War & Peace (1972): episodes 11-12

Men of Destiny

Men of Destiny

Fouche, former chief of police in France, brings the Emperor a memorandum in which he explains why the French army should not invade Russia. However, Napoleon decides to ignore his advice and proceeds with the campaign against Russia, as planned. Meanwhile, Andrei goes to Bald Hills (his family home) to see once again his family before he rejoins the army. The Natasha issue comes up as a conversation topic and he confesses to his sister that he cannot forgive her. Moreover, it is crystal clear that his recent visit to Turkey have been due to the fact that Anatole was posted there and Andrei hoped to fight a duel.  Maria also tells him about Prince Bolkonsky’s shows a sudden interest in Mademoiselle Bourienne, who has been flirting with him in return. How could she stand the old goat was way beyond me. Andrei decides to broach the subject with the old Prince at dinner and he gets kicked of the house. Of course that awful old man blaims his daughter and she bears it like the saint she is. I seriously cannot stand Maria, but I always feel sorry for her and what she had to put up with living with that terible man. Andrei was always doing something away from home, while she had to put up with that controlling freak, who though that always knew better than everybody else and could not stand a different opinion. Can you balim her that sometimes she is as scared as a mouse? Angela Down is doing a really excellent job as Maria and she is seriously one of the best performances along with Anthony Hopkins.

Pierre keeps visiting Natasha and tries to cheer her up after the Anatole affair. She is sad and silent (thank god). I am not really sure if she is aware that Pierre is in love with her. It is kind of obvious but still I guess she could not have noticed it.

I do like the actor who plays Napoleon. I think that he has managed to portrait the character really well. He has Napoleon’s ingenious mind and he is an inspiring leader, so you can see why the French have actually followed him to the end of the world to fight another war. Plus the way his attitude has changed since we last saw him you can guess that he is destined to his doom. A really excellent performance!

Fortunes of War
Governor-General Rostopchin reads a proclamation from the Tsar. It states that the Russian army is ready to sacrifice all in defense of the country, but that he needs the financial support of rich merchants and the nobility. Moscow, Pierre, Count Rostov and Petya attend a meeting the meeting and Pierre has some serious doubts about the proclamations. However, he changes his mind and fids himself to have promised to raise an army for the Tsar, although he seriously doesn’t want too . Same old Pierre here, nothing has changed. First acts and then he wonder what happened!!!Meanwhile Petya is desperate to join up and he theatnes to leave his family if he is not allowed to do so. The Tsar himself arrives and thanks those gathered for their support.

Andrei sends a letter to his father saying how sorry he is that they split on such bad terms and warning them that the advancing French army is close to the estate. The old Prince (obviously) dismisses his son’s advice, because he, a recluse, knows better but Maria and Mademoiselle Bourienne begin to make plans to depart. Soon the Prince has a seizure while arguing with Maria and they all leave for Bogucharovo. Once there, he finally dies and Maria is deep in morning (bite me why?) and as a result he finds herself in danger when the peasants on the estate refuse to let her leave. They want to keep her there as ahostage to protect themselves in case something happens. I have to admit she stood up to them quite nicely. I didn’t expect it. Nikolai arrives at her house and he saves her from the peasants. It’s their first meeting and the doom of dear Sonya. If it wasn’t for the abominable way that Nikolai has treated Sonya there story could have been quite romantic, maybe a little clisse but still…

Nikolai & Maria



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