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For the Weekend: Waterloo

Walter Jon Williams: Waterloo: "Here we view the climactic scene from the 1970 film Waterloo...

...directed by the Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk, who I’ve always thought of as “Sergei Ponderous,” from his heavy-handed directorial style. (It was Bondarchuk who directed the 6 1/2 hour version of War and Peace, which I once viewed on a midnight-till-dawn showing in a London theater. If you survived the French invasion, you got champagne.) Bondarchuk was lucky enough to be able to borrow what seems to be the entire Yugoslav Army.... The sheer scale of the battle, with nearly 200,000 men (and a few women) clawing at each other on a very compact, muddy battlefield, so constricted that it’s hard to believe that any of those bullets missed... the sheer slaughter that produced 40-50,000 dead— the precise number is impossible to determine, because the French were so broken they never managed a head count afterwards:

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