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"Waterloo film in HD" Topic

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Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 4:06 a.m. PST

Just to point out that British TV viewers have a chance to see (and record) Waterloo 1970 in HD. Trust me the improvement over the DVD is brilliant and there is no Blu-Ray.

On TCM HD today at 1215 ie just over an hour from now….but it is being repeated on that channel

Gazzola10 Mar 2019 4:23 a.m. PST


'improvement' ah, you mean the French win? LOL

I've got the DVD but will record it to see what the difference is.

Nice spot though.

14Bore10 Mar 2019 4:27 a.m. PST

Haven't seen that movie in over 25 years, not seeing it on here, shame as thought they would at least show it around the anniversary every year.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 7:02 a.m. PST

I have two DVDs of Waterloo, plus an earlier transmission in HD. Noticeably sharper and fortunately no advert breaks.

Improvement would be the day they find any lost scenes. They will not now though alas..

jedburgh10 Mar 2019 7:54 a.m. PST

Noticed that TCM in the UK is showing the restored version of Major Dundee – extra scenes and new soundtack – no Mitch Miller singalong.

Lord Hill10 Mar 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

The film that kicked it all off for me when I was a child. Watching it again as an adult…hmm.

I'm not saying the acting is wooden but one of the chairs in the background nearly stole several scenes.

Schogun Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 12:25 p.m. PST

Not TCM in the US… :-(

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 12:33 p.m. PST

Oh it is truly awful. I have only watched it 20-30 times

Imagine the facilities granted to old Sergei B. He is now gone to his reward and surely not in the level of Dante's Inferno that I once placed him. The French Cavalry charge (until it insanely speeds up), the march down to Hougomont with that marvellous tune, the departure of Louis XVIII (and the research that went into that few seconds)….Incredible

This film has its moments. Must be me, but I do think Steiger was absolutely fine as a sickly Boney. OK, very US accent but I think any attempt at a French accent would have been worse. I admit "sitting on his ass" was just one example where I cringe. Dan O'H as Ney was great. Chris P just plays the same part as he did in "Night of the Generals" as Rommel. See him standing in the staff car…almost the same lines as Waterloo. Not quite "Help yourselves boys, there's no fighter escort" but that will never be beaten. Almost makes me realise why some folks voted for you know what in that insane referendum.

I have often wondered what was cut, but, however hard I try, however many images I find not used in the 128 minutes, I think that twice the length would not be much better. Sergei B was an awful choice to direct this. See his W&P or Q Flows the D…mindnumbing. Wind, leaves blowing around, clouds, helicopter shots, self indulgent madness.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 2:22 p.m. PST

My DVD is great. The picture is crystal clear.

Dynaman878910 Mar 2019 3:22 p.m. PST

The finest film of men marching I've ever seen. Marching hither, marching yon, marching into battle and marching out. If you look quickly there is some fighting between the marching scenes.

Just did a quick look and found a youtube video that claims to be from the HD version and it at least appears to be higher resolution then DVD.

YouTube link

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 3:24 p.m. PST

It was the film that started my interest too, but I have to say, when I saw it on VHS 20 years ago, I thought it was really dire. Not the picture quality, but the complete incoherence of the storytelling. Nobody can have come away with any idea what happened.

I don't know why they shot it with mountains in the background. There is a place in Kent that looks like Waterloo.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2019 3:37 p.m. PST

It was all to do with the funding. A joint Italian USSR thing and it did help to have the Soviet Army to act as both infantry and cavalry. Mosfilm are still going it seems but insist they have nothing in their archives. Poor old Sergei has gone to his reward, so cannot be taken to task for what he did with the facilities he was granted. Many stories about the making of the film and his personal influence in what we now get…..

The DVDs are fine, but when you see the HD version, there is that slight, no it is significant, improvement. Bigger the screen, the more you see it.

alphus9911 Mar 2019 7:39 a.m. PST

Thanks @Dynaman8789 that's great!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 9:45 a.m. PST

That is a great find and a much sharper image than we are used to. The cut scenes alluded to are truly awful. I am still none the wiser about Steiger leaning over a fallen officer, but the script……needed cutting.

Still a great find though!

Tyler32611 Mar 2019 11:38 a.m. PST

Is TCM going to show it here in the USA?

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 12:24 p.m. PST

It would be so good to find an old full copy somewhere forgotten!

