A Russian saxophonist visiting New York with a circus troupe suddenly decides to defect from the USSR during a shopping trip to a department store, but he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined.
A Russian circus visits the US. A clown wants to defect, but doesn't have the nerve. His saxophone playing friend however comes to the decision to defect in the middle of Bloomingdales. He is befriended by the black security guard and falls in love with the Italian immigrant from behind the perfume counter. We follow his life as he works his way through the American dream and tries to find work as a musician.Written by
Taking great care to create a feeling of reality and authenticity in the film, director Paul Mazursky set about finding the rest of his cast after the principals had been found. Through casting agents and then through Russian newspapers in New York and Munich, where all of the Moscow scenes were shot, Russian actors and actresses were found to fill the roles of Vladimir's family, the KGB, the Moscow circus performers, and extras and background artists. Nearly all of them became United States citizens who came to the US during the detente of the Carter Administration of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. See more »
Orlando and Vladimir's "Korean Cab Driver" speaks in Japanese after Orlando berates him for missing a turn. ("Gaijin urusai! Monku, monku!" - "Annoying foreigner! Complain! Complain!") See more »
french man on bus:
french man on bus:
Excuse me, sir. Does this bus go to the Lincoln Center?
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CBS edited 19 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »
Robin Williams became famous, I think, for his stand-up comedy, like his idol Jonathan Winters, but do you realize how many movies this guy has made over the years? He's really become quite a film star and is especially good playing against-type as a criminal or simply as a wacko (see "One Hour Photo?")
Anway, this was an early Robin Williams film in which he plays a Russian musician defecting to the United States. He ("Vladamir Ivanoff") first hides out in a big store in New York City before being taken in as an immigrant by a black guy (can you say PC?) Williams does an outstanding job speaking Russian, by the way, as opposed to most English-speaking actors.
There really isn't much of a plot here, just slices of life, if you will, some of it with the usual Liberal promiscuous (i.e. "I'm a liberated woman and if I stay the night, don't misinterpret that I want to get involved with you," the Italian tells the Russian. I can think of a few more accurate descriptions that the word "liberated.")
All in all, despite the premise and talents of Williams, this was only so-so. It kind of runs out of steam halfway through and it's hard to maintain interest in the final 40 percent of it. Actually, I like Williams better when he plays more serious roles like this although I'm not sure if he himself was ready to play it straight this early in his career. He's just too tempted in this film to produce comedy. He's a talented and very strange guy; this film reflects that.
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