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WSR Detailed DVD Review
War And Peace
Image / 1965-67
Genre: Drama

Reviewed In Issue 75 (Aug 2003) Of Widescreen Review®

Liudmila Savelyeva, Sergei Bondarchuk, Vyaheslav Tikhonov, V. Stanitsin, K. Golovko, I. Gubanova, A. Ktorov & P. Savin

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 2
DD Sound Rating: 3.5
DTS Sound Rating: NA
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 5
Internet Links

Special Features
Disc One of this five-disc set includes both parts of the first film, "Andrei Bolkonsky," cast and filmmaker biographies, a biography on Alexander I, and a description of Russian manor houses of the early 19th century. Film Two, "Natasha Rostova," is found on Disc Two, along with biographies and filmographies, a textual explanation of the National Liberation Movement in Russia, and part one of several lovely set sketches that must be selected individually (as opposed to arrowing through them with your remote). Disc Three includes the third movie, "1812," as well as another cast bio and filmography list, a biography on Kutuzov, textual explorations on Amusements and Celebrations in the country and Russian Classicism, and part two of the set sketches. Of course the fourth film, "Pierre Bezukhov," is found on Disc Four. There are also additional filmographies, part three of the set sketches, and an explanation of the Empire style of architecture and decorative art. Finally, the supplements-only DVD includes a 33-minute interview with composer Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, a five minute presentation about Bondarchuk

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Image Entertainment
(Catalog Number): RUSD 3874
(MPAA Rating): Not Rated
(Rating Reason):

(Retail Price): $79.99
(DVD Type): Five-disc set: DVD-9 x 5
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 403
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): No
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 1965-67
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 06/03/03
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): Sergei Bondarchuk
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  DVD Picture Information

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  DVD Sound Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced and slightly windowboxed 2.35:1 DVD exhibits a problematic and disappointing picture which seems to have seen little in the way of color correction. Aside from a constant flicker, the picture looks faded and colors are inconsistent within the same shots. Blacks often appear muddy and bluish, and fleshtones subtly flicker from natural to pale gray at times. While details can appear satisfactory, the overall look is generally soft. Minor smearing is also evident. Contrast is low and there is little visual information in the darker scenes. The source element is quite dirty, with artifacts that can be so bad that images seem to get displaced by them (i.e. the camera pan at the beginning of Disc One, Chapter 11). Edge enhancement is minimal, but there is some noticeable pixel breakup. Most of what is terribly distracting about this picture can be attributed to the source element, but these anomalies are not likely to be tolerated by serious home theatre enthusiasts. On the other hand, fans of this unparalleled epic will revel that it is finally available on DVD in widescreen format. (Suzanne Hodges)

This DVD set features three remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, in English, French, and the original Russian language. Depending on the particular film, the Russian dialogue is somewhat of a lackluster production, due to being slightly out of sync with the visuals and also not having very good spatial integration. The engagement of the spatial soundstage is significant, often to the point of actually sounding a bit