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 12:33 p.m. PST

I wish they would release it on blue ray and at the same time remove the old musket sounds and add new ones.
They literally used the same gunshot sounds that the used in western movies from the 40s and 50s.
They are horrible. It makes Waterloo sound like the gunfight at the OK Corral.
Seriously, it would super easy to change the musket and artillery sound effects.
And would improve the overall impression of the movie by severel thousand %.

14Bore11 Mar 2019 1:02 p.m. PST

Looked rest of the month on TCM schedule and didn't see it, but Logan's Run is on at 5:45 On the 27th

seneffe11 Mar 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

Good point about that small arms sounds!

It would be great to see a version with the Scots Greys' charge as originally filmed- with the missing intermediate scene of the Greys amongst fleeing infantrymen with the farmhouse in the background (no doubt carefully choreographed- though they were Soviet conscripts- so maybe not so careful….), which linked their famous slo-mo charge scene with the Lancers' counterattack. The footage was used in a 1970s Italian mini-series and is terrific- but I've never seen it as part of the proper film.

ConnaughtRanger15 Mar 2019 2:01 p.m. PST

For those in the UK there's a version available to download from the Sky Store (7.99) which is described as "HD Digital". It certainly looks better than my (several) DVD versions on an HD TV.

vlad4817 Mar 2019 10:11 p.m. PST

Here is an interesting option. Youtube currently features a very crisp version of Waterloo – with a handfull of short storyboard inserts based on scenes that were filmed but never cut.
The story is that after the film tested poorly it was simply cut down, with all the extra footage simply chucked away, as the did back then.
Search for Waterloo Fan Cut on youtube. This version shows the film would have included much more on Ligny and made events less choppy and easier to follow. A pity all the footage was lost.

14Bore18 Mar 2019 5:35 p.m. PST
Watched it all this evening, good quality I thought. It was nice seeing it after all this time being one of the movies ( W&P being the other) that got me into Nepoleonics.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2019 2:22 a.m. PST

Shame the battle scenes were so poor.

One minute we have d'Erlon marching towards the allied line, then suddenly it's "2pm Hougoumont", then we're back (unannounced) to d'Erlon. Next the Scots Greys charge along the edge of a a dirt track into empty space, with no ridge, hedge, Household cavalry, eagle of the 45th (or indeed French troops at all) anywhere to be seen.

The sound recording fails at this point but then we see some Guard lancers (incorrectly) counter-attacking as cans of petrol explode all around them.

The British troops are all Oirish to be sure to be sure, tanks a million and it's Booney's army ye'll be defeatin' today, begorrah. Grand. Their uniforms are inaccurate as are those of the Scots Greys.

Most odd.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2019 12:48 p.m. PST

I simply love any discussion of this film and where it went so wrong. It is just incredible with the resources granted that it ended up so poor…mostly.

Introduce some personalities beyond Wellington and Bonaparte. But no, like Tolstoy Bondarachuk saw this as just a clash of two personalities, with everyone else just pawns to their will.

Show the closing of the gates, taking of the eagles, drama of the ammo running out at LHS. Do not tell us about Good Beans Wellington, do not show us the classical Bondarachuk helicopter views (which are so badly done anyway), drop the closing sequence which never happened remotely.

It has its moments. The march down to Hougoumont, the French cavalry attacks on the squares (if you ignore the insane speeded up sequences), the final Guard assault with no CGI.

Old Sergei had a certain style. Impressionist almost, abstract, very self indulgent. He showed it in W&P and even more in Quiet Flows the Don. Madness to have chosen him to direct, but unavoidable if the Soviets were to provide the facilities. Somewhere in Dante's Inferno I trust he has found forgiveness and a higher level than I would have granted.

14Bore19 Mar 2019 1:47 p.m. PST

Oh there is plenty to pick apart now, but as a young kid the first time I saw it it was wide eyed spectacle.

ConnaughtRanger19 Mar 2019 2:04 p.m. PST

There might be lots wrong with it, but there's also lots right. As a 14 year old at the Odeon in Leeds, it was hugely impressive and spawned a life-long (so far!) interest in the period.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2019 1:06 a.m. PST

You can't blame the director.
It's not like Hollywood films had any better track record of staying true to history.
If it had been a purely Hollywood film. It would have been just as bad, but with much smaller battles.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2019 3:31 a.m. PST

Do we know who they used to represent the 92nd at the Duchess of Richmond's ball? Clearly not just supporting actors dressed up for the part.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

Good question. You'd need to check the credits as they roll, but they do express gratitude to the massed pipe band of the Gordons as I recall. (Something that did not exist in 1815…the massed pipers, not the Gordons….).

