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Anton Chekhov Collection (Platonov/The Wood Demon/The Proposal/The Wedding/The Seagull/An Artist's Story/Uncle Vanya [1970 and 1991 versions]/Three Sisters/The Cherry Orchard [1962 and 1981 versions]) (2008)

Anthony Hopkins , Judi Dench , Oleg Efremov  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Anton Chekhov Collection (Platonov/The Wood Demon/The Proposal/The Wedding/The Seagull/An Artist's Story/Uncle Vanya [1970 and 1991 versions]/Three Sisters/The Cherry Orchard [1962 and 1981 versions]) + Henrik Ibsen Collection (Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / Little Eyolf / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder) + The Oscar Wilde Collection (The Importance of Being Earnest / The Picture of Dorian Gray / An Ideal Husband / Lady Windermere's Fan)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, Rex Harrison, Ian Holm
  • Directors: Oleg Efremov
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 1094 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013D8M4O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,232 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anton Chekhov Collection (Platonov/The Wood Demon/The Proposal/The Wedding/The Seagull/An Artist's Story/Uncle Vanya [1970 and 1991 versions]/Three Sisters/The Cherry Orchard [1962 and 1981 versions])" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Includes: 1) Platonov ('71) Play adapted from fragments of Chekhov's first full-length play, sometimes known as the "Play without a Name" or Fatherlessness." Platonov is a village schoolteacher whose high ideals and unflagging criticism of provincial life render him irresistable to the women he meets. With Rex Harrison, Sian Phillips and Clive Revill. 2) The Wood Demon Play adapted for TV with Ian Holm and Francesca Annis. It is Leo ZHELTUKHIN's birthday, and friends and neighbors are joining him for lunch. 3) The Proposal ('59) One-act play about the tendency of wealthy families to seek other wealthy families to increase their estates by encouraging marriages that made good economic sense. 4) The Wedding (61) Story adapted for TV. A bridegroom's plans to have a general attend his wedding ceremony backfire when the general turns out to be a "lowly" naval captain. 5) The Seagull ('78) Play adapted for TV in which a struggling writer Konstantin becomes enamored by a visiting young actress Nina. With Anthony Bate, Stephen Rea and Michael Gambon. 6) An Artist's Story ('74) A film adaptation of the Chekhov short story in which an artist bored with country life challenges a charity worker's ideals. With Patrick STEWART. 7) Uncle Vanya ('70) Play adapted for TV with Anthony Hopkins, Freddie Jones and Ann Bell. When your life has been spent supporting a distinguished relative, what do you do when he turns out to be not so distinguished after all? 8) Uncle Vanya ('91) Studio production of Chekov's wistful masterpiece with David WARNER as the retired prof whose return sets in motion a typically Chekovian comic tragedy of lost hopes, stifled passion and belighted ideas. With Ian Bannen, Ian Holm, Rachel Kempson and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. 9) The Three Sisters ('70) Play adapted for TV with Janet Suzman, Eileen Atkins and Michele Dotrice as the Prozorov sisters who dream of returning to Moscow after eleven years of living in a provinvcial Russian town. 10) The Cherry Orchard ('62) Madame Ranyevskaya returns to Russia after some years in Paris & finds that the family estate has gone to seed.Can the precious cherry orchard be saved from the axe? With John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft and Judi Dench. 11) The Cherry Orchard ('81) Sensing that revolution was about to put an end to privileged and protected ways of life, Chekhov wrote with sympathy for the complacent gentry, but also with excitement for the future. With Judi Dench, Bill Paterson and Timothy Spall.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Hits by a Master January 30, 2009
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I went through a period when I was studying Russian language in which I was tired of reading Chekhov. I regard this as a period of temperary madness which I am thankfully past. If asked, I would say that I am an unconditional fan.

One need not be familiar with Chekhov's work to appreciate this colleciton of plays staged by the BBC. It really does contain some gems. The most outstanding work on this collection, and it would be worth it if it had this play alone on it, is The Cherry Orchard with Judi Dench. All I can say is WOW! What a marvelous cast, this is the ideal version of this, the most Russian of all plays. Anyone who wishes to understand Russian society should first see this play and this version of the play. I am hoping that someday someone might do this play and set it in the "new Russia." It would require only a slight degree of updating. Rather than reflect on the end of serfdom, one can meditate on the end of the Soviet Union (it amounts to the same thing, really).

There are other plays in the collection. There is an excellent staging of Three Sisters (Janet Suzman is wonderful here), Uncle Vanya and the Seagull. All are very well done. There are few better ways to discover all the plays of Chekhov in such an easy and accessable manner. One can only look forward to further collections of classic dramatists from the BBC.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Vanyas ever in English May 5, 2009
By Tim
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I have not had time to go through this entire set, but have watched the included version of Uncle Vanya with Ken Jones as Vanya and a young Anthony Hopkins as the doctor. Jones is one of the best Vanyas I have seen; his histrionics are presented in a sustained crescendo that ends in a state of absolute meltdown. Vanya is a very difficult role since the actor must constantly ride this wave of emotion without blowing it. Jones is remarkable, so is Anthony Hopkins as Astrov and Jennifer Armitage as Sonja. There seem to be some minor liberties with the text but it all works well.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chekhov Plays October 19, 2010
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Though the term "tragicomedy" was not coined specifically to designate the plays of Anton Chekhov, he is nonetheless considered the father of that particular 20th century genre. Chekhov meant his three masterpieces - "Uncle Vanya," " The Three Sisters," and "The Cherry Orchard" - to be primarily farces; and had he been a lesser artist he would have succeeded. But, being one of the greatest playwrights of all time, he endowed his characters with such a depth and range of emotion that their plight could not help but be seen as the very stuff of tragedy; for even though they were largely responsible for their own plight, they were so inextricably caught up in a certain way of life that they lacked the psychological means of holding back its dissolution. And this sense of inevitable loss and failure, even of doom, is exquisitely captured in the adaptations presented in this boxset of DVD's.

