When this film was released in 1939, it was advertised as "Garbo laughs," as it was her first and only comedy. The film, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, is amusing not only for its story line, but also for its dated look at early Communism (Ninotchka keeps a photo of a stern-looking Lenin by her bedside, although she feels uncomfortable doing so in a room that costs 2,000 francs a night, the price of a cow back home). The satirical image of the young Communist fighting against corrupt Western ways seems somewhat idealistic today but nonetheless provided levity during the shaky political times of the film's release. Viewers may be jarred by the casual "Heil Hitler" greeting of a couple at the train station, but overall this film holds up as one of Lubitsch's masterpieces and a lighter glimpse of the mysterious Garbo. --Jenny Brown
Meanwhile Count Leon (Melvyn Douglas) smitten hopelessly with 'my beautiful, barbaric Ninotchka' attempts to convince her that he dines at this 'worker's proleteriat' restaurant every day, and worse, tries to make her lsugh by telling her a lame joke about two Scotsmen. Am I getting to complicated? No matter, this scene, like every other scene in this film, is funny, witty, urbane and has a wonderfull pay-off at the end.
NINOTCHKA is THE archetype of the romantic screwball comedies.
The best.--and Garbo's only comedy.
Lubitsch's masterpiece (I'd give 'To Be or not To Be' a close second place) is delicious fun all the way through.
Greta Garbo spoofs communism, French sophisticates, the eternal war of the sexes, but most of all, she spoofs the screen personna of Greta Garbo.
One can tell that she had a blast playing counter to type--no melodramatic semitragic heroines here, it's pure wit and laughs. A fast and crazy ride, as the idealistic Ninotchka falls in love.
Among the writing credits you might notice a recent emigre to America: Billy Wilder.
See it with someone you love. And if you start to get carried away, 'Suppress it'