The moustache on the drum major is very 1970s military look.

Palace scenes are from near Naples and the same place appeared in Star wars and Anzio…trivia…..

Gazzola20 Mar 2019 11:32 a.m. PST

I recorded the film and have watched part of it up to where Wellington is stating where he will face Napoleon. In that scene I noticed he draws a circle around Waterloo on the map which what looks remarkably like a red felt tip pen? LOL
I could be wrong but I don't think they were available or even invented until long after 1815? Any thoughts on this anyone?

C M DODSON20 Mar 2019 11:37 a.m. PST

Hi, it's a red crayon.

Best wishes,


14Bore20 Mar 2019 11:47 a.m. PST

Watched this the other day, I'm sure it's a Sharpy he whips out.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 2:14 a.m. PST

Crayon. Bit like a pencil, only requires even less maintenance (ie sharpening). Writes on almost any surface, much more permanent as waxy (and of course both work in zero gravity as the USSR showed).

I liked Gunfreak's comment. Hadn't really thought about the implications of a Hollywood director. Would have meant many a big name US actor trying a British accent. de Lancey, played by Steve McQueen, could maybe have avoided that need.

The battle sequences have their moments and beat W&P Borodino and Austerlitz hands down.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 3:31 a.m. PST

Agree Hollywood would have poxed it up worse, but the alternative wasn't necessarily Hollywood. They could have asked Akira Kurosawa to direct it. And if he wasn't free, Kubrick. He did a pretty good job with battle scenes – Spartacus, Barry Lyndon.

Toshiro Mifune would have made a fantastic Napoleon.

NEY: I need more troops, your majesty.
NAPOLEON: Dooooooooooooooooooooooh!!!

I just won the thread, right there.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 4:24 a.m. PST

Kubrick wanted to do a movie about Napoleon, but then we would have gotten battles scenes like in Barry Lyndon.
How many minutes of battles are there in the 3.5 hours long Barry Lyndon? 2 or 3? maybe?

Nah, I think any other director would have minimized the battles, we might have gotten a few minutes of it.
And the fact is very very few directors cared about realism and history.

Look a Zulu, a great movie, but it is an adventure movie.

You have movies like the Longest Day and Brigade too far. were they did try within the limits of the time to do justice to history. But between 1960 and 1978, you had silly movies like the Alamo, Battle of the Bulge etc, where history was completely thrown out of the window.

Gazzola21 Mar 2019 9:37 a.m. PST

CM DODSON & deadhead

Crayon? Are you sure? Would using a crayon enable the user to write a thin and thick line in the way felt tip pens can? He draws the circle fairly quickly without any effort. Still love the film anyway.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 9:50 a.m. PST

I never ever thought I would say this, but I am beginning to think that old Sergei was better than many of his contemporaries after all. If you do compare Waterloo with say The Alamo, or any war film of the era, history did give way to what looked good on screen.

But then, all the individual dramatic bits were ignored in Waterloo. No closing the gates, no taking the eagle, no ammo running out at LHS, no Ompteda ordered to advance suicidally. Again it is the Tolstoy idea of history. Just two personalities facing each other with a few supporting servants of those two. It was one of many criticisms at the time. No human interest stories emerged. One Irish looter and that is it. The Imperial Guardsman was cut out.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 10:01 a.m. PST

That's a very good point about the Tolstoyisation, and it does explain a lot about what made it onto the screen. And yes, the dramatic moments are all missing. There's the charge of the Scots Greys but nothing explains what's going on, the advance of the Guard, and that's it.

Kurosawa would have shown the French heavy cavalry advancing from right to left across the screen and out of shot, then there'd be the sound of musketry, and then they'd come streaming back from left to right with a lot of empty saddles.

Trajanus21 Mar 2019 10:37 a.m. PST

I could have forgiven a lot more if there were not all those mountains in the background on the long shots.

They were bad enough before I went there myself but afterwards……….

Marc the plastics fan21 Mar 2019 12:19 p.m. PST

You guys are right of course, it was terrible, but luckily there have been so many better films since, like….



