of a sudden I had left it too long, so would have to start from the beginning. I read The Kreutzer Sonata instead, thinking about sticking to his novellas. Very Happy Embarassed


pinhedz

by the time you've read 7 1/2 hours of subtitles, you'll have read much of the book.

You have to see it, of course.

When it first played in the US, it was shown in two parts on two consecutive days.


Cook Pass Babtridge

I very much doubt I will be able to convince anyone to sit in the cinema for over 7 hours (with me!). But yeah, I will probably be checking it out.Very Happy


Hosni

King Vidor and Henry Fonda usually do good work, but I don't know that they're completely suited for this material.


Hosni

Towelieban wrote:Ha, no. I kept reading books inbetween, and then all of a sudden I had left it too long, so would have to start from the beginning. I read The Kreutzer Sonata instead, thinking about sticking to his novellas. Very Happy Embarassed
You read The Death of Ivan Ilyich? Funniest 120 pages you'll find this side of Don Rickles.


pinhedz

[quote="Exile Muffley"King Vidor and Henry Fonda usually do good work, but I don't know that they're completely suited for this material.[/quote]
Russia's answer to Henry Fonda:




Hosni

He looks more like Russia's answer to Rod Steiger.


pinhedz

You should expect Russia's answer to Henry Fonda to be Rod Steiger.


Hosni

I expected it to be George "The Animal" Steele.


Cook Pass Babtridge

Today is the day.affraid


Eddie

Towelieban wrote:Today is the day.affraid
...that you finish War And Peace?


Cook Pass Babtridge

Errr, this is in the Cinema and Television Machine section. Rolling Eyes


Cook Pass Babtridge

(It starts at 2:30, I still can't decide whether I'm going to actually watch it. Laughing )



pinhedz
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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  pinhedz on Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:09 am

It's high time for Babtridge to report back on his impressions. bounce 

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:41 pm

Nan is currently making way through War and Peace. This is not an easy task, as the book involves a huge cast of characters, each of whom has three formal names, a half-score of nicknames, and usually a title. Those characters get up to a lot of things in the 580,000 words of that world.

And what a strange, alien world it is.

Tolstoy is rightly given credit for being an objective observer, showing his characters' good and bad characteristics without judging them. The closest thing the novel has to villains are the Kuragin family, all money-grubbing members of the nobility. The patriarch, Vasily, is a schemer and a manipulator. His son is thoughtlessly cruel. His daughter, Elena, is a stupid, vulgar woman whose sole talent is the ability to show off her beauty in such a way as to make other people want to think the best of her.

Elena's husband, Pierre, was in the middle of one of his tormented inner monologues, arguing with himself about Elena's perpetual infidelity, when Nan began thinking about Elena herself. Certainly Nan would not want to spend time with her — but then again, Nan wouldn't want to spend time with her husband either. Despite Pierre's good heart, he is, especially towards the beginning of the book, an insufferable chump. Elena's family was in financial straits, and by marrying him, she was supporting them. She was supporting them in the only way that was open to her.



While the men in the book could do things like take a job as an officer in the army, or an official in the government, Elena's only way to make a decent life for herself was marrying well. It was, in essence, her job, and she did it admirably. She was a celebrated hostess and, as far as the general public was concerned, a prize of a wife. While Pierre, and most of the other male characters, could arrange his professional and personal life to suit him, Elena couldn't exercise the same privilege. It was unfair, Nan thought, to make marriage a woman's only career, one that she will be locked in to as a teenager — and then morally censure her because she wasn't enthusiastic about the job.

Then again, male characters didn't have all that much freedom, either. Some were trapped, by their love for elderly and female dependents, into making the same kind of loveless marriages as women did. Perhaps, if they were willing to take a few steps down in lifestyle, they might have supported themselves by other means. Take too many steps down in lifestyle, though, and one might become a serf. Tolstoy only touches on them, but their exploitation and misery, if Nan thought about it, eclipsed any sad little thing the nobility was going through. Why should they suffer so terribly when the people above them spent their time worrying about the meaning of life while redecorating their Saint Petersburg estates?

Elena's situation was not isolated. The entire society of the novel was based on a system of interconnected roles. Once the reader starts wondering about the morality of Elena's casual adultery, it's not long before the Bolsheviks are rioting in Petrograd.

Or, to put it in the perspective, Tolstoy has created a coherent moral universe. It has its quirks and its injustices, but tug at one moral thread and the whole story comes apart. Either you take it as a whole, and accept its rules of right and wrong, or you stay outside the story.

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  pinhedz on Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:58 am

The point that Elena was just selling the only thing she had to sell is legitimate, IMO.

However, she wasn't prepared to live up to the terms of the deal--the part about "forsaking all others," which means there's a case for fraud and misrepresentation.

Then again, if the menfolk are considered always to be oppressors and worthless scum-sucking swine, then one could argue that they're fair game for any scam and they got it coming.

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  pinhedz on Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:11 am

Yakima Canutt wrote:Or, to put it in the perspective, Tolstoy has created a coherent moral universe. It has its quirks and its injustices, but tug at one moral thread and the whole story comes apart. Either you take it as a whole, and accept its rules of right and wrong, or you stay outside the story.
Take a story like Anna Karenina--could we expect any youngster in this century to have any idea why she killed herself?

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:47 am

1956
Marlon Brando was considered for the role of Pierre, but he did not want to work with Audrey Hepburn.

Henry Fonda later admitted he had known from the beginning that he was too old for his character, and had only made the film for the money.

For the filming of the epic battle scenes, the producers hired 65 physicians, dressed them as soldiers and scattered them throughout the location to take care of any extras or stuntmen who might get injured during filming of the scenes.

Audrey Hepburn's salary of $350,000 for the film was the highest salary an actress had ever received to date. When notified of her record salary Hepburn modestly told her agent, "I'm not worth it. It's impossible. Please don't tell anyone."

King Vidor directed the huge Battle of Borodino sequence himself rather than leave it to a second unit director as was the custom.

The first draft of the screenplay was 506 pages.

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  pinhedz on Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:51 am

Yakima Canutt wrote:The first draft of the screenplay was 506 pages.
Tolstoy could write that much before breakfast. Laughing 

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Re: War and Peace (1967)

Post  Yakima Canutt on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:41 pm

Laughing but it's still way too long a script for a major motion picture Laughing because screenplays have to be shorter than novels  Laughing because of standard models of film distribution and exhibition  Laughing considering the genre, that many pages would result in a 9 hour movie  Laughing 

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