Someone had an idea: take an 1860s play by classic Russian writer Anton Chekhov, and get director Louis Malle, screenwriter David Mamet, and actors Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, together to make a feature film of it.

The only thing more puzzling than this scenario is the fact that this movie, Vanya on 42nd Street, is a fabulous film. "Uncle Vanya" is the play in question, a tragicomic tale of family members plagued by broken hearts, lost youth, and missed opportunities. The film's premise is that "Uncle Vanya" is being performed by a small theatrical group, and the film simply captures the last rehearsal of the play before the costumes arrive.

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