Er, hang on….

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 1:57 p.m. PST

@ Marc

Er…well, there's…er….


Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 2:04 p.m. PST

BBC's war and peace could have been great, but they went with the standard, close in shots of a few dozen men here and there.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2019 2:57 p.m. PST

Exactly…think of the facilities granted to Sergei B….compared with a BBC production. Poor old Vanity Fair tried its best, Uniforms were reasonable. The cuirassiers running up to the square of foot was bit optimistic,,,but they tried.

I love the Kurosawa version idea. Perfect. Now Tarantino or Scorcese…..

ConnaughtRanger21 Mar 2019 3:35 p.m. PST

"Hadn't really thought about the implications of a Hollywood director. Would have meant many a big name US actor trying a British accent. de Lancey, played by Steve McQueen, could maybe have avoided that need."
There would have been no Prussians – the USMC/Rangers/SEALs would have turned up to win the day.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2019 1:34 p.m. PST

Maybe Tony Richardson? He did a not half bad job with the battle scenes in Charge of the Light Brigade with much more slender resources than Bondurchuk had available.

Although, truth be told, it's not the battle scenes that make that movie great, it's Trevor Howard as Cardigan.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2019 3:33 p.m. PST

CotLB is grossly underrated I feel and I do agree.

Brief, generally cut, sequences show what a thoroughly unpleasant chap Nolan could be. Never seen at all sequences, eg the Heavy Brigade Charge (which was filmed and deleted), we can only weep for. The Alma is terrific even so.

Even the charge itself there are notable scenes, eg Cardigan amongst the Cossacks, well documented, but we can now only imagine. The film was handicapped by the antiwar era and the need for a daft love story, with no historic basis. A very good suggestion.

The Waterloo 1970 Italians went to Russia for funding and Soviet real troops, instead of this CGI idea (it could not possibly catch on…)

Gazzola23 Mar 2019 10:06 a.m. PST


I was unaware that the brilliant charge of the heavy brigade had been filmed but deleted from the Charge of the Light Brigade film. What were they thinking? And what a waste! But I suppose, like all historical films and dramas, I don't think many, if any, have been written, produced and directed by wargamers or military enthusiasts. Those few film makers etc that do or have produced historical films tend to favour entertainment for the masses and which usually concentrate mainly on one or two real or invented historical characters. With that in mind, we should really appreciate and be glad for little gems like the Sharpe and Hornblower series. We just need a Marbot series now. LOL
In terms of the Waterloo film, I just watched the rest of it and I had to laugh at the aerial scenes showing the French mass cavalry charges. Great shots but when you look closely you can clearly see allied troops in squares firing at non-existent targets, which means, had it been real, they would have hit their own men in the other squares. LOL
Still a great film though and one of my favourites. I use to like the Alamo with John Wayne until I discovered that the Mexicans had the smaller calibre artillery at the time in reality and not the other way around as depicted in the film. I now prefer the 2004 Alamo film that has Billy Bob Thorton playing Davy Crocker. If I am right, it correctly depicts the fall of the Alamo as happening fairly quickly. But just thinking about these three films (Waterloo, Charge of the Light Brigade, The Alamo) we really are starved of good historical and military films.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2019 11:05 a.m. PST

Oh it breaks your heart but the Heavy Brigade appears momentarily behind Lucan in the final cut (as below). Their attack was filmed though (again see below).



The second Alamo film is very true to the real events. Try reading "Flight from the Alamo", a warts and all account of the battle. Very brave men, but total amateurs, badly led, against professional soldiers…heroes of Texas who did of course inspire a legend. Bless them. But they were not 2nd Light KGL at LHS. The word is Texian causalities outnumbered Mexican and slave ownership is best ignored

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2019 11:07 a.m. PST

Oh it breaks your heart but the Heavy Brigade appear momentarily behind Lucan in the final cut (as below). Their attack was filmed though (again see below).



The second Alamo film is very true to the real events. Try reading "Flight from the Alamo", a warts and all account of the battle. Very brave men, but total amateurs, badly led, against professional soldiers…heroes of Texas who did of course inspire a legend. Bless them. But they were not 2nd Light KGL at LHS. The word is Texian causalities outnumbered Mexican and slave ownership is best ignored

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

I must apologise for the duplications. I must be doing summat wrong as it keeps happening…….

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