War & Peace (1968)
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Top Customer Reviews
First of all, this version has been "panned and scanned" to better facilitate a regular screen television -- so, this product is what we generally refer to as "full-screen". Second, there are a few editing differences including some scenes that were not in the widescreen (letterbox) version and misssing a few scenes that were. This does not radically change the film but it was certainly interesting to observe.
Finally, the voiceovers and subtitles are COMPLETELY different, being superior to the original widescreen (letterbox) version. Many more conversation parts are picked up in this version and the translation is far superior. In some cases, the two translations are quite different, this one aligning more with the highly recommended Maude translation of the original book.
In the end, I'm glad to own both versions, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. In picture quality, this one cannot compare to the widescreen (letterbox) version as the clarity was somewhat compromised by the blow-up of the negatives during the "pan and scan" process. Still, it's quite watchable.
As far as the story goes, this is one of the finest war films ever produced. The Hollywood version of War and Peace starring Henry Fonda is a pathetic joke compared to this Russian masterpiece.Read more ›
On the other hand, Kultur's currently available DVD of Bondarchuk's WAR AND PEACE is a big disappointment. While it also contains the full-length, 403-minute version, it's the same old pan & scan transfer that they used for the VHS over a decade ago. Not only are the sides of the film's original widescreen image lopped off, the top and bottom of the image are slightly cropped too--as a result, the DVD displays only about 50% of the image that we are intended to see, effectively ruining the film's striking visual compositions. The 5-disc set produced by Ruscico and to be released by Image Entertainment is substantially more expensive, but it's the only way to go if you want to see this film properly.
The English subtitles are printed on the film itself, and therefore not removable. In the scenes where French is spoken, there is a voice superimposed on the soundtrack translating what is being said into Russian, which is of no interest to the English-speaking viewers who will be watching this DVD. In these cases, you have an actor speaking French, an additional voice speaking Russian, and an English subtitle simultaneously, which is distracting to say the least. It's hard to imagine why a print with this feature was chosen, unless it was the absolute best-looking print available.
That brings up the subject of the alternate issue of this film due at the end of December from the Russian Cinema Council (Ruscico). Judging from past Ruscico DVD releases, it may well be a restored, archive-quality print (hopefully letterboxed).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
IMHO, way overdone,especially battle scenes. Acting fair to good. Can't think of one memorable scene, possibly the hunting scene which is also a favorite in the book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by George J. Hawkins
I purchased the KULTUR version of this film, and that was my mistake. The KULTUR version is disappointing in 3 ways: (1) the film is in Russian, with English subtitles (no English... Read morePublished 12 months ago by HJH
Saw the movie originally, but ordered the WRONG version. Fascinationg movie, but better if you can follow the dialogue. This one isn't in English. My error.Published 16 months ago by Walt S
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