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post #1 of 28 Unread 01-12-2016, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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"War and Peace" Miniseries: A&E, Lifetime, History

A four-part miniseries simulcast on the three networks starting next Monday Jan 18th, 9 pm Eastern time. Fit accomplished, says this USA Today piece, by bypassing the more philisophical and militant parts of the novel. And Downtown Abbey's Lady Rose MacClare ( Lily James) plays Natasha Rostova after just finishing a role as Elizabeth Bennett (with zombies!). -- John

Last edited by John Mason; 01-14-2016 at 10:03 AM. Reason: typos
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post #2 of 28 Unread 01-12-2016, 03:53 PM
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A four-part miniseries simulcast on the three networks starting next Monday Jan 18th, 9 pm Eastern time. Fit accomplished, says this USA Today piece, by bypassing the more phiisophical and millitant parts of the novel. And Downtown Abbey's Lady Rose MacClare ( Lily James) plays Natasha Rostova after just finishing a role as Elizabeth Bennett (with zombies!). -- John
4 parts? The BBC airing is 6 parts. So far its glossy, and pretty, and some decent Napoleonic fighting. I've never read it but have had someone explain to me some of the intricacies while watching, and whose who.
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post #3 of 28 Unread 01-13-2016, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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^^^Noticed that parts-aired difference, too. Suspect it's just the time slated for each: First program in the U.S. runs for 2 hours. Just to add to my OP, Elizabeth Bennett,
of course, is the heroine of Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Heard they've made a zombie take-off. I and others outlined the time-warping Lost in Austen spoof in a P&P Blue-ray Software forum thread. Watching the SyFy channel last night, saw an intro-ad for the zombie theater version. Ugh. Maybe Alien P&P is next. -- John
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post #4 of 28 Unread 01-13-2016, 07:11 PM
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^^^Heard they've made a zombie take-off.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the book that started the literary/horror mashup craze. Romeo and Juliet and Vampires. Little Women and Werewolves. Jane Slayre. I kid you not.

War and Peace and Golems? Justice is served!
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post #5 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the book that started the literary/horror mashup craze. Romeo and Juliet and Vampires. Little Women and Werewolves. Jane Slayre. I kid you not.

War and Peace and Golems? Justice is served!
Jeez, had no idea it has gone that far! LOL. -- John
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post #6 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 08:12 AM
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Well, as someone who has heard about reading "War and Peace" all these years, usually as a metaphor describing something excruciatingly long and drawn-out, I'm going to commit to watching this. It's the least I can do to fill that literary hole in my resumé. I'm looking at it sort of like a video Cliffnotes.
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post #7 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 08:19 AM
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In the UK the drama will consist of five 60-minute episodes and one 82 minute finale...in the US it will air as four two-hour episodes...so 98 minutes of extra commercials in the US??
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post #8 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 08:35 AM
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Jeez, had no idea it has gone that far! LOL. -- John
I did make that last one up. Maybe I should get to work? Where's the rabbi when you need him?

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post #9 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 09:14 AM
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In the UK the drama will consist of five 60-minute episodes and one 82 minute finale...in the US it will air as four two-hour episodes...so 98 minutes of extra commercials in the US??
UK airing is on BBC so no commercials. 6 hours and 22 minutes of actual programming in an 8 hour broadcast on US TV.... its going to be cut to ribbons.
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post #10 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 09:25 AM
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I know I had to suffer through that thing and others as a kid and about the time I was done with it my mom took me to see the 1956 production of it. What registered in my brain was the winter retreat by the French out of Russia. All by ten year's old and scared my mind for life. Can't do snow other then Jon Snow.
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post #11 of 28 Unread 01-14-2016, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I know I had to suffer through that thing and others as a kid and about the time I was done with it my mom took me to see the 1956 production of it. What registered in my brain was the winter retreat by the French out of Russia. All by ten year's old and scared my mind for life. Can't do snow other then Jon Snow.
Still recall scenes with Hepburn (Natasha), Fonda, and Ferrer from that '56 version (208 min 35mm VistaVisiion), mostly from TV viewings where just a bit of the sweep and music came through. Don't recall whether I've seen the USSR-produced 414-min version, too, on TV in a series; probably watched the BBC-made version if PBS ran it. Too bad the Soviet 70-mm negative was damaged, it would have been great for Blu-rays, especially upcoming 4k BRDs. A 4:3 35-mm copy was filmed in parallel, fortunately.-- John
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post #12 of 28 Unread 01-16-2016, 10:14 AM
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In the UK the drama will consist of five 60-minute episodes and one 82 minute finale...in the US it will air as four two-hour episodes...so 98 minutes of extra commercials in the US??
Depending on the conversion it could also run slower in the US. The show will have been shot 25p for 50i broadcast in the UK. It could have been converted to 60i - and retained the same duration, or could have been slowed down to 24p 1:1 frame matched and then 3:2 converted to 60i or 60p.

