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War and Peace
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After I purchased this 3 disc Kultur DVD, I discovered that it is currently available from Amazon video, but that version looked even worse. It did have dubbed English voices, but they were poorly synced and didn’t sound like they matched the actors.
After doing some further research, I ran across references to a five disc version issued by RUSCICO (Russian Cinema Council) and eventually found it listed with a couple eBay sellers. I ordered one at half the price of the DVDs here, and found that it was vastly superior. The colors were brighter and not so washed out, although neither version had the kind of clarity one sees in other restored films. Apparently the original 70 mm film ended up in Ukraine, while both the Kultur and the RUSICICO versions were copied from a 35 mm version. I'm not sure if the RUSICICO version is any longer, although both are probably based on the 6 hour version (used for the U.S. theatrical release -- the original Russian was longer). The big difference between the two versions (besides the color) is that the RUSCICO has the option of hearing the speakers in Russian, dubbed English and several other languages AND choosing a different language for subtitles (or having no subtitles at all). Haven't watched enough of the RUSCICO with the dubbed English but it struck me as having the voices in the original dubbed version for the U.S. Finally, the 5th disc in the RUSCICO set has some bonus features not available in the Kultur.
Despite the flaws in both versions, it was well worth seeing this extraordinary film again. The casting and the acting is brilliant, and it is closer to Tolstoy than the King Vidor version or the later BBC ones. The last time I saw the film (not the first) was an all-night showing in London in 1973. It kept me wide awake all night and I left dazed and teary-eyed. All these years later, watching it on tv at home, with shadows and splotches, it was still very powerful.
The on going central theme of redemption underpins the love and loss felt by Prince Andrei, Natasha and Pierre. Other UK remakes simply cannot match this superb Russian version. My favourite book and favourite film.