War and Peace


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From the novel of the same name by Leo Tolstoy.

A story of upper-class Russian families during Napoleon’s campaign against Russia in 1805. People live, die, fall in love, you know how these things go.

I’ve run a book and movie discussion group for a couple of years now; the number of attendees was dwindling, and I could see that the group was not long for this world; still, two years is a good run for something like this. So when Mr. Otter and I went away all summer, I gave the group a choice of not reading anything while we were gone, and picking up when we came back, or having three months to read a book. And everyone voted to try a really long book…this one, in fact.

I actually took it on vacation, and read the requisite 50 pages, but after that I opted for more fast-moving fare. Mr. Otter had read it fairly recently, and a couple of other people in the group had either managed to read the whole thing or at least gotten through those 50 pages. We assembled, the four of us, and watched the THREE AND A HALF HOUR version made in 1956.

And…well. Audrey Hepburn was beautiful, and young Henry Fonda is always worth watching. The movie gave me enough of a framework for the book that I will definitely tackle it again in future; it’s always easier to read something like this if you kind of know where it’s going. And we all enjoy each other’s company.

But it was slooooow. We ended up msting it a bit, and yelling at the stupid things (like a child that is born but the audience doesn’t see him til he’s 6 years old, and the time shift is not mentioned…!) The ending was satisfying, and the second half of the movie was better than the first, just because more was happening…but it was LOOOONG. And SLOOOOOW.

And that was the end of the book and movie group; now we just get together once a month to watch a movie…

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