War and Peace

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Epic films

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Time Out says

Hepburn apart, a miscast and largely misconceived - but not unenjoyable - epic. The fact that six writers collaborated on the screenplay tells its own story of a lavish, respectful, essentially hollow reduction-by-committee of Tolstoy's novel. The first couple of hours, rambling episodically on, seems less a panoramic view of the social scene than a gaggle of characterisations with nowhere much to go. But after Borodino, Vidor and the film seem to be pulling together for the first time in the flurry of magnificently staged battle scenes (the retreat from Moscow, the crossing of the Beresina). As Vidor has commented, 'My favourite subject is the search for truth. This is also the essential theme of Tolstoy's book. It is Pierre who forces himself to discover what is at the heart of man. All that we see, he sees. I wanted to show his point of view'. Although this point of view is never really anchored in the film, it does lend a belated sense of purpose.

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