White Nights

D: Taylor Hackford
Columbia/New Visions/Delphi (Taylor Hackford & William S. Gilmore)
US 1985
135 mins


W: James Goldman & Eric Hughes
DP: David Watkin
Ed: Fredric Steinkamp & William Steinkamp         
Mus: Michel Colombier

Mikhail Baryshnikov (Nikolai Rodchenko), Gregory Hines (Raymond Greenwood), Isabella Rossellini (Darya Greenwood), Jerry Skolimowski (Col. Chaiko), Helen Mirren (Galina Ivanova)

Director Taylor Hackford and co-writers James Goldman & Eric Hughes had a near impossible job of moulding something entertaining with, what is essentially, a film about ballet, and do so by merging it with the thriller genre and making it an escape movie with interludes of dance scenes. A novel piece of filmmaking to say the very least.
Mikhail Baryshnikov plays an émigré ballet star whose plane must make an emergency landing in the (former) Soviet Union. He finds himself prisoner in Leningrad, where a black tap dancer and his Russian wife are forced to hold him captive so he can be unveiled in a political propaganda play. 
There's many things about White Nights which don't quite work, and the Cold War angle hasn't dated well, but the performances of Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines comes across particularly well, even though the film is merely a series of MTV-style music videos. 

Mikhail Baryshnikov & Gregory Hines in White Nights
Mikhail Baryshnikov & Gregory Hines in White Nights