McKinley B. "Mac" Thompson, American reporter in Moscow, smuggles out uncensored news under the alias "Comrade X," but hotel valet Vanya discovers his secret. Vanya fears for the safety of his daughter Golubka ("Theodore") and blackmails Mac into helping her leave the country. Mac is happier about his task once he meets lovely Theodore, but can he convince her of his sincerity? The anti-communist humor becomes alternately grim and farcical. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
At the time this film was released, in 1940, World War II had already begun in Europe, but the Soviet Union still had a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. In the film, Mac is able to fool a character by pretending to hear news that Germany has broken the pact and launched an invasion of the USSR. Of course, that's exactly what happened the very next year when Germany launched Operation Barbarossa in summer 1941. See more »
When McKinley Thompson goes to check in to the hotel he insists he is the rightful tenant of room 301. Later, in the room, he calls room service and says he is in room 310. See more »
[Yawning in prison]
Oh, I'd like to get some sleep before I die.
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Who would have guessed that the usually wooden but dazzlingly beautiful Hedy Lamarr could be so delightfully funny, adorable and charming as she is in this Ninotchka role. It's a pity that she was rarely --if ever again-- given another opportunity to play this sort of anything-goes screwball comedy. Hedy here is as real and believable as Carole Lombard at her best. The script written by Ben Hecht ("Nothing Sacred"), Charlie Lederer ("The Front Page" screenplay) and the uncredited Herman Mankiewicz ("Citizen Kane") is a bizarre hard-boiled political satire ending with a lengthy and totally absurd slapstick Russian tank chase through the woods and across the river into Rumania. It looks as if it came straight out of a Max Sennett movie. Gable is his usual tough and handsome self, wonderfully adept with the throw-away gags he is given. The rest of the cast is rounded out with some of the best European character actors then living in Hollywood --the Germans Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart and the Viennese Oskar Homoloka- all playing Russians and Germans. As an added bonus there is the first on-screen appearance by the rarely seen Berlin-born actress, Natasha Lytess ("Olga"), best remembered now as Marilyn Monroe's first acting coach way before her Lee Strasberg days.
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