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Friday, April 19, 2013

The Proposal (1959)

A land owner (Harry Moore) in late 19th century Russia asks his neighbor (David Bird) for his daughter's (Anne Robson) hand in marriage. But before he can even make his proposal to her, they begin arguing about the ownership of a few acres separating their estates. This short filmed play is about as close as Anton Chekhov (based on his 1890 one act play A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL) got to writing a farce but as a farceur, he's no Georges Feydeau. It's an elongated one joke skit, reputedly even Chekhov didn't think much of it. Perhaps some actors more adept at farce might have punched up the rather wan material but the three actors here are hopelessly adrift playing broadly as if to the balcony rather than the camera. Curiously or perhaps not, no director is credited.

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