Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

War and Peace

(USA, Italy, 1956)

My review will be brief. I thought I had reviewed this before, since we saw it a few months ago, but apparently it slipped through the cracks. And since then we have seen the overwhelmingly better Soviet version. Not that this one is really bad. It just pales in comparison to the Russian epic. Henry Fonda seems miscast as Count Pierre Bezuhov, the main protagonist. Audrey Hepburn, as Natasha Rostova, the woman Pierre loves, doesn’t seem right either, though I am still madly in love with her, twenty-four years after she was taken from us. One thing they did right was the battle scenes, which were stunning … until you see the ones in the Russian production, which are incomparably better. De Laurentiis and company have nothing to be ashamed of, they were simply out-spent and out-classed. Now, if you want to know more about what is probably the largest pre-CGI production ever made, jump to my review of the 1968 version, directed by, co-written by, and starring Sergei Bondarchuk.