Louis Malle

Vanya on 42nd Street

Vanya on 42nd Street

In the early nineties, theater director André Gregory mounted a series of spare, private performances of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in a crumbling Manhattan playhouse. This experiment in pure theater—featuring a remarkable cast of actors, including Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, Brooke Smith, and George Gaynes—would have been lost to time had it not been captured on film, with subtle cinematic brilliance, by Louis Malle. Vanya on 42nd Street is as memorable and emotional a screen version of Chekhov’s masterpiece as one could ever hope to see. This film, which turned out to be Malle’s last, is a tribute to the playwright’s devastating work as well as to the creative process itself.

Film Info

  • Louis Malle
  • United States
  • 1994
  • 119 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.66:1
  • English
  • Spine #599

Special Features

  • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Declan Quinn, with uncompressed 2.0 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New documentary featuring interviews with André Gregory, the play’s director; actors Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Brooke Smith; and producer Fred Berner
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Steven Vineberg and a 1994 on-set report by film critic Amy Taubin

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films

André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films

Blu-Ray Box Set

3 Discs

$79.96

Collector's Set

André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films

André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films

DVD Box Set

5 Discs

$79.96

Special Features

  • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Declan Quinn, with uncompressed 2.0 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New documentary featuring interviews with André Gregory, the play’s director; actors Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Brooke Smith; and producer Fred Berner
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Steven Vineberg and a 1994 on-set report by film critic Amy Taubin

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Vanya on 42nd Street
Cast
André Gregory
Himself
Wallace Shawn
Uncle Vanya
Julianne Moore
Yelena
Larry Pine
Dr. Astrov
Brooke Smith
Sonya
George Gaynes
Serebryakov
Lynn Cohen
Maman
Phoebe Brand
Marina
Jerry Mayer
Waffles
Madhur Jaffrey
Mrs. Chao
Oren Moverman
Flip Innunu
Credits
Director
Louis Malle
Produced by
Fred Berner
Based on Uncle Vanya by
Anton Chekhov
Adapted by
David Mamet
Director of photography
Declan Quinn
Editor
Nancy Baker
Production designer
Eugene Lee
Sound recordist
Tod A. Maitland
Original music by
Joshua Redman

From The Current

André, Wally, and Fran
André, Wally, and Fran

For our release of A Master Builder, Jonathan Demme’s film of André Gregory and Wallace Shawn’s Henrik Ibsen adaptation, we turned to writer and New York culture maven Fran Lebowitz, a friend of Gregory and Shawn’s, to talk to the theater and …

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Three Reasons: Vanya on 42nd Street
Three Reasons: Vanya on 42nd Street

ption for the video could go here and be however long it needed to be, within reason, of course.

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Vanya on 42nd Street: An American Vanya
Vanya on 42nd Street: An American Vanya

In the long history of stage-to-screen translations, there’s never been anything quite like Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), an astonishing hybrid blurring the boundaries between theater and film, rehearsal and performance, actor and ch…

By Steven Vineberg

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Louis Malle in Connecticut

Repertory Picks

Louis Malle in Connecticut

Next Wednesday afternoon, as part of its Stage on Screen series, the Avon Theatre Film Center, in Stamford, Connecticut, presents one of cinema’s most intimate explorations of theatrical craft, Louis Malle’s 1994 swan song Vanya on 42nd Street. A…

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Annie Baker’s Top 10

Playwright Annie Baker won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her play The Flick, which is entirely set in a movie theater.


Filming Osmosis: A Conversation with Declan Quinn
Filming Osmosis: A Conversation with Declan Quinn

The cinematographer tells us how he and Louis Malle went about shooting Vanya on 42nd Street in a decrepit Manhattan theater.

By Sam Wasson

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Explore

Louis Malle

Director

Crime dramas, comedies, romances, tragedies, fantasies, documentaries, and, of course, coming-of-age stories­—director Louis Malle did it all. This most unpredictable and eclectic of filmmakers enriched cinema over a nearly forty-year career that took him from Jacques Cousteau’s watery depths (his first film was the Cousteau-codirected Oscar winner The Silent World) to the peripheries of the French New Wave (Zazie dans le métro, The Fire Within) to the vanguard of American moviemaking (My Dinner with André). Malle had an intellectually curious nature that led him to approach film from a variety of angles; he was as comfortable making minimalist works like the wordless Humain trop humain and the talky André as phantasmagorical ones like Black Moon. He is probably best known, though, for his deeply personal films about the terrors and confusions of childhood, such as Murmur of the Heart and Au revoir les enfants. Perhaps not as well-known is his parallel career as a master of the nonfiction form—one of his many documentary achievements was the seven-part Phantom India, which would be a stunning career centerpiece for anyone else; for this director, it was simply a fascinating side project. Malle died in 1995, shortly after directing his final film, the typically experimental Vanya on 42nd Street.