What a positive delight of acting performances featuring James Mason, Vanessa Redgrave (near the start of her career), Simone Signoret, David Warner, and Denholm Elliott!
Wonderfully directed by the late great Sidney Lumet who brought so many plays to the silver screen in his long, distinguished career. Beautifully shot on location in pastoral Sweden using a house and lake setting. Well-rehearsed so that entire scenes are played out uncut with natural flowing continuity.
This is arguably Chekhov’s most powerful play with a near-perfect cast. A nihilistic 1896 (play debut)/1968 (movie version) knockout examining reality vs. dreams and illusions similar to Chekhov’s other classic plays. A would-be playwright and would-be actress are the central characters who influence all the other, mostly older, characters.
Chekhov, as usual, creates much conflict, characterization, and symbolism through short sentences and phrases. In Lumet’s skilled hands, the dialogue assumes an even more powerful influence.
One of the most successful cases ever of adaptation of a play to film (and the best, most memorable Chekhov movie adaptation), The Sea Gull speaks great truths about us all and how humans are often beguiled and frustrated in their idealism and dreaming. And, as always, Chekhov remains a master in presenting, developing, and arguing that central theme of human existence.