There was a point and time in history when Moscow on the Hudson was a very realistic lifestyle that many people had to live in order to get by. Defectors from the Soviet Union weren’t exactly rampant but they were making their way to the USA to live a better life and were being haunted by the lives they were leaving behind. Some of them did so out of necessity, while others did so simply because they wanted a chance at a better existence, and they wanted their families to share it with them. It’s hard to imagine when you live in a country that lets you do pretty much what you want from the day you’re born, but not having every last bit of freedom from day one has to be rough.
Americans are a bit spoiled that way.
10. Robin Williams learned everything he could about Russian customs and learned to speak the language fluently.
For about a year he spent five hours learning the Russian language and delving into their customs so that he could speak fluently and understand various things about the Russian people.
9. Williams also had to learn how to play the saxophone.
Apparently he reached a level of play that would take many students 2 years or more to accomplish in just months.
8. There was a real life Russian defector in the movie.
Saveliy Kramarov was a real-life defector in his time and came to America after being a movie star in Russia. He took on smaller parts and gained a greater measure of freedom, and ironically played a KGB agent.
7. The director’s grandfather was born in Russia.
Apparently he emigrated to the US and met his grandmother in the process. The couple met on a boat while making their way to their new home.
6. The director spent a year speaking with those that had emigrated from Russia.
For a movie like this is seems like a good idea to speak to anyone and everyone that might have an opinion and actually went through the process of defecting and emigrating from one country to another.
5. There were plans to make a sequel.
Unfortunately the director had seen that Williams was already getting to be a big star and didn’t know if he could afford him any longer. Plus he started to make a lot more excuses as to why it might not be possible.
4. The name of the film is now used by a real life store in Manhattan.
The store has its own website as well and you can check it out online. For those making their way from Russia to the US it’s like a small taste of home that might be comforting to them.
3. One of the movie posters had a very long preamble.
Normally the posters offer just a simple line or a couple of lines to give the general idea of the story.
2. A noted artist tried suing the film over the view one of its posters showed.
Saul Steinberg was successful in his lawsuit, claiming that the aerial view of the poster infringed on a copyrighted version of his own design.
1. There’s a scene in the movie showing a cinema that is playing another movie directed by the director this movie.
It’s a bit existential but it’s something that some directors seem to like to do.
The movie is worth taking a look at.
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