If it's been transferred using a "PAL slow-down" then a 60 minutes of UK material will run for 62.5 minutes in the US.

Also - for info - a BBC 'hour' is usually 58'00" - 59'00" to allow for interstitials between shows. (A BBC half-hour is 28'30"-29'00" usually)

(We have the reverse issue in the UK - our US shows run fast, as 24p is sped up to 25p and then 2:2-ed. That means 60 minutes of US material will run to 57.6 minutes in the UK)
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post #13 of 28 Unread 01-18-2016, 11:22 AM
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I am planning to watch this, but unfortunately today's NYTimes review didn't sound very promising.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/18/ar...elevision&_r=0


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post #14 of 28 Unread 01-18-2016, 09:15 PM
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I couldn't make it through the first one.
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post #15 of 28 Unread 01-19-2016, 05:37 AM
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Haven't watched it yet but they are all set to record. Hopefully it is better than some of the reviews I have seen. Anyone's first impressions?

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post #16 of 28 Unread 01-19-2016, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Didn't dislike, or particularly like, part one. Anticipated comparing this production to earlier ones as an exercise. Noticed some good scenes and acting moments. They planned on minimizing the battles, likely due to costs and time, but still created good close-in shots and even--with the aid of fogged-up shooting--overall battle scenes. A preview sampled the somewhat comical pistol duel next week, after the feisty final dinner scene, and can't forget Fonda playing the dueling scene in the '56 film. Don't recall a striking music score, as one shouldn't anyway, but perhaps budgeting these days factored in here too. (Edit: Some Googling revealed some guy named Tchaikovsky and his tune, The 1812 Overture, did play a role. :-) I seemed to notice the lack of background music whenever I 'tuned in' for music.) -- John

EDIT2: While browsing related IMDB writeups, came across this Roger Ebert review of the 1966 Russian version, dubbed the most expensive version of an epic ever made (links above ). Why, only two three-hour segments, five years to make, and the whole Red Army-- if needed--for battle scenes. "You are never, ever, going to see anything to equal it," the late Ebert wrote.

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post #17 of 28 Unread 01-26-2016, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Pierre ( Paul Dano), the bespeckled cuckolded count, finished his pistol duel as expected, stumbling and wounding his bullying house guest. Then he meets a gravel-voice stranger, none other than Osip Alexeevich Bazdeev ( Ken Stott ), familiar as a murderous kidnapper from the TV series, "The Missing" ( forum post). Bazdeev puts Pierre on a path to Freemasonry and Pierre sets out to aid his serfs. Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, seen last week bayoneted, dying, and admiring the battlefield sky, stuns his family when he returns home. He's depressed until he and Natasha fall in love, but the romance is put on hold for a year at the request of the prince's father.

Story editing, mixed with too many ads, often seems abrupt. Scriptwriter Andrew Davies, or others, so far haven't included the clever letter-reading scene transitions from some of Davies' many works, such as the 1995 (Blu-ray release) series "Pride and Predjudice." The actors could provide more links through narration and musings as scene lead-ins. Also, without getting into Cecil B. DeMille land, dropping so much from the novel (see OP) calls for some type of overall narration, letting viewers know what's going on with Napoleon--beyond the Geico ads :-)--and the history of the period. -- John

EDIT: Noticed a guide blurb classifying this as 'women's genre'. Thought the trimming was mostly for length initially. Couldn't grasp W&P being warped to that extent, so signed off permanently part way into episode 3.

Last edited by John Mason; 02-05-2016 at 12:28 PM. Reason: typos;sp.; add-on
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post #18 of 28 Unread 01-26-2016, 03:42 PM
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I've thought Dano has been decent as Pierre. I completely agree that Part 2 was absolutely loaded with commercials. I see this mini-series as a 'light' take on the novel. They've focused more on the romantic relationships and personal tragedies since I think this was designed with female audiences in mind.

It's been watchable on my end but I get the feeling it won't stick with me after it's done.

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post #19 of 28 Unread 02-09-2016, 11:38 AM
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I watched War & Peace from beginning to end and liked it a lot. It was a sumptuous BBC production with startlingly beautiful visuals and a a terrific ensemble cast. I thought the decision to cast Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov was inspired. Although Pierre is brave he is also something of doofus, who can be almost pathologically credulous. Only after Pierre's hard experiences in the war with Napoleon's French army does he finally grow up. In short, a conventional pretty boy moviestar would have been miscast, I think.

Despite its beauty and great cast, War & Peace is not for the faint of heart. Tolstoy's story has a huge number of characters and keeping them all straight requires not a little effort. Still, I was glad I took the time to (mostly) penetrate its intricacies. This miniseries is filled with many scenes that are funny and others that were beautiful to see and moved me deeply. Highly recommended for those willing to stick it out.
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post #20 of 28 Unread 02-09-2016, 05:28 PM
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War and Peace rated quite well on BBC One (the UK's most-watched channel) Opening episode rated 6.3m, but episode 2 was down 1m. 'Endeavour' (the Morse prequel) was scheduled against it on ITV (the main commercial channel here) and rated about the same. Pity the two were up against each other as both are very good in their own way.

