Tuesday, July 10, 2007

War and Peace (Voyna i mir 1968) Battle Scene and the Kubrick connection


I was talking about this spectacular Russian epic by the great Sergei Bondarchuk the other day - apparently Kubrick was all set to make his own epic movie about Napoleon but because of this movie becoming available in the West and the poor box office that Waterloo ( almost W&P's sequel) had received, made Barry Lyndon instead, set 50 years earlier. But the Kubrick script is available to read online so you can imagine what it would have been. He talked about the precision of the troops on the battlefield and this clip kind of shows you what I think he would have had in mind. I can see the influence of this clip in the battle scene in Barry Lyndon but then there is also something of Spartacus in War and Peace so all's square in love and war pictures. Certainly I recommend you all to watch this - it shows the power of the fife and drum in the battlefields of the era well and it really captures the essence of Napoleonic warfare - in ways that the dreadful Sharpe never did - so make my day and watch it. It is supposed to be the battle of Schongraben. Interestingly Barry Lyndon influenced the Duellists which was a Napoleonic film of note but avoided the huge set piece battle scenes in favour of inn scenes and misty landscapes. Clip here War and Peace is only something like 8 hours long - none of your digital rubbish either - they are all real extras ... 120,000 of them for Borodino alone. Probably the most expensive film ever made - without the markets that Hollywood had too how much did it expect to make? Sort of the filmic equivalent of the space race - outdoing Hollywood. Maybe you can rent it from Amazon? Sad to see that Waterloo was originally planned to have Burton and O'Toole in the main roles of Napoleon and Wellington but their schedule wouldn't coincide. Clip of the finished movie here Maybe it's time for a Bondarchuk reappraisal... Bondarchuk wiki