Great Performances: Season 3, Episode 7

The Seagull (5 Jan. 1975)

TV Episode  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music
8.0
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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 ... See full summary »

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Title: The Seagull (05 Jan 1975)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Nina
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Pauline
George Ede ...
...
...
...
...
William Swetland ...
Sorin
...
Sheila Hickey
Tom Kaufman
Steve R. Lawson
Daniel Morris
Eileen Opatut
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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. Written by Anonymous

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filmed play | based on play | See All (2) »


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5 January 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Originally broadcast on Great Performances (1971). See more »

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Version of Måsen (1988) See more »

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Still the most memorable Nina I've seen
10 April 2001 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

Though it's been decades since I saw this TV production (on PBS), it stays in my mind because Blythe Danner's performance remains still the most memorable Nina I've seen (and that includes Vanessa Redgrave's performance in the film version directed by Sidney Lumet). Her poignant vivacity and despair were so sharply etched, and her devastation at the end was so piercing, I think it is one of the greatest performances I've seen, though I also remember Lee Grant's imperiousness as Arkadina (very much like her performances in THE LANDLORD and SHAMPOO). I wish that this version could be made available (rebroadcast on TV, perhaps on Bravo, or available on tape) so that I can see if my memory is correct.

(July 2014) A DVD of this production has been available through the Broadway Theatre Archive series for a while now; finally saw it and was surprised at how much i remembered of this production. It's especially fascinating to see many performers who would go onto different roles, such as Marian Mercer as Masha, the girl "in mourning for my life", she would go on to many roles in TV comedies. Or David Clennon, who would gain recognition for playing the snarky boss on THIRTYSOMETHING, here he's the schoolteacher who is hopelessly in love with Masha. But the cast is quite wonderful, and there are so many moments of great emotion, such as the moment when Sonia (played by Olympia Dukakis) grabs the hand of the doctor (played by Louis Zorich) and kisses it as a declaration of her devotion. And yes, Blythe Danner gives a superlative performance as Nina, and it remains one of the great performances in the American theater, and it's a real blessing that it has been preserved.


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