War And Peace

I realize that too many of the younger generations do not think much about the classics….but they should for the original is always better than the re-make.

Remember that book that you told yourself you wanted to read and you began it but seldom did you finish it.


Well it is written by a Russian and they are notorious for being long winded in their writings……and War and Peace is NO different.

In case you are one of those that never quite got to finish the novel…..I offer a short summary….

1 People change. The characters in War and Peace endure extreme experiences, and emerge at the end as quite different people. The miracle of the book is that the Natasha who falls in love with anyone and everyone in the ballrooms of the opening is recognisably the same woman who withdraws from society at the end.

2 There is no hero and no heroine. This is the story of a group of people living within a society. Andrei Bolkonsky is not Tolstoy’s hero, and Natasha is not a romantic heroine. It forgives ideas of heroism, most beautifully in the last words any character speaks in the book, as Andrei’s son thinks of his father at the end of the First Epilogue. It understands and sympathises with those ideas but it excuses itself from repeating them. The book will try to understand why people behave as they do, and it may make the best case possible for some strange actions, but it won’t make apologies for anyone and won’t pass a final judgment. Don’t expect to be able to predict what happens. Even the characters won’t be able to explain why they do what they do, perhaps until weeks or months later. The subject of the book is the wildness of possibility, and how the world can be changed by one woman saying, for no particular reason that she can explain, “I have had so little happiness in my life.”


I Seldom do film reviews and I recently watched the 1950s adaptation of the book starring Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn…..

The trailer……

This book reminds me of a Hemingway novel……personal conflict and love and death and love again…..

The acting was I remembered it….great.

I admit that I have not seen some of the newer versions of this novel…so I cannot make comparisons….but I do not think that anyone could do a better job that Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova….

It is a shame that most of the stars of this film are no longer with us…….

To be fair these are the trailers from several versions of War and Peace…..

First from 2007 BBC…

Then there is the re-make in 1966……

The film’s larger-than-life legend begins in 1961, when Bondarchuk commandeered the largest budget the USSR had ever seen for a single motion picture. Released in four parts in 1966 and 1967, it was a colossal success in its original homeland run as well as a worldwide sensation, and playing as a four-night special on ABC in 1972 after having set a new record for highest ticket cost — as steep as $7.50, the equivalent of dropping $56.52 on a ticket today, and a big step up from the $1.20 rate in place at the time — during theatrical screenings of an abridged six-hour edit in the US. The 1966 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film was just the feather in its cap — er, shako.


Those are the two others that I am aware of….I shall let you do the comparisons.

If you have not viewed the 1956 version then I suggest you do so you will not be disappointed.

“lego ergo scribo”

9 thoughts on “War And Peace

  1. I thought the book was excellent. I own the DVD set of the FULL Russian version made by Bondarchuk, and it is magnificent. The BBC adaptation had an exceptional cast, and I enjoyed that too. I never went much on the version with Fonda though.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Met and interviewed King Vidor (War and Peace director) in 1965 when we showed and he talked about his early film The Crowd at a film festival at the college I was at. My journalism prof. was one of the Hollywood folks blackballed from film and journalism so he knew a lot of directors. Someone asked about the extra long version that the Russians had made 8 hours total, I believe. He said, he had shot 32 hours and trimmed it down to a good movie.

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