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Monday, August 30, 2010

Platonov (1971)

One of Anton Chekhov's earliest works and not published in his lifetime, PLATONOV is a rather grim comedy but intentionally so. A schoolmaster (Rex Harrison), despite having a faithful adoring wife, is also a scoundrel and a debauched roue whom women cannot resist. They positively throw themselves at him and he's too weak to resist. Alas, in the farcical last act, comedy and tragedy slam into each other. This production too often seems too low keyed as if they were playing a tragedy instead of a comedy. Fortunately, Harrison is at the center of things and the wonderful Sian Phillips, playing an impoverished aristocrat, tosses off her deadpan quips with just the right amount of bite. With Clive Revill, Georffrey Bayldon and Joanna Dunham.

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