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Gorky Park (1983) Poster

(1983)

Trivia

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Gorky Park in this movie was not the real Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia but actually was portrayed by the Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki, Finland.
Helsinki stood in for Moscow in this movie. Because of the Cold War, Gorky Park could not be filmed on actual location in Moscow. The film group decided to come to Helsinki, the architecture of which is similar to Russian architecture.
The KGB Headquarters was played by the main building of the University of Helsinki in Finland and Moscow's Militia Headquarters was portrayed by the Helsinki Technical School.
Gorky Park aka Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure is an amusement park in Moscow, Russia and is named after Maxim Gorky. The park was opened in 1928 and is situated at Krymsky Val just near the Moskva River not far from the Park Kultury Metro Station.
Stars Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford were considered for the role of Arkady Renko which in the end was cast with actor William Hurt. Reportedly, Hoffman was unavailable, and producers Hawk Koch and Gene Kirkwood believed that Redford's image would be at odds with the public and the character of Renko, and as such, did not seek him for the film's lead male role.
Reportedly, the production was denied access for filming in Moscow, Russia.
Author Martin Cruz Smith conceived the idea for the faceless murders for his 'Gorky Park' novel in 1972 after he read a book called 'The Face Finder' by Mikhail Gerasimov. This book was about the reconstruction of faces from unidentifiable remains by scientists.
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The last third of Martin Cruz Smith's "Gorky Park" novel takes place in New York, USA but this was changed to Stockholm, Sweden for the movie as scriptwriter Dennis Potter didn't like it. Stockholm was more 'Cold War' cinematic.
The Irish Coffee Bar where Renko and the others discuss brandy and creme de menthe no longer exists but the Sheraton of course still stands at Tegelbacken.
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English actor Patrick Stewart auditioned for this picture.
Actress Joanna Pacula was recommended for the female lead by Roman Polanski who she was dating at the time. Pacula was living in Paris in France and was unable to return home to Poland with the declaration of martial law in her motherland there.
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For the filming location of Helsinki in Finland, prior to this movie, the last big Hollywood production filming there had been Warren Beatty and his production crew there for a month shooting Reds (1981).
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This movie was made and released two years after its source novel of the same title by writer Martin Cruz Smith was first published in 1981.
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Third last theatrical movie for Lee Marvin. Only Dog Day (1984) and The Delta Force (1986) would follow with a tv movie The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985).
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First Hollywood movie and first movie outside of home country Poland of Polish actress Joanna Pacula.
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The dish-washing liquid, a squat white bottle, green flat cap, on the kitchen counter in the flat in Gamla Stan Stockholm in Sweden is actually Timotei Shampoo which director Michael Apted thought looked more like dish-washing liquid than the real thing.
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Scottish audiences were very amused to see famous Scottish comedian Rikki Fulton turn up as a ruthless KGB agent.
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Veteran star Burt Lancaster was due to appear in the film in the part of Jack Osborne but had to withdraw due to illness and the role was cast with another veteran star Lee Marvin.
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Debut major theatrical feature film as an actor of actor and comedian Alexei Sayle who portrayed the character of Golodkin.
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Director Lindsay Anderson was offered the job of directing the picture. In the end, another Englishman, Michael Apted, was hired to direct.
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Alexander Knox and Ian Bannen who play the Soviet General and Prosecutor Iamskoy in Gorky Park (1983) also appeared previously together in the mini-series version of John le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), with Knox as the spy-master "Control" and Bannen as an agent sent on a mission into the East Bloc.
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This movie is both a cold war spy movie and a police procedural detective thriller.
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Actor William Hurt playing the Soviet militsiya officer character of Arkady Renko appears in every scene in this movie bar four of them.
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The next movie that William Hurt appeared in after this picture was Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) in which he won an Academy Award Best Actor Oscar.
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Most of the Russian characters are played by British actors, so the accent convention in this movie is that British accents are native Russians. This is why William Hurt speaks his part with a British accent, while Lee Marvin and Brian Dennehy speak naturally as their American characters.
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Polish actress Joanna Pacula received an 'introducing' credit.
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Producer Howard W. Koch said of the making of this movie whilst doing press for the picture: "We couldn't even get into Russia to film it and I can't say any of us were surprised. But that's what makes it so special. We're chalking up a first here. Nobody ever made a modern thriller like this set in Russia. It's just a pity they don't like us doing it." Koch added: "They kept telling us 'There's no crime or corruption in Moscow'. But it's like any urban city in the world, of course there's crime. They just don't tell anyone about it. That's what you get with a closed society."
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English Photoplay magazine reported that the location crew comprised of one Italian, a Spanish caterer, one Canadian, twenty Americans, thirty Finns, and forty British technicians.
