Uncle Vanya is a 1957 American film adaptation of the play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov. Filmed concurrently with an Off Broadway production, it was both co-produced and co-directed by actor Franchot Tone, who starred as Dr. Astroff. Tone's wife at the time, Dolores Dorn-Heft, co-starred as Elena Andreevna, appearing in the only role not featuring an actor from the stage version in New York, where the part was played by Signe Hasso.
After we got settled we continued working in “Uncle Vanya” for a time. One day Franchot asked me what I thought of his producing and directing “Uncle Vanya” as a movie. He said he wanted to get all the wonderful performances on film including his own which he felt was the best he’d ever done. “Where would we do it?” I asked, very excited at the idea. “Right here in New York. I’ve inquired about a studio on Staten Island. We could do the play at night and the movie in the daytime.” And so we did the movie over a period of a month. It was not easy for any of us but it was much harder for Franchot. He had put his own money into it against his financial advisor’s advice and the expenses kept mounting up eventually to the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The film finally opened at the Baronet Theater on the Upper East Side to respectable but not rave reviews. And not good enough for him to make his money back. All the performances got good reviews but he was singled out. I was happy because he’d worked so hard and his performance was outstanding. Franchot decided to submit the movie to ‘The San Francisco International Film Festival.’ Our film didn’t get ‘Best Film’ but I hoped for Franchot to get ‘Best Actor’. He didn’t, they gave it to a German actor. I was shocked when they announced me as ‘Best Actress.’ I didn’t know what to say as I accepted the award. So all I said was “Thank you.” It seemed to me so unfair that Franchot’s performance didn’t get recognized.