Gorky Park (1983)

R | 128 mins | Drama, Mystery | 16 December 1983

Director:

Michael Apted

Writer:

Dennis Potter

Cinematographer:

Ralf Bode

Editor:

Dennis Virkler

Production Designer:

Paul Sylbert

Production Company:

Kock/Kirkwood Productions
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HISTORY

On 29 Apr 1981, NYT announced that producers Gene Kirkwood and Howard W. Koch, Jr., purchased screen rights to Martin Cruz Smith’s bestseller Gorky Park (New York, 1981) for over $250,000, and John Schlesinger was hired to direct. Two months later, a 2 Jul 1981 DV news item stated the budget was set at $15 million, and principal photography was scheduled to take place in Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. By 14 Oct 1981, screenwriter Dennis Potter had completed a first draft of the adaptation, according to a DV article published that day. Koch/Kirkwood Productions was eager to start filming, but Schlesinger had scheduling conflicts with The Falcon and the Snowman (1985, see entry), and production was postponed.
       The project remained in limbo another year. During that time, a 14 Jul 1982 LAHExam article stated that the Soviet Union was protesting the production, claiming the novel promoted negative stereotypes of Russians and the Communist Party. Despite the controversy, Orion Pictures acquired distribution rights and Schlesinger was replaced by director Michael Apted, whose appointment was announced in a 6 Oct 1982 Var column.
       In the early stages of development, Al Pacino was under consideration for the leading role of “Arkady Renko,” according to an 11 Aug 1981 HR news item, but Dustin Hoffman was negotiating for the part by mid-Jan 1982, as noted in a 15 Jan 1982 HR brief. The casting of William Hurt was announced in the 30 Sep 1982 HR, which explained that Hoffman did not remain with ... More Less