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The Squeeze (1977) was the first ever cinema thriller movie directed by British director Michael Apted. Apted would later go on to direct several other thrillers such as Enigma (2001), Enough (2002), Blink (1993), Thunderheart (1992), Gorky Park (1983), Class Action (1991), Extreme Measures (1996) and The World Is Not Enough (1999).
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The glamorous elaborate bath house seen in the movie was actually a Swedish health center in Stockholm in Sweden and was apparently owned by pop group ABBA during the time of the making of this movie.
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This 1983 theatrical feature film is the first of two filmed production collaborations of actors Brian Dennehy and William Hurt who both co-starred thirty years later in The Challenger Disaster (2013)
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The Rolls Royce luxury car driven across from Tegelbacken to Gamla Stan, supposedly with Lee Marvin behind the wheel, was in fact driven by the Swedish co-producer, according to the press release at any rate, because having Marvin do it would have cost more. Marvin and William Hurt exit the vehicle right above the famous Five Small Houses restaurant and enter the foyer of a house rented for the occasion in Danderyd, a suburb north of Stockholm fifteen miles away.
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This major motion picture was made prior to 'glasnost' and 'perestroika'.
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Actress Tusse Silberg has said in interviews that huge chunks of her part playing Natasha were deleted from the final version.
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Producers Gene Kirkwood and Hawk Koch first sought the rights to Martin Cruz Smith's "Gorky Park" novel when it was still in galley form.
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Director Michael Apted after Gorky Park (1983) later directed such later espionage movies as Enigma (2001) and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999).
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Film Critic Janet Maslin in 'The New York Times' stated in her review first published on 16th December 1983 that the picture has "the leading character, a Russian police inspector [Soviet militsiya officer Arkady Renko], played by an American actor [William Hurt] affecting a British accent".
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Actress Tusse Silberg in the same year of release appeared as Maria Schulz in an episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983) entitled "The Last Journey" [See: Reilly: Ace of Spies: The Last Journey (1983)].
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Director Michael Apted said during principal photography: "Every time we see a stranger in a shiny raincoat standing on the fringe of the crowd, someone jumps and mutters KGB. But I think we'll be left alone. There's nothing they can do about it, and they're too smart to get into any kind of situation they can't control".
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Key personnel, such as director Michael Apted, costume designer Richard Bruno, production designer Paul Sylbert, and producer Hawk Koch, according to the Australian magazine Movie '84 (edition No. #1), "spent months researching every detail of Russian buildings, cars, uniforms, civilian clothes, hats, and even cigarettes, finally deciding on Helsinki in Finland as the substitute city for Moscow."
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Almost one hundred set locations in and around the environs of Helsinki in Finland were remodeled to replicate the former Soviet Union (USSR) for the making of this movie.
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Of the film's lead actor William Hurt, who plays Soviet militsiya officer Arkady Renko, producer Hawk Koch said: "Bill is playing this to the hilt. We're all amazed by his performance. He's very intense. And he's got himself right into the role. I think we chose right."
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The movie's screenplay did the rounds of the Hollywood film studios including M-G-M (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) and Dino De Laurentiis Productions before Orion Pictures agreed to green-light the picture. The January 1984 edition of Photoplay Magazine (UK) states: "At first none of the majors would finance it. A lesser company American Cinema, finally agreed. And then went bankrupt . . . Finally they [producers Hawk Koch and Gene Kirkwood] gained initial finance with two Los Angeles businessmen, Uri [Uri Harkham] and Efrem Harkham, who had never been involved in movies in their lives."
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Debut producing credit for both Uri Harkham and Efrem Harkham who acted as associate producers on this picture.
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According to the January 1984 edition of Photoplay Magazine (UK), during development, on a location recce, "early on, [producer Hawk] Koch [Hawk Koch] took a small advance guard in to that closed society [of the former Soviet Union aka the USSR] on innocent tourist visas to view Moscow in general and Gorky Park in particular - the equivalent of Central Park in New York, though around ten times smaller. Initial overtures to local film-makers on possible co-operation were swiftly repulsed. A dinner arranged in Koch's honour at the Moska Film Studios was cancelled without explanation just two hours after the Russians learned the true purpose of his mission impossible."
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The film's source "Gorky Park" (1981) by Martin Cruz Smith is the first book in a trilogy of stories which are all set in the former Soviet Union (aka the USSR aka the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The subsequent stories are "Polar Star" (1989) and "Red Square" (1992) neither of which have been filmed. All three books feature the character of investigator Arkady Renko who is portrayed in Gorky Park (1983) by actor William Hurt.
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Actress Joanna Pacula had her hair greased up and her eyebrows thickened for her role as the character of Irina Asanova in this movie.
