The spectacle in War and Peace is not confined to the two battle sequences [in Part I]. In Natasha Rostova, there is a superbly staged and photographed ballroom scene, and a magnificent hunt, which comes to a brilliant climax as the hounds grapple with the wolf.
Lyudmila Savelyeva, the Leningrad ballerina who plays the part of Natasha, is an absolute find and a joy to behold. She’s a beauty, and she can act. All the fresh, impetuous eagerness of youth comes out in her performance, and it comes out naturally. There’s an incandescent glow whenever she’s on screen. Her dance of joy towards the end is as charming as it is sincere.
Another imposing performance comes from Vyacheslav Tikhonov as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. It is he who proposes to Natasha – a delicate and touching piece of filmmaking, truly in keeping with the character of the novel.