Ninotschka (1939)

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Ninotschka: Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. With Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi. A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

“The only word to describe this Ernst Lubitsch comedy is: sparkling.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTremendously sweet and funny in that gentle way that was unique to Ernst Lubitsch comedies, u0026quot;Ninotchkau0026quot; features a winning Greta Garbo as a Soviet envoy dispatched to Paris to check up on the work of her comrades. They have been sent to sell the confiscated jewels of a Russian countess, played haughtily by Ina Claire. She refuses to let them go without a fight, and enlists the help of her attorney and playboy (Melvyn Douglas) to win them back. Unfortunately for her, he falls under the charms of Ninotchka, as do we.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI have never been a fan of Garbo or the moody brooding she was always asked to do in her films. Lubitsch completely understood the image she had in the publicu0026#39;s collective mind, and so for the first half of this movie, Garbo presents a parody of herself, refusing to crack a smile despite Douglasu0026#39;s herculean efforts to make her. But then Ninotchka gradually begins to fall under the spell of Paris, its good food and fashionable hats, a pratfall involving Douglas is finally enough to make her laugh, and from that moment on, sheu0026#39;s a delight. For an example of just how good a comedienne Garbo could be, watch Ninotchkau0026#39;s face as Douglasu0026#39;s character tells her corny joke after corny joke in an attempt to win a smile from her; or the scene set in a nightclub when Ninotchka discovers the capitalist wonders of champagne.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eGrade: A+”

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