|Index||9 reviews in total|
A romantic Tragedy with comic elements, this underrated early Goldie
feature is set in Russia during the Cold War (a very serious and cynical
place). Goldie's conflicted character, Oktyabrina, appears mostly as a
young woman, beautiful but fickle. While she is very interested in older
men, there are also signs that she has been deeply hurt by them. Through
most of the movie she is a puzzle and a pain, especially to her co-star
Holbrook as Joe, an older American journalist), who has trouble seeing
through her carefree facade. What is wrong with her? Does she feel
Is she too jaded? Can she overcome her issues? Her behavior regarding
willingness to risk and sacrifice is both fascinating and informative. But
perhaps Soviet Russia is simply too brutal a place for love. Will Joe give
up on her?
A good 'chick flick', this film also has interesting Cold War elements such as "official truth" (pravda) and the relationships between Oktyabrina's men which lead me to rate it as a 'date movie' also. Definitely worth seeing, this love story breaks the stereotype, showing a woman running from intimacy. Simultaneously, it examines the timeless question 'if you can't feel innocent, how can you fall in love?'
When I saw this title on the TV didn’t know what to expect. Anthony Hopkins with Goldie Hawn and Hal Holbrook…It was enough for me so I decided to stay up (it was late at night) and watch it! I didn’t regret it. I saw Goldie Hawn in a role that I am not used seeing her in. Anthony Hopkins acting was really different from what I am used too and Hal Holbrook was great as well. The story was really crazy but decent and I didn’t find a lot of comic elements. It is about an American journalist falling in love with a Russian woman who was an outcast. It takes place in the Soviet Union and it has a really dramatic touch. Although it is a romantic film, I wouldn’t call it a chick flick. The story is really great and I hope that if you get a chance to see this one you will really like it.
I didn't know much about this when I picked it up. The fact that I haven't ever heard of a film before doesn't necessarily mean that it's poor, and I enjoy discovering the overlooked gems of recent time as well as older releases. Unfortunately, that approach can also lead to finding average nothings like this, that just happen to have landed talented actors. It is kind of funny to see Hopkins be so animated, I can't think of many other roles where that is so; he's usually so subtle and downplayed. And you can't help but fall for Hawn, she is so lively and fun. There are some reasonably developed characters that are mostly credible. The editing and cinematography are fine. This didn't grab me or particularly have me engaged at any point. Now, I realize that this was made before the wall fell... still, seriously, OK, we get it, Soviet Russia sucks, quit hammering it home. Several of these problems exist in America, too, y'know, like drinking merely to get through the day and being unhappy even though you supposedly have everything that you "should" ever want. This is a cheap and see-through piece of propaganda, and it actually loses all of its credibility, in spite of having strong points. The story has nothing new to offer. I recommend this solely to the biggest fans of those who appear in this. 5/10
Chicago journalist in Moscow, the American news correspondent to the Soviet Union, becomes smitten with a bubbly young woman who has an elderly benefactor but no working papers (she sells her body to make ends meet); it doesn't take much for him to convince her that capitalism suits her better than communism. Terrible vehicle for Goldie Hawn, who nevertheless was reportedly quite proud of this misbegotten romantic drama, adapted from the book by George Feifer. Hawn, speaking (and singing!) with a wobbly Russian accent, is still easier to take than Hal Holbrook, more cranky and nasal than usual. Anthony Hopkins shows them both up as Hawn's flamboyant friend, although there isn't much of a role there. Filmed in Vienna, the picture certainly looks good, but the characters are simply not engaging. *1/2 from ****
I just saw this film for the first time. While Goldie Hawn's Russian accent left a lot to be desired, I found this an entertaining story. Hal Holbrook was great, of course. I thought the Soviet background was fairly well presented of it's 1970's time period. While this was the "Cold War" period, one should not mistake this film for some spy vs. spy story. It is a love story set against the background of the Soviet Union. Some of Goldie's character motivation seem a bit odd at times, I will say. Perhaps another film where if one read the book, some of the character development details would be filled in and better understood. While one recommendation here for a similar story was, "Reds," I would say the 1980's film, "White Nights," with Gregory Hines would be a much better comparison.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When a great actor performs, his performance may be so convincing that the audience may not recognize him. So it is with Anthony Hopkins and his character Kostya. His face is in front of you, but it's a few minutes before you realize it is Anthony Hopkins. For this performance alone you should watch the film. But, there's more... Goldie Hawn plays a serious character. Her eastern European accent is done well and her acting is impressive. The story begins with Joe (Hal Holbrook),a middle-aged journalist, who has won some literary awards and is currently working in Moscow for an American newspaper. His much missed ex-wife has recently died and there are a few things of hers in his apartment so he decides to sell them. He asks Kostya, a local friend and informal broker, to help sell her possessions. At this rummage sale is where our story gets moving. Oktyabrina (Goldie) is a young Russian woman who is in Moscow without papers. She is mysterious. She holds her friends at a distance while she flits around with her own mostly unknown agenda. Joe is immediately entranced. He finds out that a kindly Russian official (Gregoire Aslan) is seeing her. Though Kostya is "spoken for", he is Oktyabrina's friend and helps her from time to time. Though it ends sadly in a somewhat abrupt way, it is well worth watching. note: There is a Swedish DVD in widescreen. You must have a player capable of playing Region 2, PAL, discs of course. When you insert the disc into the player, pick a Scandinavian language to get to the main menu and then you can remove the subtitles.
