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Ninotchka (Sous-titres franais)
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Ah, those fun-loving Communists! In Ninotchka three Soviets make their way to Paris to sell off imperial jewels to raise money to buy tractors for the USSR. When Grand Duchess Swana (Ina Claire), former owner of the jewels, discovers what's happening, she deploys her lover Leon (Melvyn Douglas) to recover her gems. He starts a court proceeding while seducing the three bumbling Soviets with the luxuries of capitalistic life. The delay of the sale is noticed in Moscow, and Comrade Ninotchka (Greta Garbo) is dispatched to Paris to settle the matter. Soon after arrival, she meets Leon, who is charmed by her severe, uptight manner and her stunning beauty ("I love Russians! Comrade, I've been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last 15 years"), and he sets about wooing her, despite her disbelief in love (it's merely a "chemical reaction," she dourly informs him). Romance, jealousy, and capitalistic frivolity ensue.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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'
Her unlikely relationship with Melvyn Douglas is a hit; one that you hope will succeed.
The only flaw in the film is its characterization of Soviet Russians as buffoons (contrast the simpleton emissaries with the multi-faceted duchess) and its constant smug references to the superiority of the U.S. political system. Initially these references are just another facet of the good comedy: "I've been fascinated by your five year plan for the past 15 years" but after awhile they wear thin: [the man walking through another's apartment to get to his own or the line about the bird leaving a crumb of black bread].
Nevertheless, the action and the script, taken as a whole, is very smart and very funny. It includes some great romantic lines such as when a wooing Douglas (referring Garbo to a clock) says, "Look, one hand has met the other hand...they've kissed."
Garbo is the star. I didn't have any pre-conceived expectations of what she wouldn't do but the laugh scene in the cafe is certainly one of the highlights and key moments of the film--one that will likely have you laughing too.
Believe it or not, this is my first Greta Garbo movie to watch! And I immediately fell in love with her style of acting. She just shines in her role as the 'seemingly' dull and unattrative Russian woman. But, I mean literally, she just seems to become more and more beautiful as we see the real woman inside of her. And as many other reviewers mentioned, when she laughs, it was just so charming, you couldn't help but smile and laugh along! Melvyn Douglas was equally charming in his role and the perfect example of a 'decadent and capitalistic gentleman'. He is so full of charm you can't help but smile the whole time he's on the screen. There are plenty of other notable cast members (the three Russians and the Grand Duchess) but Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas are who really add the sugar and spice the movie.
The humor is incredibly well incorporated into the film.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a delightful movie with a clever plot and terrific dialogue. They truly don't make movies like this anymore. Read morePublished on April 20 2003
To see someone like Garbo choosing to be fun, instead of beautiful, is a real treat. This won't spoil anything: viewers will fall out when Garbo, all dowdy and Soviet-like, goes... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by W. Steve White
Had he not also plumbed the Third Reich for laughs, in To Be or Not to Be, one would be inclined to say that Ernst Lubitsch's take on the
USSR is too light-hearted here. Read more
I saw this movie one rainy night at the Clatsop Community College campus in Astoria, Oregon. I've been in love with this movie ever since. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2001 by Matthew
An expertly-played and presented comedy that continues to be dogged by detractors for the oddest reasons. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2001 by El Kabong
Ernst Lubitsch has made many wonderful films such as "To Be Or Not To Be", and "The Shop Around The Corner", and while I perfer those two over this one, this... Read morePublished on March 13 2001 by Alex Udvary