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Trivia / War and Peace

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  • California Doubling:
    • The 1956 film was shot in Italy.
    • The 1977 miniseries was shot in Yugoslavia.
  • Creator Backlash: Henry Fonda later regretted starring in the 1956 film, feeling he was far too old to play Pierre, saying he only did it for the money, and because he was a fan of the book.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • In the 1956 film version, Pierre, meant to be in his twenties, is played by a fifty-year-old Henry Fonda. Also, Natasha is supposed to age from thirteen to twenty-eight, a problem which every film version deals with by casting a twentysomething actress to play her throughout.
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    • 30-year-old Morag Hood as Natasha in the 1972 version.
  • Fake Russian:
    • In the 1956 King Vidor film, the Russian characters are played by actors of various nationalities: the British-Dutch Audrey Hepburn, the Americans Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer, the Italian Vittorio Gassman, the Austrian Oskar Homolka and the Swedish Anita Ekberg.
    • The 2007 miniseries is particularly bad about this, with the French Clémence Poésy as Natasha, the German Alexander Beyer as Pierre, the Italians Alessio Boni as Andrei, Valentina Cervi as Marya, and Violante Placido as Helene... Actually averted with Dimitri Isayev as Nikolai, however - he's actually Russian, and is most famous as Tsar Alexander II in the immensely popular Russian telenovela Bednaya Nastya.
  • Fake Nationality: Napoleon Bontaparte is played by Czech-British Herbert Lom in the 1956 film, Russian Vladislav Strzhelchik in the 1966 Soviet version, and English David Swift in the 1977 miniseries.
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  • Role Reprise: Herbert Lom, who plays Napoleon in the 1956 film, previously played him in The Young Mr Pitt (1942).
  • Same Language Dub: In the 1956 film, Anita Ekberg and May Britt were both overdubbed because their Swedish accents were too thick.
  • Take That!: This has been stated as one of the main reasons the 1966 version exists. To quote an open letter by the Soviet film industry:
    It is a matter of honor for the Soviet cinema industry, to produce a picture which will surpass the American-Italian one in its artistic merit and authenticity.
  • Troubled Production:
    • Dino De Laurentiis and Henry Fonda were constantly at each other's throats during filming of the 1956 version. De Laurentiis disagreed with Fonda's interpretation of Pierre, wanting him to be a more traditional romantic lead, while Fonda wanted to remain more faithful to his characterization in the novel, which De Laurentiis had apparently never read. To that end, the producer would go into screaming fits of rage whenever he saw Fonda wearing Pierre's glasses, which is why they suddenly disappear in some scenes - Fonda surreptitiously removed them whenever De Laurentiis was on set.
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    • Fonda claimed that he had only agreed to do this movie after reading an early version of the screenplay (which ran 506 pages - if one minute equals one page on screen, this would have made it a good 35 minutes longer than the 1966 version), and was much displeased when this was re-written by others. Said script (which has SIX credit authors and at least two more uncredited ones) was being constantly rewritten during shooting by Vidor to meet De Laurentiis' demands.
    • The 1966 version however, was arguably even more worse of a movie to shoot. This was on top of the fact that the Soviet government was heavily banking on the movie to outdo the 1956 version AND was very likely keeping a close eye on things. For example...
    • The Borzoi dogs used in the hunting sequence were not trained to hunt down wolves, as in the book. The crew had to resort using off-screen scent hounds to scatter the wolves and the Borzois released to catch them.
    • Ten percent of the movie had to be reshot due to the shoddy quality of the 70mm film stock, which was locally made. This too is probably part of the reason no 70mm version survives today - the print restored by Mosfilm and used for the Criterion Collectiom edition is from a 35mm duplicate.
    • Alexander Shelenkov and Yu-Lan Chen, cinematographers of the first two parts, quit after one too many an argument with Bondarchuk.
    • The film went overbudget during the filming of the Battle of Schongraben, as seen in Part I.
    • The Battle of Borodino in Part III was supposed to be shot in thirteen days. It took three months before filming there wrapped up.
    • And finally, Bondarchuk suffered several major heart attacks during production. Two of them rendered him clinically dead for a few minutes.
  • Uncredited Role: Famed thespian Robert Stephens makes his film debut in the 1956 version as a Russian officer.
  • What Could Have Been: In the 1956 film, Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando were both offered the role of Pierre. Clift turned it down over a pay dispute, and Brando rejected it because he disliked Audrey Hepburn. King Vidor wanted either Paul Scofield or Peter Ustinov, but Dino De Laurentiis shot both choices down because they weren't considered marketable enough.
  • Wag the Director: In perhaps the most egregious usage of the trope in history, it's been rumored that Ivan Pyryev, a veteran Soviet director, was passed over for the younger and non-CPSU member Sergei Bondarchuk, was because of the former's political enemies.
  • Working Title:
    • Some sources say Tolstoy used "All's Well That Ends Well".
    • The first installment, when the book was published in serialized form, was titled "The Year 1805".
    • Unlike what was said in Seinfeld, however, "War, Whai Is It Good For?" was never considered as a title for the book, much less did it change Tolstoy's mistress didn't like it or inspire the title for the song.
  • Rubles, as the unit of currency, come up quite often in the book. In 1805 — the year the opening events in the book take place — a ruble was a silver coin roughly the size of a half dollar, with a net silver content of 18 grams (0.58 Troy ounces). That would make it worth a little under US$10 in 2018 money. Compare this with the modern Russian ruble, which is worth one-and-a-half cents.


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