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Anton Chekhov's The Duel

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In Anton Chekhov's The Duel, escalating animosity between two men with opposing philosophies of life is played out against the backdrop of a decaying seaside resort along the Black Sea coast. Laevsky is a dissaipated romantic given to gambling and flirtation. He has run off to the sea with the beautiful, emotionally empty, Nadya, another man's wife. Laevsky has now grown tired of her, but two obstacles block his route to escape: he is broke, and he faces the absolute enmity of Von Koren, an arrogant zoologist and former friend who can no longer tolerate Laevsky's irresponsibility. Soon Laevsky confronts Von Koren, accusing him of meddling in his affairs, but Von Koren maneuvers a criticism Lavesky makes of their mutual friend. Dr. Samoylenko, into a challenge to a duel. Utterly discombobulated and honor bound, Lavesky agrees to this absurdity-a duel it shall be! A duel as comically inadvertent as it is inevitable.

Review

"The Most Successful Literary adaptation I've seen since ....Lady Chatterley" --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Chekhov never offered a more tempting sample of sexual ripeness and Fiona Glascott, a young Irish actress, bites into the role with conviction". --Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"At the heart of this film which goes to the heart of Chekhov is deep understanding of human nature, human strength, and human need". --Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Andrew Scott, Fiona Glascott, Tobias Menzies
  • Directors: Dover Kosashvili
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Music Box Films Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2011
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004MV47WK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anton Chekhov's The Duel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
"The Duel" is one of the most complex and interesting short stories in Western literature: it takes on class, ethnicity, sexuality, Darwinism, Christianity, and subtle interpersonal topics like "generosity" and "self-interest" in the quietest and most subtle way. I read the story every year: second- best is seeing this film, which gets everything right and even adds just the right visuals to make its point. The acting, direction, and costumes are impeccable -- you will think yourself in late 19th-century Russia for days afterward. My only reservation is with the last 3 minutes, which obscure Chekhov's conclusions. See it now.
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Format: DVD
Sadly for me, The Duel is a film which looks good on the screen, but unfortunately is a badly directed adaptation of Anton Chekov's fine novella of the same name. The director, Dover Koshashvili, portrays Laevsky, the central character in the novella, as a nasty, brutish lout whose bizarre behavior is as unaccountable to the other characters in the film as it is to the viewer. He has left St. Petersburg for a small town on the Black Sea with another man's wife. He discovers that he does not love this woman, Nadya, and wants to leave her and return to St. Petersburg. He tries to borrow money from a local doctor, who in turn asks a zoologist, Van Koren, for the rubles. Van Koren hates Laevsky and tries to persuade the doctor to convince Laevsky to take Nadya with him when he leaves. When Laevsky comes to ask for the money, he insults the doctor and Van Koren uses this provocation to challenge Laevsky to fight a duel. Those that wish to see this film can discover the outcome of the duel for themselves.

As noted, director Koshashvili's mishandling and misunderstanding of the main character make it difficult for the viewer to make much sense of the story. All the other characters in the film have the same problem as the viewer; they watch Laevsky's antics with some astonishment, not knowing what to make of his behavior, and yet they tolerate him. Almost as confusing and equally unsatisfying is the treatment of Nadya, the woman who has left her husband for Laevsky. The director has little understanding of what motivates her as she interacts with Laevsky and the other characters in the film. In Chekov's novella, Nadya plays a small, but important role. In Koshasvili's film she is a central character and has many scenes unnecessary to the development of the story.
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Format: DVD
Great acting and direction, wonderful script, beautiful cinematography.
It's basically about two men, one of whom you admire and the other of whom
you dislike intensely. But could they change positions over time? There's
a lot of action, despite the source material; "Chekhov" so often signifies
something like "Nothing happens," but not here. And despite the English accents,
the film has a Russian feeling, perhaps because the director is from Georgia
(the Eastern European one, not the American). And Fiona Glascott has to be one
of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in a movie. A very rich experience.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
It seemed well cast and the environment was very scenic. This is supposed to be one of Chekhov's better short stories. I haven't read it yet to see how well the movie adheres to the story. When a movie is available, I like to watch it first to better visualize the characters.
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Format: DVD
Any adaptation from a much-loved work of literature is bound to disappoint, or puzzle, on certain levels. Some succeed and some fail miserably. This "interpretation" of Chekhov's novella is faithful, esthetic, respectful - perhaps almost too respectful to work as a film on its own, if the viewer has no prior knowledge of Chekhov's often strange and certainly vanished world. I do think this is a successful interpretation of Chekhov's intent, however; it is well-written, well-acted, and immaculately produced, with gorgeous scenery and music, and it renders well the atmosphere of the original. Not a film for anyone expecting "action" from the duel of the title, but certainly rewarding for those who are still looking for a visual poetry from the cinema, or a questioning of the human heart.
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Format: DVD
This film excellently captures the spirit of Anton Chekhov's short novel. It is sensitively directed with an eye for detail and has convincing performances by Andrew Scott and Fiona Glascott with a fine supporting cast. It has an intelligent script and is worth owning for the cinematography beautifully shot in Croatia with lush exteriors and interesting interiors. People say that Croatia has the look and feel of Eastern Europe before the world wars and its lovely haunting soundtrack is fitting as well. I resisted buying it for a few years after seeing it online and then felt that I just had to own it in my library so that I could watch it again and again. If you like Chekhov, you would probably like it. It has been a very satisfying purchase for me.
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Format: DVD
Thumbs up. If you're an Andrew Scott fan, you'll like this one. (It's so beyond Scott's other roles and he shows himself as a versatile, quality actor in this one. I'm not familiar with Chekhov at all but doesn't matter here. None of the story is obscure as you'd expect from a classic writer. The story was done more like a stage play but most frequently outdoors. More like a series of vignettes with the same characters. The cast did a good job to go with Scott's exceptional acting. The scenery in The Duel was worth watching if just for the sea scenes. I wanted so much to NE there. The costumes were not overwhelmingly period. I am SO glad they used their own British accents instead of trying to do Russian accents. It's worth watching more than once. (Now that Scott's won the BAFTA award, I'm hoping to see him in more movies!)
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