Both "Uncle Vanya" and "The Cherry Orchard" are rendered in two separate versions; and in each the later version seems to better portray the illusions, deceptions and manipulations essential to the characters' lives. There is more of the farcical in the two earlier versions - particularly evident in the John Gielgud adaptation of "The Cherry Orchard": it's even called "A Comedy by Anton Chekhov." Judi Dench appears in both versions of "The Cherry Orchard"; in the earlier version as the daughter of the leading character, and in the later version as the mother herself. And as great as she is as Madame Ranevsky. - even greater than Peggy Ashcroft; she pales as Anya, the daughter, next to Suzanne Burden's Anya in the later version. Even John Gielgud's Leonid takes a back seat to Frederic Treves'.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MARVELLOUS! October 13, 2008
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THIS IS A MARVELLOUS COLLECTION OF GREAT THEATRE. I WISH I HAD THE CHANCE TO STIMULATE THE BBC TO PRODUCE MORE OF THESE COLLECTIONS. I AM SURE THEY HAVE A LOT OF EXCELLENT STRAIGHT PLAYS TO BE OFFERED, SO I HOPE ....AND LET ME KEEP MY FINGERS CROSSED.
ERNESTO OPPICELLI - VIA CERTOSA 1A 3 - 16159 GENOVA CERTOSA/ITALY
zeller@alice.it
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28 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sabotaged by low production values April 6, 2010
The other reviews of this collection are quite favorable. Because of them, I quite looked forward to watching these films versions of Chekhov's --- I've read the plays but haven't had the opportunity to see them on stage so this seemed a way to do it on the cheap --- but a little less than halfway through the series, I found myself being unable to justify the time commitment necessary to finish. There are several things reasons for this reaction.

First, the plays, I'm afraid, just look bad. I don't know much about the history of film technology but there's something 'off' about the look of the shows that is typical of the 1970s and 1980s television. Colors aren't quite right and I couldn't suspend disbelief and imagine myself in nineteenth-century Russia. I kept thinking, "I'm watching something made in the 1980s. I'm watching something made in the 1980s. . ." So if you're a very visual person and associate DVDs with gorgeousness, consider yourself warned: there's a reason why you get so many plays for fifty bucks. (And in Platonov there's visible deterioration of the film at one point.)

The second reason I found myself abandoning this series is there's a second kind of low quality, a kind you can accept in live performances but not in film productions. Specifically, there's a disconnectedness that comes from having too small a budget to get all the details right. So characters complain about the heat but don't look hot, a fireworks display looks canned, etc.

Third, the acting is erratic and that is lethal when it comes to Chekhov. So many of his characters are bored out their minds because they want the excitement of the city but for various reasons are trapped on rural estates.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable collection
superb
Chekov's depiction of human behavior and attitudes still valid . Rex Harrison and Zoe Caldwell in Plitonov and The Seagull deliver remarkable performances as do Micheal... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr R W M Frater
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Record of Great Performances
I teach drama, so it's really nice when I can show the students how a script gets from "page to stage". Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joseph D. Millett
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey guys, it's Chekhov!
Chekhov is a bit like Shakespeare: no matter how poorly you perform him, you can't damage the beauty of his works, although in the early productions the Brits come close. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Paul The Greater
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Chekhov!
Oh, what delight in watching these plays! I never tire of viewing them over and over. Thank you for making it available.
Published 9 months ago by Vickie L. Neuman
3.0 out of 5 stars Anton Chekhov
This was an interesting collection. Not really what I expected. A bit slow for me.Thank you for shipping it so neatly and securely. I appreciate that.
Published 16 months ago by Diana M Chaplin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
I have admired this author since high school when we read and critiqued his works. Seeing the plays in this collection brought it all to the forefront for me. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Avid book reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Chekhov - DVD's
These DVD's are so well done. I also have James, Wilde, and several others. They give hours of entertainment and instruction. Read more
Published on November 27, 2011 by carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Anton Chekhov Collection
I received this as a Christmas gift from my adult son. It is very good. It was on my Wish List.
Published on January 11, 2011 by Anita M. H. S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for students
My acting students do a semester of the works of Chekhov. Like many performers some of them have trouble reading. Read more
Published on November 10, 2009 by Sherry Landrum
1.0 out of 5 stars The Anton Chekhov Collection
1. Love 1800s drama, but this was so slow, I haven't even finished it and I usually devour the BBC type of material.
Published on May 3, 2009 by G. Dodd
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