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Author Topic: Waterloo  (Read 8384 times)
boardwalk_angel
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« on: April 29, 2006, 06:57:44 AM »

I watched Waterloo (1970) last night. Filmed in the Ukraine....it starts with Napoleon's exile..& continues through the French defeat at Waterloo.
I was thoroughly impressed and very entertained.
First of all..what a cast.........--------->

Rod Steiger ....  Napoleon Bonaparte
Christopher Plummer ....  Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
Orson Welles ....  King Louis XVIII
Jack Hawkins ....  Gen. Sir Thomas Picton
Virginia McKenna ....  Duchess of Richmond
Dan O'Herlihy ....  Marshal Michel Ney
Rupert Davies ....  Lord Gordon
Philippe Forquet ....  Le Bedoyere
Gianni Garko ....  Gen. Drouot
Ivo Garrani ....  Marshal Soult
Ian Ogilvy ....  William De Lancey
Michael Wilding ....  Sir William Ponsonby

Steiger did this movie right before "Duck You Sucker".....& he was brilliant. Christopher Plummer's portayal as Wellington was a great bit of acting. Garko...as the French artillery specialist General Drouot...had a smaller role...but it was nice to see him and hear his real voice in English.
The battle scenes were exceptional...and have been referred to in reviews I've read as historically accurate.
Music by Nino Rota.......the stunt coordinator was SW veteran actor Franco Fantasia.
Well worth your time...good one.


 

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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2006, 09:39:59 AM »

i'm with you on this one angel. its an epic masterpiece

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Banjo
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2006, 11:55:04 AM »

Damn Gianni Garko was in this-i shudda watched this last Xmas!

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2006, 01:02:09 PM »

I was one of the few people who actually went to see it at the cinema when it first came out. I was crazy about the Napoleonic era, and pestered my dad into taking me (I was only 7 or 8, I think). I loved every second of it as a kid.

The film was a box office disaster though, sending Dino Di Laurentiis into another of his fabled financial meltdowns, and pursuaded Kubrick to abandon his own, long planned NAPOLEON. While the film is fairly historically accurate, it does perpetuate some myths. The French Cuirassiers, f'r instance, did not go plunging down a steep hidden bank, this was made up by Victor Hugo as a (memorable) scene in his novel LES MISERABLES. The duchess of Richmond's ball before the battle was not in a glittering ball room either, but a large barn.

These days though, I have very mixed feelings about the film. I'll always hold a certain rosey nostalghic regard for some of it, but it has many glaring problems, not least the script. The dialogue (when not directly taken from historically factual sources) is awful. Steiger has to say things like "Wellington. Wellington, Wellington, Wellington. Why is it always Wellington?", and falls back on his old trick of delivering a line in a whisper, only to suddenly shout it with. exaggerated. punctuation. and pull a goggle eyed face at the end of it.

Also, the battle takes an absolute age to start. Far too much of the film is taken up with leaden and portentious preliminaries, which so pad out the running time that huge chunks feel as though they are missing from the action scenes. Indeed the film jumps straight from 2pm to 4pm at one point of the battle. In the battle itself, Soviet director Sergei Bondarchuk attempts suddenly to show the madness of war by using various disorienting techniques he pioneered on his Russian version of WAR AND PEACE, but they feel oddly out of place here (irritating even).

Similarly, his sudden use of slow motion during the Scots Grey's charge seems random, and merely halts the action to no good purpose. The fact that all the extras were from the Red Army doesn't really help either, as they just don't physically look right for a "British" or "French" army, but that's a petty niggle. The film's real pleasures are from the sheer scale of the thing, pre-CGI, when huge bodies of men were still needed for this kind of film making. My tattered old press book from that day out to the movies is still a treasured posession, and I regret not making the effort to meet Sergei Bondarchuk when I lived in Moscow. He was still head of Mosfilm Studio, and sadly died a few months after I left Russia. His beautiful daughter Natalia starred in Tarkovsky's SOLARIS.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2006, 06:00:11 PM by Juan Miranda » Logged

cigar joe
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2006, 07:04:07 PM »

Quote
I was one of the few people who actually went to see it at the cinema when it first came out. I was crazy about the Napoleonic era, and pestered my dad into taking me (I was only 7 or 8, I think). I loved every second of it as a kid.


