Wednesday, September 11, 2013

[Classic Movie] The Cherry Orchard

Thanks to my friend Maan Kawas, I could watch this movie via youtube. This is the old version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard movie adaptation; 1981 BBC video of four parts miniseries, directed by Richard Eyre, where Judi Dench plays beautifully as Madam Lubov Andreyevna Ranevsky.


This movie would not be as strong as it is without Judi Dench’s acting. She can play convincingly as Lubov; she is everything I can imagine about her. She can pull out the emotion very well. In short, Judi Dench is the center of the stage whenever she is on it. What’s more interesting is that about twenty years before, Judi Dench has also played in another The Cherry Orchard movie version, but at that time she played as Anya.

Lopakhin is also quite convincing here; as a slave boy who has been climbing as a successful businessman, and who—deep in his heart—always keep his ambition to ‘beat’ his ex master. Bill Paterson plays well the cunning Lopakhin. But I think his gesture when announcing that he is the new owner of the house is a bit overacting. It might be good on stage, but in the movie I feel it doesn’t fit the whole scene.

I think Frances Low is too old to be Dunyasha. Is she really that older from Yasha?

Story and Plot

As with most of BBC classics miniseries, the plot of this one is following the book’s very precisely, so, no complain about that.

Setting and Costumes

One thing that is less satisfying from this movie is the setting. It seems that BBC is quite confused whether they’d make The Cherry Orchard into a movie or perform it on stage. The house is OK, but the garden (or is it actually part of the cherry orchard?) is too plain. I know it is a bit difficult to perform it outdoor; it is OK to have a set decorated as an outdoor, but you must decorate it such to look like real. And it would be great if we can take a glimpse of the cherry tree, if not the whole orchard, at least the tree(s).

Just like the plot and setting, the costumes follow the book precisely. My favorite is Lubov’s, they make Judy looks elegant (but I think it’s more of Judy’s, not the costumes :D). Anya’s is a bit old fashion for her character, but considering how she’s changed her mind about the cherry orchard after conversing with Trofimov, I think it makes sense that she dresses plainly, leaving the glamour behind.

Overall, I rated this adaptation 7 to 10.

The movie on youtube (1st of 4 videos)


I watched this for Books Into Movies Monthly Meme #7


  1. Thanks Fanda! I really loved the movie so much, especially after the reading of the play. Judi Dench is really a great actress. However, I'm looking forward to reading Chekhove's Seagull with you some time..

    1. Haha....I am thinking of allowing myself to read plays between books I've planned for next year. I'll let you know when I'd like to read Seagull ;)


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