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Ninotchka
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Ninotchka (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Ninotchka -- Trailer for this classic comedy

Overview

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8.0/10   12,276 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Charles Brackett (screen play) &
Billy Wilder (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Ninotchka on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 February 1940 (Australia) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
M-G-M's Laugh Riot ! See more »
Plot:
A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Garbo laughs... and for very good reason! See more (75 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Greta Garbo ... Ninotchka

Melvyn Douglas ... Leon

Ina Claire ... Swana

Bela Lugosi ... Razinin
Sig Ruman ... Iranoff (as Sig Rumann)
Felix Bressart ... Buljanoff
Alexander Granach ... Kopalski
Gregory Gaye ... Rakonin
Rolfe Sedan ... Hotel Manager

Edwin Maxwell ... Mercier
Richard Carle ... Gaston
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Dorothy Adams ... Jacqueline - Swana's Maid (uncredited)
Monya Andre ... Gossip (uncredited)
Nino Bellini ... Swana's Restaurant Guest (uncredited)
Wilda Bennett ... Swana's Restaurant Guest (uncredited)
Symona Boniface ... Gossip (uncredited)
Frederika Brown ... Swana's Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Emilie Cabanne ... Gossip (uncredited)
George Davis ... Porter at Railroad Station (uncredited)
Paul Ellis ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Fred Farrell ... Attendant (uncredited)
Frank Fletcher ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Gossip (uncredited)
Mary Forbes ... Lady Lavenham - Indignant Woman in Doorway (uncredited)
Jody Gilbert ... Streetcar Conductress - Moscow Roommate (uncredited)

Lawrence Grant ... General Savitsky - Duchess' Consort (uncredited)
Jennifer Gray ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Winifred Harris ... English Lady Getting Visa (uncredited)
Ray Hendricks ... Waiter (uncredited)
William Irving ... Bartender (uncredited)
Hans Joby ... Man at Railroad Station (uncredited)
Charles Judels ... Pere Mathieu - Cafe Owner (uncredited)
Armand Kaliz ... Louis - the Headwaiter (uncredited)

Ernst Lubitsch ... Himself - Director in Trailer (uncredited)
Peggy Moran ... First Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Sandra Morgan ... Gossip (uncredited)
Lucille Pinson ... German Woman at Railroad Station (uncredited)
Albert Pollet ... Waiter (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... Soviet Lawyer (uncredited)
Constantine Romanoff ... Man in Restaurant (uncredited)
Alexander Schoenberg ... Bearded Man - Eiffel Tower Tourist (uncredited)
Harry Semels ... Gurganov - Neighbor Spy (uncredited)
Tamara Shayne ... Anna - Moscow Roommate (uncredited)
Florence Shirley ... Marianne - Swana's Phone Friend (uncredited)
George Sorel ... Swana's Restaurant Guest (uncredited)
Edwin Stanley ... Soviet Lawyer (uncredited)
Kay Stewart ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)

George Tobias ... Russian Visa Official (uncredited)
Jacques Vanaire ... Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Ellinor Vanderveer ... Gossip (uncredited)
Paul Weigel ... Vladimir - With Letter from Leon (uncredited)
Elizabeth Williams ... Indignant Woman (uncredited)
Marek Windheim ... Manager (uncredited)
Wolfgang Zilzer ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)

Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Charles Brackett (screen play) &
Billy Wilder (screen play) and
Walter Reisch (screen play)

Melchior Lengyel (based on the original story by)

Produced by
Sidney Franklin .... associate producer (uncredited)
Ernst Lubitsch .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Werner R. Heymann (musical score)
 
Cinematography by
William H. Daniels  (director of photography) (as William Daniels)
 
