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Friday, June 4, 2010

War and Peace (released in 1956) starring Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer

War and peace is an epic novel by Leo Tolstoy and tells a love story with in the back ground of the Russo- Napoleonic war. It was directed by King Vidor and produced as an American/Italian collaboration by Carlo Ponti and Dino Laurentelis.
The story starts with Prince Andrei Bolkonsky who is disillusioned by his marriage to Lise and goes away to fight the Napoleonic war's. Lise, in the mean time lives with his father and sister, princess Marya. Andrei is injured and is supposedly dead but Marya and her father keeps this news away from Lise fearing for her unborn child. However Andrei is under the care of Napoleon himself, recovers and returns home a changed man, ready to love Lise again. But she dies leaving him to care for their son.
Andrei and Nicholas Rostov become friends and they in-turn are introduced to Pierre Bezhukov who has a devil may care attitude. He is attracted to Natasha Rostova who is Nicholas's sister but marries the beautiful Helene. He comes in to his inheritance from his father and leaves to enjoy life not the least bit interested in war.

A distraught Andrei is disillusioned by war and serves under his father in St Petersburg. Here he meets countess Natasha Rostova and falls in love with her. He proposes marriage and Natasha accepts, except for the fact that it is vetoed by Andrei's father. He proposes to the couple to wait for a year and then go for the wedding. Andrei accepts and leaves for a tour of Europe.
Natasha is lonely and is seduced by a married Anatole Kuragin and plans to elope with him. She writes to princess Marya breaking off the engagement and the letter reaches Andrei. But Natasha's cousin Sonya tells her that Anatole is much married and Natasha breaks up with him. She tried to commit suicide and is rescued. Meanwhile her best friend Pierre Bezhukov comes in to his inheritance and is married to a scheming princess Helene. He realizes his mistake and divorces her and reaches St Petersburg.
Andrei is seriously wounded by a grenade in the war and in his trying moments realizes that he is in love with Natasha and is ready to forgive her. An abandoned and wounded Andrei is found by Natasha who cares for him with the help of his sister, but dies of his serious injuries. Natasha meets with Pierre whose wife has died and develops feelings for him. They ultimately marry and have four children.
This film is a golden globe winner for the best film and was nominated for the Oscars for best director, cinematography, color and costume design. The film is often compared to the 1965 version by Sergei Bondarchuk and pales in such comparison. It vastly differs from the book and many of the supporting characters are relegated to the side. This movie was not a big hit and is essentially a love triangle between Andrei, Natasha and Pierre.

War and Peace (released in 1956) starring Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer

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