Following his successful stage-to-screen adaptations A View From the Bridge and Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Lumet turned his attention to Chekhov’s masterpiece of messy romantic triangles, filmed in Sweden with an all-star international cast. Simone Signoret is the grande dame Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina, who arrives at her brother’s country estate in the company of her lover, the suave novelist Trigorin (a superb James Mason). David Warner is Irina’s sensitive playwright son, Konstantin, who pines for the affections of beautiful neighbor Nina (the radiant Vanessa Redgrave), even as she grows closer to Trigorin. Lumet’s mastery with actors shines at every turn in this rarely screened gem. NOT ON DVD.
“Vanessa Redgrave is extraordinary-looking, and she is an extraordinary actress. As Nina, the young, inexperienced, comewhat pretentious country girl who wants to go on the stage, she is grave and girlish. It’s a great role, which she has also played on the stage, and, if anything, she almost too brilliant in it.”
—Pauline Kael, The New Yorker