White Nights (1985)

TAYLOR HACKFORD

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 1985.  Columbia Pictures Corporation, New Visions, Delphi IV Productions.  Story by , Screenplay by James Goldman, .  Cinematography by David Watkin.  Produced by , Taylor Hackford.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1985.  Golden Globe Awards 1985.  

Soviet defector and ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov is flying over Siberia with his manager (the glorious Geraldine Page) when their airplane has to make a crash landing and he finds himself trapped in the country he once betrayed. There he meets tap dancer , an American defector who is married to a beautiful young Russian woman () and is assigned to convince Baryshnikov to become the jewel of the Soviet Union once again. The reverse happens, with Baryshnikov convincing the couple to do their best to escape to freedom with him, aided by his old girlfriend (the gorgeous Helen Mirren, whose husband Taylor Hackford directs) and some dumb luck amid the “white nights” (permanent sunlight) of the season. While the screenplay is dreadfully cliched, the opportunities that the two leads are given to dance, and there are plenty, are superb and make it worth watching for that reason alone. Rossellini is adorable in her film debut.

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