The film is excellent. It invoked my personal associations of living in the USSR at the time shown in the film.At that time I was a so-called "refusenick', i.e. a person whose application for emigration was denied. One of my close friend, a lady whose name was Nadezhda (Nadya) Fradkova, was imprisoned for the same reason as Oktyabrina from the movie was: a so-called "parasitic" way of life. She was sentenced to two years in labor camps. It happened in December 1984 - 10 years after the film was released. At that time I was fighting the Soviets in the courtrooms and was able to acquire significant judicial knowledge. That knowledge helped me to fight for Nadya and to prove her innocence. In my own archive I keep original documents from the Soviets illustrating my fight for Nadya, the fight that occurred to be successful. Another association with the main character of the film, a very painful association, was a loss of my dear friend. She was allowed to emigrate, and I was doomed to fight for my freedom for the next 10 years. My best wishes to Goldie Hawn whose performance was above any praise. If I could only tell her my admiration with her performance along with my own history, the history which resembles so much the one of the film. I sorry only for seeing that film so late and only by accident. Mark Reznik. firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A love story based on a novel by George Feifer, The Girl From Petrovka
doesn't totally work but it doesn't totally fail either. The unfamiliar
backdrop of Cold War-era Moscow - where paranoia and secrecy could be
the difference between free life or a stint in a Siberian labour camp
adds something new and interesting to an otherwise familiar
'odd-couple' romance. The film benefits too from good performances,
especially Hal Holbrook as the male lead, Goldie Hawn as the female
lead, and Anthony Hopkins as a secretive wheeler-dealer who is a friend
to them both. There is a remarkable story about Hopkins' role in the
film which goes like this. When he learned he had got the part, he
spent a day trawling through the second-hand bookshops of London in
search of the original George Feifer novel which he wanted to read to
get a better idea of the character. His search proved unsuccessful so
he headed to the railway station to catch a train home
and there, on a
seat, lay a discarded copy of the very book he had been looking for.
More extraordinary still, when he opened it he discovered it had
Feifer's name inside, and was a personal copy the author had mislaid
some years earlier!
American journalist Joe (Hal Holbrook) is a correspondent in Russia during the Cold War. Mourning the recent death of his wife, he decides to sell her belongings and asks his friend Kostya (Anthony Hopkins) to help him find a buyer. While selling off the things at a sort of unofficial bric-a-brac sale, Joe meets beautiful and mysterious ballerina Oktyabrina (Goldie Hawn). Oktyabrina lives in Moscow illegally, without the necessary papers, and runs the continual risk of being captured and sent to a labour camp by the authorities. Despite this, she is a vivacious and free-spirited individual whose carefree breeziness quickly attracts Joe. Beneath the façade, though, her personality proves a conundrum outwardly warm yet privately stand- offish; eager to love yet simultaneously afraid of it. Eventually they do fall in love, but their relationship draws unwanted attention and leads to an unhappy outcome for the young ballerina.
Nicely scored by Henry Mancini and grandly shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, the film is pleasant fare despite its rather lowly critical reputation. Holbrook is more of a character-actor than a leading man, and certainly not your typical romantic lead nevertheless he is very good as the lonely and cynical reporter living in a place and a manner far removed from home. Hawn is surprisingly good too as the freewheeling ballerina, a rare serious role for her (complete with decent accent). Sometimes the script is a little hard to follow, especially since the ultra-secret and paperwork-obsessed aspect of Russian life depicted here altered dramatically when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War came to an end. One can't help but suspect some familiarity with the book - or, at least, a detailed grasp of communist policies and lifestyles at that time - might be necessary for the viewer to fully appreciate the finer points of several scenes. The film's downbeat climax certainly packs an emotional wallop, however and overall it provides a diverting couple of hours' viewing. A likable curiosity.
If you haven't seen this little gem of a film - and most people haven't - do yourself a favor and spend a couple of hours with stars Goldie Hawn, Hal Holbrook, and an up and coming young British stage actor named Anthony Hopkins. It's a terrific story, thoroughly engaging, and the performances (and Russian accents) are spot on. This is a wonderful movie, beautifully shot and directed in 1974 that holds up well with the passing of the years. It's a shame that more people haven't seen this one, as it really is something very special. It was adapted from a novel by journalist George Feifer, and Joe, the Holbrook character, may be seen as a thinly veiled version of the author himself. Don't miss this one.
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