|Directed by|| Laurence Olivier |
|Produced by||John Goldstone|
|Screenplay by||Moura Budberg (trans.)|
|Based on|| Three Sisters (play) |
by Anton Chekhov
|Starring|| Alan Bates |
|Music by||William Walton|
|Edited by||Jack Harris|
|Distributed by|| British Lion Films (UK)|
American Film Theatre (US)
|2 November 1970 (UK)|
4 February 1974 (US)
Three Sisters is a 1970 British drama film starring Alan Bates, Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, based on the 1901 play by Anton Chekhov. Olivier also directed, with co-director John Sichel; it was the final feature film directed by Olivier. The film was based on a 1967 theatre production that Olivier had directed at the Royal National Theatre. Both the theatrical production and the film used the translation from the original Russian by Moura Budberg.The film was released in the U.S. in 1974 as part of the American Film Theatre. This was a series of thirteen film adaptations of stage plays shown to subscribers at about 500 movie theaters across the country.
The film was apparently not widely reviewed in either its 1970 British or its 1974 US releases. Following the US release, the prominent critic Judith Crist wrote, "Once again we are faced with a neither-film-nor-play production, but it is, in Moura Budberg's liberal but satisfying translation and under Olivier's semi-cinematic direction, one at very least to fascinate devotees of the play. ... Through several performances, in Geoffrey Unsworth's luscious cinematography (and I mean the adjective in praise of the uncluttered and naturally generated flow his work deserves), and in the pacing there is somehow a sensuality and a sexuality underlying the work that I had not hitherto felt."Molly Haskell wrote that the film "boasts in Joan Plowright's Masha the finest performance I have seen or ever hope to see of one of Chekhov's greatest women characters."
The film was first released as a region 1 DVD in 2004.A Blu-ray version was released in the US in 2017.
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Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, was an English actor and director who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, was one of a trinity of male actors who dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles.
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Rhinoceros was a 1960 production of Eugène Ionesco's surrealist play of the same name, which had been written the year before. It was the first English-language production of the play, starred future husband-and-wife team Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, and was directed by Orson Welles. Olivier also co-produced the play, which was Welles's last work as a theatre director.
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