WAR AND PEACE (Theatrical Release USA 1956)

 Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.1|5.0 Starsìììì

War and Peace—drearily drags through 3 hours and 28 minutes—drowns itself in good to average acting and tells a story that, if told within a 2-hour timeframe, could have been interesting and worth watching. Little to no character development hampers this movie from its beginning to its end with the primary focus on Henry Fonda who the audience is expected to assume a necessary presence when, in fact, could be eliminated entirely. The strongest actor, despite having little screen presence and few dialogue lines, is Herbert Lom who plays Napoleon Bonaparte. This phenomena/oddity is like the amazing screen presence Michael Shannon obtained in his very small role in the movie The World Trade Center. War and Peace definitely captures epic status, but that status remains rather hidden under heavy doses of exposition and all the bells and whistles that sing ‘epic movie’ which serve their own purpose but over the whole run of the film overpowers and hampers its ability to retain audience interest.

 Storyline

 The story of Napoleon Bonaparte’s march into and out of Russia.

 Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director King Vidor for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producer Carlo Ponti for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Natasha Rostova (Audrey Hepburn), Pierre Bezukhov (Henry Fonda), Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (Mel Ferrer), Anatol Kuragin (Vittorio Gassman), Napoleon (Herbert Lom), Field Marshal Kutuzov (Oskar Homolka), Helene Kuragina (Anita Ekberg), Dolokhov (Helmut Dantine), Prince Vasili Kuragin (Tullio Carminati), Prince Mikhail Andreevich (Barry Jones), Lisa Bolkonskaya (Milly Vitale), and Countess Rostove (Lea Seidl).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?  

Yes. The one reason one may want to watch this movie is to forgo reading the 1,225 pages of the book. The gist of the book can be obtained in a little over three hours. 

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Ben Meyers

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