On 29 Apr 1981, NYT announced that producers Gene Kirkwood and Howard W. Koch, Jr., purchased screen rights to Martin Cruz Smith’s bestseller Gorky Park (New York, 1981) for over $250,000, and John Schlesinger was hired to direct. Two months later, a 2 Jul 1981 DV news item stated the budget was set at $15 million, and principal photography was scheduled to take place in Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. By 14 Oct 1981, screenwriter Dennis Potter had completed a first draft of the adaptation, according to a DV article published that day. Koch/Kirkwood Productions was eager to start filming, but Schlesinger had scheduling conflicts with The Falcon and the Snowman (1985, see entry), and production was postponed.
       The project remained in limbo another year. During that time, a 14 Jul 1982 LAHExam article stated that the Soviet Union was protesting the production, claiming the novel promoted negative stereotypes of Russians and the Communist Party. Despite the controversy, Orion Pictures acquired distribution rights and Schlesinger was replaced by director Michael Apted, whose appointment was announced in a 6 Oct 1982 Var column.
       In the early stages of development, Al Pacino was under consideration for the leading role of “Arkady Renko,” according to an 11 Aug 1981 HR news item, but Dustin Hoffman was negotiating for the part by mid-Jan 1982, as noted in a 15 Jan 1982 HR brief. The casting of William Hurt was announced in the 30 Sep 1982 HR, which explained that Hoffman did not remain with the project because he required a $5 million salary. On 11 Oct 1982, LAHExam reported that Burt Lancaster was being recruited for the role of “Jack Osborne,” a part that had been turned down by Cary Grant, according to a 15 Nov 1982 LAExam column. At that time, director Roman Polanski was the filmmakers’ top choice for the role of a “menacing dwarf.” Neither Lancaster nor Polanski appeared in the film. The picture marked the American feature film debut of Polish actress Joana Pacula, whose casting was announced in a full-page advertisement in the 14 Dec 1982 DV.
       Principal photography began 14 Feb 1983 in Helsinki, Finland, as noted in a 23 Feb 1983 DV production chart. Filming also took place in Sweden. According to the film’s 13 Dec 1983 DV review, the Soviet Union prohibited shooting in Moscow.
       An 11 Oct 1996 Screen International news item reported that screenwriter Larry Gross was working on a film adaptation of Martin Cruz Smith’s Red Square (New York, 1992), the sequel to Gorky Park, for Engram Pictures. As of 16 Mar 2016, the sequel has not gone into production.
       End credits include: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Finnair an Eric Ahlstrand,” and, “The picture was filmed entirely on location in Finland and Sweden. The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the City of Helsinki and the City of Stockholm, without which this picture would not have been possible.”
       Electrician Ten Lindahl is credited as "Teld" Lindahl. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1981.
---
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1981.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1982.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1983.
---
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1983
p. 3, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1983
p. 3, 19.
LAHExam
14 Jul 1982.
---
LAHExam
11 Oct 1982.
---
LAHExam
15 Nov 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1983
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
29 Apr 1981.
---
New York Times
16 Dec 1983
p. 6.
Screen International
11 Oct 1996.
---
Variety
6 Oct 1982.
---
Variety
14 Dec 1983
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures release
A Koch/Kirkwood production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
Focus puller
Cam grip
Boom op
Elec
Elec
Arrilex® cams by
Lighting and grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Ed apprentice
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Set des asst
Set dressing buyer
Drapery
Standby props
Standby props
Standby props
Standby props
Standby props
Set dressing props
Set dressing props
Set dressing props
Set dressing props
Set dressing props
Set dressing props
Const mgr
Const mgr
Standby carpenter
Standby painter
Standby stagehand
Standby rigger
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Uniforms by
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd maintenance
VISUAL EFFECTS
Reconstruction by
Reconstruction by Eoin Sprott Studio, Asst by
Reconstruction by Eoin Sprott Studio, Asst by
Reconstruction by Eoin Sprott Studio, Asst by
Cadavers by Carl Fullerton Company, Asst by
Cadavers by Carl Fullerton Company, Asst by
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title and opt eff by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Tech adv
Press agent
Asst to Mr. Koch & Mr. Kirkwood
Asst to Mr. Apted
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Secy to Mr. Apted
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
New York casting
Clapper loader
Comptroller
Prod accountant
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Prod runner
Driver
Driver
Driver
Transport mgr
Picture car coord
Crowd casting
Catering
Financial services by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processing by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (New York, 1981).
SONGS
"It's So Easy," by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, published by MFL Communications, Inc., and Wren Music Co., Inc.
"Twist & Shout," by Bert Russell and Phil Medley, published by Screen Gems--EMI Music, Inc., and Unichappell Music, Inc.
"1812 Overture," by Peter Tchaikovsky
+
SONGS
"It's So Easy," by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, published by MFL Communications, Inc., and Wren Music Co., Inc.
"Twist & Shout," by Bert Russell and Phil Medley, published by Screen Gems--EMI Music, Inc., and Unichappell Music, Inc.
"1812 Overture," by Peter Tchaikovsky
"Swan Lake," by Peter Tchaikovsky.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 December 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1983
Production Date:
began 14 February 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Eagle Associates
Copyright Date:
14 May 1984
Copyright Number:
PA212966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
128
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27159
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Cold War Soviet Union, three mutilated bodies are discovered in Moscow’s Gorky Park. The skin on the victims’ faces and fingertips was stripped away to conceal their identities, and militsiya police officer Arkady Renko concludes the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union (KGB) is responsible for the executions. He grudgingly offers to turn the case over to his nemesis, Major Pribluda, but the corrupt KGB agent declines to accept responsibility for the investigation. Studying the victims’ clothes, Renko discovers the female is wearing ice skates that belong to a Siberian woman named Irina Asanova. When he tells Irina about the murders, she does not believe him and refuses to identify her friend. Dental analysis reveals that one of the two male victims was an American, and a ballistics report traces the bullets to a KGB-issued pistol, but the case remains impenetrable and Renko is convinced he is being set up by the KGB. Fearing for his life, Renko accepts an invitation to the dacha of Chief Prosecutor Iamskoy, where he is surprised to see Irina Asanova with an American fur trafficker named Jack Osborne. The gentleman is rumored to have an interest in Russian sables, whose pelts are worth a fortune. However, the Soviets control an international monopoly on the animals, and do not let them out of the country. Meeting Prosecutor Iamskoy, Renko begs to be relieved from the investigation, but the attorney refuses to transfer the case to the KGB and promises to protect the young officer. Back in Moscow, Renko orders the coroner ... +


