Rent Ninotchka (1939)

4.0 of 5 from 99 ratings
1h 50min
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Garbo Talks!, proclaimed ads when silent star Greta Garbo debuted in talkies. Nine years and 12 classic screen dramas later, the gifted movie legend was ready for another change. Garbo Laughs!, cheered the publicity for her first comedy, a frothy tale of a dour Russian envoy sublimating her womanhood for Soviet brotherhood until she falls for a suave Parisian man-about-town (Melvyn Douglas). Working from a cleverly barbed script written in party by Billy Wilder, director Ernst Lubitsch knew better than anyone how to marry refinement with sublime wit. "At least twice a day the most dignified human being is ridiculous", he explained about his acclaimed Lubitsch Touch.
That’s how we see Garbo’s lovestruct Ninotchka: serenely dignified yet endearingly ridiculous. Garbo laughs. So will you.
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Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder
Walter Reisch, Melchior Lengyel
Release Date:
Run Time:
110 minutes
English, French, Italian
Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, English, English Hard of Hearing, French, Italian, Italian Hard of Hearing, Romanian
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
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Reviews (2) of Ninotchka

Garbo Flirts. - Ninotchka review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert
Updated 02/03/2021

Chrome plated Lubitsch magic set in his beloved Paris in the twenties; a cold war film before there was a cold war.  Apparently MGM had the tagline 'Garbo Laughs' before they had anything else. But there is a darkness in this film.  

Ninotchka, written by Wilder and Brackett, is an intuitive comedy, because it recognised that the era of screwball was nearly over as the world went to war.  It is about Russia after the revolution. And it's a romance that can include the line, 'it would have been very embarrassing for people of my sort to wear low cut gowns in the old Russia. The lashes of the Cossacks across our backs were not very becoming. And you know how vain women are'.  There is a lot of Wilderian cynicism.

Three bumbling Bolshevik ambassadors take some jewels to Paris to sell. The aristocrat in exile who once owned them wants them back. Ninotchka (Garbo) is sent to ensure they don't fall into the hands of their former oppressors now living in Paris. By chance she is courted by an aristocratic capitalist (Melvyn Douglas). And she thaws, seduced by luxury and romance.

 Crucially, Douglas lacks the charm to make him sympathetic. Garbo is fabulous, but her character is schematic. Utterly humourless and logical when under the Soviet influence, totally frivolous when seduced by the capitalists. The light Lubitsch touch ensures the whole confection doesn't get lost in bitterness, but it's a close run thing.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Damaged disc - Ninotchka review by JW

Spoiler Alert

We could not watch the film because the disc is damaged

We could not watch the film because the disc is damaged

We could not watch the film because the disc is damaged

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.