War and Peace

208 minutes

King Vidor's career was strangely divided between whopping epics (The Big Parade) and intimate Bs (Japanese War Bride). This 1956 drama, needless to say, falls into the former category, and it's a clean, elegant adaptation of the novel, far superior to the dull, muddy Russian version that emerged a decade later. It isn't Vidor at his most personal (though his themes and characteristic structure are present), but neither is it the schlock one immediately suspects. With Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, Herbert Lom, John Mills, Oscar Homolka, and Vittorio Gassman; the battle scenes were staged by veteran Italian director Mario Soldati.

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