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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2006, 07:27:28 PM »

Nice to hear someone else had similar experiences with this film. I too was into the Napoleonic era in a big way and saw it about three times in the cinema...i also have the colour brochure and a smaller tie-in book about the battle that had some photos from the film. I know a lot of people find it too plodding and the battle too long but i have seen listings giving the Russian version at 3 hours or more [i'll have to check] which could account for the jumps you mention. I have always liked the Scots Greys charge actually but i agree the dialogue is not great, the characters do appear lifeless.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2006, 07:52:52 PM »

I know a lot of people find it too plodding and the battle too long but i have seen listings giving the Russian version at 3 hours or more [i'll have to check] which could account for the jumps you mention.
Wow, I find the pre-battle sequences too long, and the battle itself too short. I'd love to see a longer Soviet version. I didn't know there was such a thing before now.

The battle lasted from 11.30 until just before dark on Sunday June 18th, 1815, and is almost begging for a moment by moment recreation. If I had a time machine, it's the first place I'd go for a look.

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boardwalk_angel
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2006, 08:30:12 PM »

 From what I understand..the rough cut of the film was 4 hours long - the original idea was to present it in a Road Show format....I'm guessing w/ Prelude..Intermission..reserved seats and the like. So it might have been a 3...3 &1/2 hour movie in this form, but the studio determined that the era of Road Shows had run its course..so it was cut to 132 minutes...a version of which is supposed to still exist...& later cut to just over 2 hours.
Surprising that it turned out as good as it did..after the butchering job it received.

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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2006, 05:37:24 AM »

Thats one movie i must see when its next on tv.Wonder if Steiger as Napolean will be as entertaining as Ian Holm in Terry Gilliams Time Bandits?

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Le Bon
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2006, 05:39:20 AM »

I find the1st hour build up a bit long too Juan rather than the battle. Great recreations of the battle though with those stunning aerial shots of the British squares  and Hougomont and La Haye Sainte.

Thanks for the info boardwalk_walk...didn't know about that, do you have any links for more info apart from the IMDB. It give the UK running time as 132 mins [the version i have always seen] and the US as 123 mins. I recently asked for some on the DVD Forums board but had no response.

Here is what's on the IMDB


According to an article written by the film's editor and associate producer Richard C. Meyer, the longest version is the 132 minute version. This has been confirmed by Vladimir Dorsal, the film's First Assistant and later the head of Mosfilm in Moscow. He says that they only have the 132m version in their vaults and no longer 4 hours version ever existed. The myth may derive from an earlier part of Meyer's article when he states that the rough cut was 4 hours long - not unusual for a film of this scope and scale. But after much discussion the present length was agreed on. He also says he stupidly didn't make a dupe of this rough cut, a usual process in post production. So this `cut' will never see the light of day. It is clear from the cast list that many characters were cut. The film was planned as a Road Show release but by 1970 the practice had lost favour with the studios. Columbia Pictures also shortened CROMWELL for the same reason

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Le Bon
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2006, 05:41:39 AM »

banjo...you jusy missed it. It was on C4 last tuesday afternoon!! Cry

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Banjo
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2006, 06:28:48 AM »

Oh no  Cry  ,i usually go through the tv guide with a fine tooth comb.Though saying that if you get the "Whats On Tv" guide they don't always review every single terrestrial movie as they have done before because i only just noticed last night from the Saturday page that Bandoleros(1968) with James Stewart was on-i haven't seen this so i don't know if its any good-this wasn't on the film reviews page Angry

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boardwalk_angel
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2006, 07:24:16 AM »

I find the1st hour build up a bit long too Juan rather than the battle. Great recreations of the battle though with those stunning aerial shots of the British squares  and Hougomont and La Haye Sainte.

 It give the UK running time as 132 mins [the version i have always seen] and the US as 123 mins. I


I watched the Columbia Tristar DVD.......on the back of the case it claims the time as 128 min....hence my thought that another 4 minutes was cut for the DVD.

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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2006, 08:00:06 AM »

if anyone sees rod steiger in 'the pawn broker' i would love to see that.

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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2006, 08:01:58 AM »

Quite a harrowing viewing experience-once was enough for me-but Steiger does excell here!

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