War and Peace has been well received here - but it is always going to be a tough ask - but winning its slot (i.e. being the most watched show) is a pretty good achievement for something this 'classic'.
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post #21 of 28 Unread 02-09-2016, 07:25 PM
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War and Peace rated quite well on BBC One (the UK's most-watched channel) Opening episode rated 6.3m, but episode 2 was down 1m. 'Endeavour' (the Morse prequel) was scheduled against it on ITV (the main commercial channel here) and rated about the same. Pity the two were up against each other as both are very good in their own way.

War and Peace has been well received here - but it is always going to be a tough ask - but winning its slot (i.e. being the most watched show) is a pretty good achievement for something this 'classic'.
Glad to learn that War & Peace was well received over there. You folks are more accustomed than we OCD Americans are to devoting the time and attention required to get the most out of complex stories. As noted in my last post, I loved it but it did require some effort.
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post #22 of 28 Unread 02-09-2016, 09:01 PM
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I kinda wanna watch this but I don't want to spoil (as in spoiler alert, not as in ruin) the novel. Hmm.
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post #23 of 28 Unread 02-10-2016, 09:57 AM
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I kinda wanna watch this but I don't want to spoil (as in spoiler alert, not as in ruin) the novel. Hmm.
It seems to me that because of the length and denseness of the Tolstoy novel upon which the miniseries was based, seeing the dramatization could only help you to understand the novel. I haven't read the book either but am looking forward to doing so soon. I have also have the Cliffs Notes for it, just in case.
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post #24 of 28 Unread 02-10-2016, 12:13 PM
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It seems to me that because of the length and denseness of the Tolstoy novel upon which the miniseries was based, seeing the dramatization could only help you to understand the novel. I haven't read the book either but am looking forward to doing so soon. I have also have the Cliffs Notes for it, just in case.

Yeah I know, you don't really read Tolstoi for the plot. But all the same, I'd rather not know the outline first time I read.

Otoh, I've read Anna K and various short stories. Maybe that is enough Tolstoi for one life time
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post #25 of 28 Unread Yesterday, 09:43 PM
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I watched War & Peace from beginning to end and liked it a lot. It was a sumptuous BBC production with startlingly beautiful visuals and a a terrific ensemble cast. I thought the decision to cast Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov was inspired. Although Pierre is brave he is also something of doofus, who can be almost pathologically credulous. Only after Pierre's hard experiences in the war with Napoleon's French army does he finally grow up. In short, a conventional pretty boy moviestar would have been miscast, I think.

Despite its beauty and great cast, War & Peace is not for the faint of heart. Tolstoy's story has a huge number of characters and keeping them all straight requires not a little effort. Still, I was glad I took the time to (mostly) penetrate its intricacies. This miniseries is filled with many scenes that are funny and others that were beautiful to see and moved me deeply. Highly recommended for those willing to stick it out.
As usual, my brother, I fully agree with you. I actually read the entire book during a jury duty call (two weeks in those days if you didn't get picked) and it was so complex and minutely detailed that it would be a challenge for any filmed version. The 1956 movie with Henry Fonda was ponderous but it had it moments and, of course, the glorious Audrey Hepburn as Natasha. This new version did a nice job of compressing the essential gist of the novel into 6 hours. Paul Dano and Lily James were very good as was the supporting cast. Overall it was well done and enjoyable. For me, the definitive version was the incredible BBC production aired here on PBS stations in 1972. It was almost 15 hours long and introduced a young Anthony Hopkins to US audiences. His portrayal of Pierre was epic. The series contained exquisite detail and was very faithful to the novel. I have the DVD set of the series, purchased years ago. That set is now selling for over $100 these days. I have the well received 2007 BBC production on video and am now looking forward to seeing what it brings to the table. I've never seen the 1996 Russian production which clocked in at a little over 7 hours. Maybe some day.
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post #26 of 28 Unread Today, 12:03 PM
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^^^ Thanks to your post, I discovered that the Tulsa Public Library system has the four DVD set of the version of War and Peace produced by the BBC and starring Anthony Hopkins. I am looking forward to seeing it. Like Paul Dano, Anthony Hopkins is more of a character actor than a moviestar, so I have high hopes that I will like his performance as Pierre as much as I did Dano's.

I have (finally) started reading the Tolstoy novel and am about 20 percent of the way through it. Aided by both Cliffs Notes and Wikipedia, I am managing to follow the story, so far at least.
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post #27 of 28 Unread Today, 12:22 PM
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So, they still make CliffNotes? The booklets, or are they online now?
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post #28 of 28 Unread Today, 03:53 PM
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So, they still make CliffNotes? The booklets, or are they online now?
Cliffs Notes for all of the classics are available online these days.
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