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Vanya on 42nd Street (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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New documentary featuring interviews with Andre Gregory and cast
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Steven Vineberg and more
Top Customer Reviews
What struck me on my recent viewing of the film was how timeless Checkhov's story really is. Like Jane Austen, he has a great ability to find the universal in the pettiness of highly-controlled domestic life. In comparing Mamet's rendering with Paul Schmidt's excellent recent translation, it seems Mamet did a good job of crafting speakable lines. He modernized the play without wrenching it from its original time or setting. Since the performance we see is a final run-through, not a dress rehearsal, we receive no visual clues as to when the play within the movie actually begins.Read more ›
I was amazed by what I saw. A group of performers (Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, George Gaynes, et al.) performing a classic Russian play in front of a small group of people, including the play's director, Andre Gregory. It looks like the group is really just rehearsing the play in their normal clothes, in an abandoned theater with minimal props. But NO! That's the actual performance they did! And by doing "Uncle Vanya" in this way, one can picture the events occuring any time, any place. I was astounded.
The biggest surprise to me was Wallace Shawn. Before I had seen him with recurring roles in "Murphy Brown" and "Star Trek: DS9," with my favorite performance as Vizzini in "The Princess Bride." Wallace Shawn as Vanya totally surprised me, and completely changed my perception of him as an actor.
I honestly believe that this film started me on a different path as to what films I watch now. I cannot recommend it enough.
By means of this film, you can be one these friends, watching actors high in their craft perform one of Chekov's most challenging plays. The performance is compelling, the lighting and cinematography superb, and the entire concept brilliant.
I confess some predisposition to liking this film- I watched "My Dinner with Andre" fifteen times, and eagerly consumed Spaulding Grey's "Swimming to Cambodia", but on the other side, I saw a college performance of Uncle Vanya and considered it to be the worst play I had ever seen in my life.
Boy, was I wrong! This play is stunning. I highly urge your purchase of the video: here in Kauai, where there are so many other distractions, the two of us sat transfixed. You can even participate in the little refreshment break the actors have after Act II. A wonderful production, highly recommended!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is magnificent, even better than I remember. You forget that Wally Shawn can act like this -- what a curdled, potent character. (Where has he been? Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sparky Malone
A classic! I had forgotten how great Julianne Moore is in this. The "Making of" doc is great too.Published 9 months ago by David Johann
I enjoyed watching this. I know the play quite well so I think they missed a lot, especially what should have been the chemistry between Astrov and Yelena in the map scene. Read morePublished 12 months ago by POGorman
This is one of the best films I have ever seen! The subtle depth of Checkov is present more in this adaptation than any other I have seen. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Christopher D. Arrigo
You would think watching Wally Shawn talk for almost two hours would be a bore, but it's not! I could watch this once a month!Published 15 months ago by Lisa R. DC