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Anton Chekhov's The Seagull (Broadway Theatre Archive)

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This quintessential Chekhov drama--his first success--is both comic and tragic. A group of friends and relations gather at a country estate to see the first performance of an experimental play written and staged by the young man of the house, Konstantin (Frank Langella), an aspiring writer who dreams of bringing new forms to the theatre. Among the audience are Konstantin's self-centered mother, the actress Arkadina, and her lover, the novelist Trigorin. Their glamorous presence not only disrupts the performance, but also soon takes on a more profound significance for the lives of all those present.

Amazon.com

Anton Chekhov's The Seagull centers around impassioned would-be writer Konstantin (Frank Langella, Dracula), who hopes to write plays that will shatter what he sees as the clumsy, artificial constraints of theater. But his self-indulgent mother (Lee Grant, Shampoo), a famed actress, dismisses his efforts. Her lover (Kevin McCarthy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), a successful novelist, patronizes Konstantin and steals away the young man's beloved Nina (Blythe Danner, Meet the Parents). Chekhov is above all a poet of love--not the raptures of consummation, but the misery of love unrequited, misdirected, spurned, and abused. His eloquent tales of heartbreak have a phenomenal compassion for the weaknesses and flaws of human beings. This TV movie, based on the 1975 production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is intelligent and warm, with excellent performances from Langella, Danner, and Grant in particular. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Performer theatre and film credits
  • Historical liner notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Langella, Blythe Danner, Olympia Dukakis, Lee Grant, Kevin McCarthy
  • Directors: John J. Desmond
  • Writers: Anton Chekhov, Stark Young
  • Producers: David Griffiths, Jac Venza, Lindsay Law
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UQ7Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,406 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anton Chekhov's The Seagull (Broadway Theatre Archive)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on February 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The actress Blythe Danner is Gwyneth Paltrow's mother, and some of us think she could have been just as big a star. Here is one of her very best performances in this PBS version from the 1970's of Anton Chekhov's classic play, "The Seagull." She plays Nina, a country girl who falls in love with the dissolute novelist Trigorin (Kevin McCarthy). She is the very incarnation of innocence and happiness in the first three acts. She uses that throaty voice, enormous eyes and piercing sweetness to make us care deeply about the character. Then in act four she transforms herself into Trigorin's destroyed victim and the result is heartwrenching. A great performance by a sadly neglected great actress. This video is part of the "Broadway Theatre Archive", a collection of plays taped for PBS as part of their "Theatre in America" series. Every drams buff should seek them out.
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Format: VHS Tape
There really isn't a lot to compare this production to, as I don't know of any other filmed versions of "The Seagull" available. This is Checkov's third-most-often produced play, after "Uncle Vanya" and "The Cherry Orchard," though it is equally powerful, dramatically.
Actors and actresses run, rather than walk, to be cast in Checkov plays. It's easy to understand why, as he consistently wrote scripts that allow for character reinterpretation. His are also wonderfully cadenced lines, even in translation. His plays have depth and weight to them, even though the surface themes may appear ephemeral. "The Sea Gull" is no exception.
The reason I can't quite give this production four stars (but I would give it 4 1/2) boils down to personal tastes. I prefer my Checkov, as I prefer my Shakespeare, performed by British casts. Something about the training, and the innate ability to get at the essence of a character more convincingly. As American casts go, however, this one is nothing to sneeze at. A look at the roster will show you that these are all actors that have had a marked impact on the Broadway stage. This is a well staged, thoughtfully directed production, and is the best representation available to the home audience.
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By A Customer on March 13, 2002
Format: DVD
A dream cast doing one of the world's finest plays. A wonderful portrayal of the Russian aristocracy, in all their pomp and silliness, before the revolution. Each character is so self-centered that they aren't quite able to understand or have compassion for those around them, and, ultimately, that shortcoming brings tragedy. Does it sound grim? Not so. This production is rich with warmth and humor, and while each character is gravely flawed, the viewer can't help to love them all. The vivid acting of the film's amazing ensemble makes this production nearly jump off the screen. Treat yourself to this film. Its one you'll treasure.
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Format: DVD
"The Seagull", heavy on symbolism and thwarted love in Bohemian rural Russia...why should we care? Because the play shows so clearly so many ways that human beings fail themselves and others. . . so many ways love is leaned on, and then expires...from abuse, misuse, overuse. . . and not understanding the true nature of loving.

We should care because human beings still need lessons on love. Seeing "The Seagull" for me is a clarion call to loving just a little bit better.

--Janet Grace Riehl, author Sightlines: A Poet's Diary
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Format: DVD
I thought this was going to be some sort of artsy animal that you had to study and have a background in literature to extrapolate anything from the play. Well I was wrong. The only extraction is getting used to the characters at first because they are played by famous actors for example Frank Langella plays Konstantin Treplev, an idealistic young playwright and Blythe Danner plays Nina a young girl who's head will be turned by the novelist Trigorin played by Kevin McCarthy.

Soon you settle down and realize that this film has something to say about people and life and getting along with each other. It does not need to be interpreted and you find that even though the location is in a different place and time (Russia 1896), the people are the same people that you already know. The play moves a tad fast so you will need to re-watch it for all the nuances.

Hamlet / Kline, New York Shakespeare Festival (Broadway Theatre Archive)
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of my favorite PBS series from the 1970s! I am a fan of Frank Langella's and loved his theater-on-TV work from back then. He and Blythe Danner made an excellent acting team! An excellent production!
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This was a really great rendition of Chekov. As with "The Cherry Orchard", it is a filmed play, rather than a movie. As long as you watch it with that in mind, you will be happy. The acting is excellent.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
For a movie set so many decades ago I wasn't expecting much, but now I see what's the possible rave about it. It's beautifully done, and the acting was genuine. Even though it's about ordinary lives, it's made very interesting. Definitely worth a re-watch.
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