Film Editing by
Gene Ruggiero (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup creator
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair stylist: Miss Claire
Beth Langston .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Horace Hough .... assistant director (uncredited)
John Waters .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Randall Duell .... associate art director
George Elder .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Conrad Kahn .... sound engineer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Milton Brown .... still photographer (uncredited)
A. Lindsley Lane .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Floyd Porter .... chief electrician (uncredited)
William Riley .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Arnold Webster .... grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Jack Rohan .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Eric Locke .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-15 (2006) (DVD) | Finland:K-18 (2006) (DVD) (self applied) | Finland:S (1981) (cut) | Finland:(Banned) (1964) | Finland:K-16 (1941) | Finland:(Banned) (1940) | Germany:12 (DVD, 2006) | New Zealand:PG | Portugal:M/6 | Sweden:Btl | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (video rating) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #5494) | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The tagline "Garbo laughs!" came before the screenplay was written; the film was built around that single, now legendary, slogan.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): During the telegram/kissing scene, Iranoff refers to Bela Lugosi's Russian Commissar Razinin's name as Razin while Leon and Kopalski refer to it as Razinni, a distinctly Italian name. When it is mentioned again at the train station by Ninotchka, she again mistakenly pronounces it as Razinni. It isn't until later in the film that the correct pronunciation is used.See more »
Quotes:
Russian Visa Official:To an unseen caller: "Hello! Comrade Kasabian? No, I am sorry. He hasn't been with us for six months. He was called back to Russia and was investigated. You can get further details from his widow."See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
L'InternationaleSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
40 out of 49 people found the following review useful.
Garbo laughs... and for very good reason!, 26 September 2002
Author: gaityr from United Kingdom

NINOTCHKA tells the story of a female special envoy from Russia (Greta Garbo), sent to Paris to investigate the rather unorthodox and generally inefficient way in which three Russian ambassadors (Iranoff, Buljanoff and Kopalski--the trio serve as an excuse for much slapstick hilarity in the film) are carrying out their job. They're supposed to be selling jewels belonging to the former Grand Duchess, Swana (Ina Claire), but instead get distracted by the luxuries of capitalist society as gleefully pressed onto them by the Count d'Algout, Leon (Melvyn Douglas). It doesn't take long for the dour, humourless Ninotchka to fall hard for the charming Leon, and their love story begins atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We gather, however, that Leon and the ex-Duchess share a casual on-off relationship and Swana handily uses Nina's deep love for her mother Russia to blackmail the latter into returning to Russia without a word to Leon. So what happens when the Russian customs official refuses to give Leon a visa into Russia? You'll have to watch for yourself to discover the whimsical, delightful ending.

All in all, NINOTCHKA is a fine, funny film, with romance spilling out of its seams. From the first dry, crisp conversation between Leon and his Ninotchka while they wait for a whistle-break in Parisian traffic, you become involved with the characters and their love as he tries to break down her icy defenses, as he keeps trying in the face of her many rebuffs. One standout scene would be that of the drunken interlude in Nina's Royal Suite, as the couple look quizzically at the necklace that would bring them together and separate them, and Leon crowns his girlfriend before laying her gently on the bed, kissing her goodnight and taking his gentlemanly leave. It's also hard to beat the scene in which, as the tagline proudly declares, 'Garbo Laughs!', as Leon tries to coax a laugh out of Nina, and only succeeds by falling over backwards in his chair. The romantic comedy is certainly strong and sweet, but there's plenty of other comedy available as well, largely thanks to the three Russian sidekick ambassadors charmed by the benefits of capitalism. It's great fun watching them flounder helplessly when they first meet their stern, unforgiving Comrade Yakushova, but warm up to her when they return to Russia and have an omelette dinner together.

There is no doubt that Greta Garbo turns in a great performance as the title character. She plays the ice queen very convincingly, with the appropriate suggestion that her lips haven't seen a smile in a decade or so. (If you're worried, her Russian accent is also perfectly credible, though at times she lapses into something somewhat less than Russian.) When she finally breaks into laughter, the transition is believable, as is the sunny change that thereafter infuses Nina as she becomes Leon's Ninotchka. It's an especially nice touch to have her unable to suppress a wave of laughter in the first official meeting--it's also hilarious when she suddenly generously gives her three colleagues fifty francs because they're out of money... only to qualify that by asking them to bring her back 45 francs! I think it is to Garbo's credit that she can pull off both the dour, passionless Comrade Yakushova and the almost shy, giggling Ninotchka with equal aplomb. (Her frequent question, "Can I make a speech?", when drunk on champagne is--I think the only word for it is--adorable.) That face of hers, so famous around the world, really *is* made for the cameras, and I think Lubitsch captured it beautifully. (Lubitsch also directs with the lightest of touches, allowing his cast full rein.) Melvyn Douglas looks absolutely no different from his role a decade later in MR BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, but there is no doubting that this is Garbo's film.

This is a sweet, happy film about love overcoming ideology, nationality, and geography, and one that doesn't feel the need to beat us over the head with it. The relationship is well-developed, the characters interesting, and the execution top-notch. For me personally, the film lacks something that would render it a 10/10 classic, but that certainly isn't indicative of its quality as a romantic comedy. A great way to spend an evening. 8/10.

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