At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon’s forces controlled much of Europe. In Russia, one of the few countries still unconquered, the army prepares to face Napoleon’s troops in Austria. Among the soldiers are Nicholas Rostov and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Pierre Bezukhov, a friend of Andrei’s and self-styled intellectual who “knows what’s right but still does wrong,” is not interested in fighting. Pierre’s life changes when his father dies, leaving him a vast inheritance. He is attracted to Natasha Rostov, Nicholas’s sister, but gives in to baser desires and marries the shallow, materialistic Princess Helene. The marriage quickly ends when Pierre discovers his wife’s true nature. Andrei is captured and later released by the French, and returns home only to watch his wife die in childbirth. During a visit to the country months later, Pierre and Andrei meet again. Andrei sees Natasha and falls in love, but his father will only permit the marriage if they postpone it for one year. While Andrei is away in Poland on a military mission, Natasha is drawn to Anatole Kuragin, a scoundrel and libertine. Pierre tells Natasha of Anatole’s past before she can elope with him. Napoleon invades Russia. Pierre visits Andrei on the eve of the battle, and observes the battle that follows. Traumatized by the carnage, he vows to kill Napoleon himself. —IMDb
King Wallis Vidor (February 8, 1894 – November 1, 1982) was an acclaimed American film director whose career spanned nearly seven decades.
He was born in Galveston, Texas, where he survived the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. His grandfather, Charles Vidor, was a refugee of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 who settled in Galveston in the early 1850s.
A freelance newsreel cameraman and cinema projectionist, he made his debut as a director in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston. In Hollywood from 1915, he worked on a variety of film-related jobs before directing a feature film, The Turn in the Road, in 1919. A successful mounting of Peg o’ My Heart in 1922 got him a long term contract with Goldwyn Studios, later to be absorbed into MGM. Three years later he made The Big Parade, among the most acclaimed war films of the silent era, and a tremendous commercial success. This success established him as one of MGM’s top studio directors for the next decade. In 1928, Vidor received… read more
A "faithful" adaptation of Tolstoy's sweeping epic is not the sole intent. The joy in being a spectator is Vidor's attempt at forcing a grand russian novel into a hollywood epic. What we get is a series of beautifully composed moving paintings. This film shows an artist at it's core. A fine work filled with success and failure, and yet still a marriage of all things cinematic. fuckin' amazing.