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How Savely Kramarov became friends with Robin Williams, and what does the film "Moscow on the Hudson" have to do with it

“Russians have incredible willpower... There are many outstanding musicians and doctors in Russia, and this is admirable... The Russian people have patience and strength that can only be envied! And last but not least, they have very strong family ties. Extremely strong... Many Americans think that they are such and such... Well, you get the idea. But it's not. These are incredible people! In many ways, they are like us, something like: “Look, I bought a blender! I don’t know why really, because I don’t use it, but I bought it ... ”(laughs).

A bit from the history of cinema: how did Savely Kramarov and Robin Williams make friends?

Savely Kramarov - famous Soviet and American film actor, honored artist of the RSFSR. He was born in the Baumansky district of Moscow into a Jewish family, and at the end of his life he enjoyed the hot California sun in the States ... Kramarov is a legend in films such as "Gentlemen of Fortune", "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession", "Twelve Chairs" and many others ... In a word - an outstanding actor! Another equally talented person in his field - Robin Williams: actor, screenwriter, producer, comedian! Williams starred in such famous film masterpieces as "Night at the Museum", "The Man in the Cadillac"and also in the comedy series "Mork and Mindy"... But there is another film that connects these two: moreover, this film marked the beginning of their long friendship! I'm talking about the movie, of course. "Moscow on the Hudson". Under what circumstances exactly did these two actors end up on the same set? We invite you to find out…

Emigration to the USA and accidental success - the fate of Savely Kramarov

Savely Kramarov
Savely Kramarov

The youth of one of the most famous actors of Soviet cinema was sad: as a schoolboy, Savely lost both parents, because of which he had to live with his uncle. Your first role Kramarov played quite by accident: on the street he watched the filming of the film, where, according to the plot, a car hit a woman. The director caught his eye from the crowd and asked him to pretend to be frightened. For filming a ten-second episode, the guy was paid three rubles, and they also said that he "great texture". This incident greatly influenced his desire to become an actor ...

After emigration in 1981 Kramarov settled In Los Angeles at his old friend - Ilya Baskin. Later, he rented his own apartment, and a year later he was invited to shoot the film. "Moscow on the Hudson"! In the final scene, his hero named Boris appeared behind a hot dog stand, which is why they began to make fun of the artist in his homeland: they say that in America he started selling sausages ... However, to more flattering reviews from fellow countrymen Savely and could not count after his move to the States ...

Sharp success and sudden danger - a little about Robin Williams

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

And this cinematic genius began his journey with comedy stand-up shows ... However, thanks to Comedy Club in Los Angeles Robin Williams and was noticed by a TV producer, who, in general, told the world about Williams' talent! The biggest success of the actor is considered to be the role of Mork in the American sitcom "Mork and Mindy"! For 80s Robin worked for a wider audience: so, in 1982 he acted in a drama "The World According to Garp" and established himself as a talented actor! But ... very soon his reputation was overshadowed by his addictions ... And although not the most favorable events contributed to sobering up (in addition to the birth of a son, Robin painfully experienced the death of a friend John Belushi…), Robin Williams finally pulled himself together and continued to build a career. So, very soon they began to offer him new roles, one of which was the role of Vladimir Ivanov in the comedy drama "Moscow on the Hudson"!

The legendary meeting on the set...

Robin Williams and Savely Kramarov, frame from the movie "Moscow on the Hudson"
Robin Williams and Savely Kramarov, frame from the movie "Moscow on the Hudson"

Well, now - having become acquainted with the fate of two such different, but in their own way equally talented actors, it is time to remember their first meeting ... Both heroes met on the set of the film "Moscow on the Hudson". In the film, they have a lot of joint scenes, and as you can see, it is clear that Kramarov and Williams they really became friends, they liked each other ... There was clearly a friendly sympathy between them. Let's see some scenes from the movie:

According to GARP, Williams spent months preparing the role of Vladimir! The actor not only learned to play the saxophone, but even more impressively, he learned Russian! Filming took 5 or more hours a day! And all this time Robin it was necessary to play his part... But his hard work paid off and Williams was nominated for an award. Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

Regarding Savelia Kramarova, then at the peak of his fame (the actor starred in more than 40 Soviet films!) he threw everything in favor of religious views and moved in America. For him, this was the beginning of a new life ... At the same time, Kramarov was almost always offered only small roles in American films, and he never enjoyed the same popularity abroad as in Soviet Union… As the artist himself commented:

"Always remember: your freedom is more important than your glory!"

Briefly about the film

Moscow on the Hudson, movie poster...
Moscow on the Hudson, poster for the film ...

"Moscow on the Hudson" - American comedy-drama film 1984written and staged Paul Mazursky. According to the plot - Robin Williams plays a circus musician who escaped during a visit to the US, while Savely Kramarov plays the role of a worker KGB. Vladimir Ivanov - an ordinary circus musician playing the saxophone. But at one point, he and all his colleagues get an attractive chance - to visit a distant America on tour! His closest friend clown Anatoly, hopes not only to conquer the overseas audience, look at the Statue of Liberty and buy a pair of jeans, but also stay in the West! That's just Anatoly does not hide his dislike of socialism too much, and KGB agents follow him every now and then. Since his friend has little chance, but he Vladimir He is not at all interested in the Soviet special services, his plan is ripening ... Now he is thinking about how to stay in the States! That's just by nature, he has always been a quiet and modest person ... Ivanov with great difficulty, he decides to turn his fate around so abruptly, and even bypass his friend at the turn.

The film by Paul Mazursky enjoyed moderate success at the box office - the budget was $25 million.

How did meeting Kramarov affect Williams?

Savely Kramarov and Robin Williams
Savely Kramarov and Robin Williams

Acquaintance with Kramarov, obviously, to a large extent influenced the attitude Robin Williams to Russia. Subsequently, the comedian very often turned to Russia in his stand-ups, as well as in interviews. Here's how he described Kramarova:

“…He adapted very quickly and had a lot of patience. When meeting with him, it is impossible not to pay attention to the incredible sense of humor!”

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

In his interview Williams also said that Russians "incredibly big soul" and "all-encompassing fortitude":

“Russians have incredible willpower… There are many outstanding musicians and doctors in Russia, and this is admirable… The Russian people have patience and strength that can only be envied! And last but not least, they have very strong family ties. Extremely strong… A lot of Americans think they are like that and that… Well, you get the idea. But it's not. These are incredible people! In many ways, they are like us, something like: “Look, I bought a blender! I don’t know why really, because I don’t use it, but I bought it ... ”(laughs).

Thanks to acquaintance with Kramarov Williams I understood the Russian soul, the character of a Russian person, his spiritual strength and endurance ... And this means that their acquaintance was not in vain!

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