Monday, July 29, 2013
Dir: Sergey Bondarchuk.
I'd heard of this movie many times, but I'd never seen it. No television channel ever showed it where I've been living, despite the fact that I've seen 'Zulu' on terrestrial televsion at least four times (and twice on my computer). Since I'm not really into Napoleonic land battles, I haven't missed the film, but I have read once or twice, this was something worth watching, and after I'd watched 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World', the evening previously, I felt inclined to see 'Waterloo' when I chanced across the full film (and in reasonable quality) on You Tube.
Luckily I wasn't expecting miracles from a film made in 1970, so I merely chuckled at the actors doing their best to appear in character whilst on rocking horses with propane explosions going off behind them. Unfortunately the introspective tone of the film was not so funny, and I found myself rapidly losing interest every time the camera man fell asleep whilst watching Steiger struggle with a megalomaniac's inferiority complex. The film really sank when Plummer, playing Wellington, lapsed into the same timid voice overs.
The big battle, which dominates the second half of the movie, was rather disappointing too. The sheer number of extras (or cardboard cut outs) was impressive, but despite the odd innovative camera angle every now again, the action sequences had very little dynamic and appeared to rely almost totally on obscuring the picture with smoke rather than create a sense of ambience. When I consider this film with 'The Duellists', which was made seven years later with a much smaller cast, and probably a fraction of the budget, I can't but help thinking that here is a film in desperate need of a remake!