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Actress Joanna Pacula has been so very much associated with her role as Irina Asanova in this murder mystery crime movie set in Russia behind the Red Curtain where three bodies are found in the icy snow, that Pacula has gone on to appear in productions with such related relevant titles as ICE Agent (2013), Deep Red (1994), Black Ice (1992), Moscow Heat (2004), and The Art of Murder (1999).
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The internal scenes of the Kremlin was actually the City Chambers in Glasgow.
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The central character iof Arkady Renko is a militsiya officer. "Militsiya" is an official term for a civilian police officer in many of the former communist states such as Soviet Russia (aka the USSR aka the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
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The film's source "Gorky Park" (1981) book is the first of eight novels written by Martin Cruz Smith that feature the character of investigator Arkady Renko who is portrayed in Gorky Park (1983) the film by actor William Hurt. The novels are [in chronological order]: "Gorky Park" (1981) ; "Polar Star" (1989) ; "Red Square" (1992) ; "Havana Bay" (1999) ; "Wolves Eat Dogs" (2004) ; "Stalin's Ghost" (2007) ; "Three Stations" (2010) ; and "Tatiana" (2013). All eight books are crime novels but only the first, "Gorky Park" (1981), has been filmed.
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The movie's source "Gorky Park' (1981) novel was a best-seller, won the Goldsboro Gold / Gold Dagger Award in 1981 for author Martin Cruz Smith awarded to him by the British Crime Writers' Association, and was described as the "first thriller of the '80s" by TIME magazine. The "Gorky Park" novel raced to the No. #1 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List on 26th April 26 1981 where it stayed for two weeks, dropping to the No. #2 rank and staying there for around two months.
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Many actresses auditioned and were interviewed for the female love interest role of Irina Asanova which in the end was cast with Polish actress Joanna Pacula.
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Second Martin Cruz Smith novel to be filmed. The first was Nightwing (1979) which had been made and released around four years earlier. To date [September 2016] , Gorky Park (1983) still remains the last Martin Cruz Smith novel that has been filmed despite the author having written many more novels.
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The synopsis for this film's source novel "Gorky Park" (1981) as published on source novelist Martin Cruz Smith's website reads: "'A man thinks he is hardened to death; he has walked into hot kitchens covered from floor to ceiling in blood, is an expert, knows that in the summer people seem ready to explode with blood; he even prefers winter's stiffs. Then a new death mask pops out of the snow. The chief investigator had never seen a head like this before; he thought he would never forget the sight. He didn't know yet that it was the central moment of his life'."
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The Russian authorities, in giving reasons for not allowing the film production to come to Moscow, claimed that no crime of the nature depicted in the book and film would ever take place on Russian soil.
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Director Michael Apted felt really compromised by the refusal of the Russian authorities to let him film in Moscow as he wanted to really make a big thing about the unusual locations. Instead he had to show Moscow at its most drab and ordinary as Helsinki was doubling for the city.
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William Hurt also appeared in The Big Chill (1983), directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who also wrote Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), which featured Ian McDiarmid.
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Orion Pictures studio executive Mike Medavoy approved both Michael Apted as the film's director and William Hurt as the movie's major star and lead actor.
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Both Gorky Park (1983) and Child 44 (2015) are movies that involve murder plots that occur in Soviet Russia behind the Iron Curtain. Both films are based on best-selling novels by Martin Cruz Smith and Tom Rob Smith respectively. The two source novelists also both share three-tiered author names which both have a last name surname of "SMITH". At least one crew member worked on both pictures and that was someone from the sound department - Christopher T. Welch - who performed a role of sound editor on both movies, doing ADR sound editing on the latter film. The two pictures were both made and released around thirty-two years apart.
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Show-business trade paper 'Variety' reported the production made "Helsinki stand in for Moscow, where they were denied access for filming".
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Both of the two theatrical feature films that starred actor William Hurt that first debuted in 1983, Gorky Park (1983) and The Big Chill (1983), related to coldness, as the murdered dead bodies in Gorky Park (1983) were found in its icy snow.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Director Michael Apted said of actor Lee Marvin's casting against type as Jack Osborne whilst doing press for the film: "Yes, a lot of people are surprised. In fact, they're in blank astonishment at the casting. They think I've gone bonkers. But I talked to people about him, and everyone who knew him said what an intelligent sophisticated man Lee really is. I felt he didn't have to play the cursing, swearing, stubble-chinned ex-Marine everyone knows. It's good to go against type-casting sometimes."
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Producer Hawk Koch said of the production of this film during the Cold War and four of its characters around the time of its launch: "You could call it the frozen mitt. We've tried to stay away from politics all along the line. We're making a people story. There's a good Russian and a bad Russian in it, right? Just as there's a good American and a bad American."
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