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War and Peace (1966-1967) - Criterion Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by t1g3r5fan, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. t1g3r5fan

    t1g3r5fan Supporting Actor
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  2. atcolomb

    atcolomb Screenwriter

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    Saw the Blu-ray a month ago and despite some slow parts I liked the film and made me think of The Leopard and Abel Gance's Napoleon. Nice extras on the disc too.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    One of the first titles I streamed on The Criterion Channel.

    I thought I was going to turn it off in the first 20 minutes. I really struggled to finish watching this film...

    ...however, once things started progressing, I found myself engrossed in this wonderful, epic film.

    I absolutely loved this!

    Most striking, beyond the triumphant battle scenes, was the transfer. Just gorgeous to watch! Loved the cinematography in the big ballroom scenes with the camera swooping around the dance floor.

    This is just one of those films you have to watch once in your lifetime.
     
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  4. t1g3r5fan

    t1g3r5fan Supporting Actor
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    This was a movie that I had often heard about but never saw up until I had the chance to review it. I had to break up the film into four parts over four days but the end result was worth it entirely; no regrets whatsoever. It's definitely a film one should see at least once in their lifetime.
     
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  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Wow. I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that you wouldn't have had the patience for this, but you've redeemed yourself, Ron! We'll make an avant-garde cinephile of you yet. :D
    I know RAH has stated that this transfer is unrepresentative of the original 70mm elements, but I thought the Criterion Blu-ray was gorgeous to look at.
     
  6. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    Gorgeous, - yes. But still in no way replicating the 70mm presentation. Nothing ever can. A shame. But hey, Criterion deserves props for this one - a monumental undertaking, given its due in hi-def. If not perfect, then most certainly 'beyond' watchable. An epic in every sense - mesmerizing in its execution and performances. Wow, doesn't begin to describe Bondarchuk's War and Peace.
     
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  7. mark brown

    mark brown Stunt Coordinator

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    Still one of my favorites this many years later!
     
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  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor
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    I've wanted to see this for years, but I have no interest in watching a film of this length sloppily converted from PAL and in pan and scan (as the available US editions presented it). The Criterion Blu-ray is fantastic, though with the caveats mentioned by others. Don't expect anything resembling Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, or The Sound of Music. Mosfilm clearly put a lot of work into making this presentable. One of the interviews on the disc reveals that even during shooting there were problems with the sub-par Soviet 65mm stock (Bondarchuk wanted to use imported Kodak stock).

    As for the film, it's one of the best "new to me" films I've seen this year. I watched it over two nights. Even for all the epic scale, you don't lose sight of the characters. I think it was also clever of Bondarchuk to play Pierre because the character does work as sort of a surrogate for the audience and who better than the director to guide viewers? The cinematography is breathtaking, between all the mind-blowing camera movement and even surrealistic editing that you'd rarely see in a film of this scale.
     
  9. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Correction - the Bluray is 2.35:1, not 2.20:1. Unfortunately.
     

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