In Cold War Soviet Union, three mutilated bodies are discovered in Moscow’s Gorky Park. The skin on the victims’ faces and fingertips was stripped away to conceal their identities, and militsiya police officer Arkady Renko concludes the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union (KGB) is responsible for the executions. He grudgingly offers to turn the case over to his nemesis, Major Pribluda, but the corrupt KGB agent declines to accept responsibility for the investigation. Studying the victims’ clothes, Renko discovers the female is wearing ice skates that belong to a Siberian woman named Irina Asanova. When he tells Irina about the murders, she does not believe him and refuses to identify her friend. Dental analysis reveals that one of the two male victims was an American, and a ballistics report traces the bullets to a KGB-issued pistol, but the case remains impenetrable and Renko is convinced he is being set up by the KGB. Fearing for his life, Renko accepts an invitation to the dacha of Chief Prosecutor Iamskoy, where he is surprised to see Irina Asanova with an American fur trafficker named Jack Osborne. The gentleman is rumored to have an interest in Russian sables, whose pelts are worth a fortune. However, the Soviets control an international monopoly on the animals, and do not let them out of the country. Meeting Prosecutor Iamskoy, Renko begs to be relieved from the investigation, but the attorney refuses to transfer the case to the KGB and promises to protect the young officer. Back in Moscow, Renko orders the coroner to decapitate the corpses and takes the heads to an anatomical model-maker, Professor Andreev, who begins to reconstruct the victims’ faces. Sometime later, Renko is attacked by a stranger and follows his pursuer to a hotel, where he learns that his assailant, William Kirwill, is an American police detective who is conducting an investigation of his own. Kirwill’s brother, James, was one of the Gorky Park victims as was his friend, Valerya Davidova, and her lover, Kostia Borodin. All three had ties to Jack Osborne, but William Kirwill is not forthcoming with additional information and refuses to join forces with Renko. The Russian policeman later finds a KGB informant, Theo Golodkin, and threatens to throw him out a window. Golodkin confesses that Osborne hired the youths to build a wooden chest and claims to have the crate in his apartment, but when an officer takes him home to retrieve it, both men are killed in the building stairwell. Believing the KGB has set him up yet again, Renko reconvenes with Prosecutor Iamskoy and tells him about Osborne’s connection to the Gorky Park executions. Iamsky is eager to keep Renko on the case and reveals the name of Osborne’s hotel as a lead. There, Renko watches from afar as Irina Asanova confronts Osborne about her missing friends, and the American promises they have been given asylum in the U.S. As Irina walks home, she is followed by an assassin who attempts to inject her with a lethal drug, but Renko prevents the attack. When the pursuer pins Renko to the ground, William Kirwill, the American detective, comes to his rescue and finally agrees to help with the investigation. Renko nurses Irina back to health at his apartment and they become lovers, but she remains uncooperative, insisting she must protect her friends’ newfound freedom. One day, Kirwill takes Renko to the barn in which the Gorky Park victims built Osborne’s crate, and they discover six live sables. The men conclude that Osborne planned to hide the sables in the crate and smuggle them into the U.S. for breeding, effectively demolishing the Soviet monopoly and potentially bankrupting the country. The three youths became a liability in the scheme. Since Irina is the only person who can confirm the story, Renko brings her to the barn and narrates the events that led up to her friends’ murders. When Irina insists they are still alive, Renko wields the reconstructed head of her friend, Valerya. Traumatized and irate, Irina finally confesses that Osborne promised to give Valerya and Kostia asylum in the West in return for six live sables, and James Kirwill helped broker the deal. As Irina runs, Renko reunites with Detective Kirwill to retrieve the reconstructed head of Kirwill’s brother, James. However, a KGB agent steals the head and they follow him to Prosecutor Iamskoy’s dacha, where Iamskoy and Osborne destroy the evidence. Sometime later, in Moscow, Renko holds Iamskoy at gunpoint, demanding a confession. Unaware he is being tape-recorded, Iamskoy explains that he was blackmailing Osborne, and the American paid a fortune for the sables’ safe passage. When Iamskoy bribes Renko to keep quiet, Renko reveals his tape recorder and Iamskoy lunges for his gun, but the weapon misfires and kills the prosecutor. Renko uses his evidence to inform the KGB of Osborne’s sables, and Major Pribluda orders him to follow the American to Stockholm, Sweden. There, Osborne drives Renko to his apartment, and reveals that Irina is in his care. The girl explains that she went to Osborne after leaving the barn, and he promised her political asylum in return for sex. Renko is disgusted by the betrayal, but Irina confesses that she brokered a deal with the KGB to secure Renko’s freedom, too. Osborne agreed to give back the six sables in return for Irina and Renko’s liberation from the Soviet Union because he is secretly harboring six additional animals, and comes away from the deal at no cost. Although Renko agrees to negotiate with the KGB, he later tells Kirwill that the trade will end in bloodshed. The next day, Renko drives to a remote barn with Major Pribluda and two KGB agents for their exchange with Osborne. Kirwill, who secretly arrived at the scene early to protect his friend, has already been killed. Wielding a shotgun and six dead sables, Osborne announces that he disemboweled Kirwill and orders KGB agents to give up their weapons. When Pribluda agrees, Renko realizes he is a traitor, and warns the others that Osborne is not to be trusted. As the two KGB agents run away, Osborne kills one man and Pribluda shoots the other. Irina and Renko dodge into the woods. Although Pribluda defended Osborne, the fur trader realizes their alliance is a ruse and kills the Soviet commander. With Pribluda dead, Renko snatches a gun from a fallen comrade, runs back toward the barn, and hides behind the cages of the six remaining live sables. However, Irina appears and Osborne threatens to murder her unless Renko surrenders. Stepping into the line of fire, Renko believes he will be shot, but Irina reveals a hidden weapon of her own and kills Osborne. Irina rejoices that she and Renko are now “free,” but Renko explains he must return to Moscow. He, too, made a secret deal with the KGB, and promised to kill Osborne and the sables in return for Irina’s freedom. If Renko defects with Irina, and defies his vow to return to duty, they will be always be hunted by the KGB. As the lovers bid each other farewell, Renko promises their separation will not be indefinite. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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