September 13, 2004

Audrey, Anna and Distressed Velvet Blazers


Cinecultist sacrificed our Sunday afternoon to Turner Classic Movies, inadvertantly. We really intended to get out of the house before 6 pm, honest. It's just that Audrey Hepburn and Peter Fonda in King Vidor's War and Peace was on Turner Classic movies. And you may not know, that can take up a good 3 plus hours of your day if you're not careful.

CC read Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation of Anna Karenina two winter's ago and we've been eagerly anticipating their translation ofWar and Peace because they made Anna so accessible despite it's heft. We always wanted to be the kind of girl who loved Russian literature, it goes with the perfect ringlets and carrying off peasant skirts* with distressed velvet blazers while drinking strong tea fantasy that we sometimes wish we could indulge in. (See, look at us go, even without realizing it. Tolstoy almost begs to be referred to as "that author's work we read two winters ago. How pretentious. Blech.)

*Anyone with even a little bit of an ass know that peasants skirts are a bad, bad idea. Hence the fantasy.

TCM offers these lovely little factoids before the film that for the trivia minded are like delightful snacks. For instance, did you know that Henry Fonda wanted to play his part of Pierre in glasses, because he thought it made him look more intellectual, but producer Dino Di Laurentiis didn't approve? Hence, when Dino's on set, no glasses but when he's isn't there they are, all silver and twinkling. This amused CC to no end because poor Henry doesn't realize that he exudes dorky in his acting style so naturally, making his character a specky is entirely unnecessary. As the actor who brought us geeky snake doctor Hopsy from The Lady Eve and the squarest cowboy ever, Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine, he really doesn't need any props to achieve this affect.

Do we also need to mention that Audrey Hepburn is spritely and the most charming as young Natasha? We didn't think so either. Oh, and there's a Nino Rota score. Throw in a few ball scenes and some battle scenes and my friends, you have a Historical Epic like only the '50s can do it.

Posted by karen at September 13, 2004 8:30 AM