A musical remake of Ninotchka: After three bumbling Soviet agents fail in their mission to retrieve a straying Soviet composer from Paris, the beautiful, ultra-serious Ninotchka is sent to ...
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William A. Seiter
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A musical remake of Ninotchka: After three bumbling Soviet agents fail in their mission to retrieve a straying Soviet composer from Paris, the beautiful, ultra-serious Ninotchka is sent to complete their mission and to retrieve them. She starts out condemning the decadent West, but gradually falls under its spell, with the help of Steve Canfield, an American movie producer. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
After this film, Fred Astaire effectively retired from musicals, preferring to concentrate on non-musical roles, though he would produce several musical specials for TV in the next few years. Astaire wouldn't make another musical until 1968. See more »
It becomes fairly obvious during the "Fated to be Mated" duet between Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse that Charisse is wearing a skirt one moment and culottes (or flared shorts) the next. The bottom half of her costume changes on each cut of the dance when they are doing deep knee bends, and this is where the culottes show. For the upright spins and lifts, the skirt shows. The dance was obviously performed twice and edited into one sequence. See more »
Smooth as silk musical and great pairing of Astaire and Charisse...
A lot of humor at the expense of the Soviets (natch) is present throughout this musical version of "Ninotchka" in which Greta Garbo was the Russian who melts into a normal woman thanks to the spell of capitalism. Here it's CYD CHARISSE who plays the very uptight lady (with a stiffness that comes naturally to Cyd who could play an "ice princess" with the best of them). And FRED ASTAIRE is thankfully cast as an American film producer hoping to get her cooperation in borrowing a Soviet composer for his new film.
That's the nuts and bolts of the story, but the ingredients (including a trio of Soviet agents played by PETER LORRE, JULES MUNSHIN and Joseph BULOFF and a ditsy American singer/actress JANET PAIGE), are enough to stir up a lot of sardonic humor and some really good song and dance numbers. Paige is especially good with her "Stereophonic Sound" routine and "Satin and Silk", flirtatious and vivacious as ever in a top supporting role.
But it's the dance elements that count here--Astaire at his most elegant and Cyd Charisse gracefully matching him step by step all the way through. Her performance as the serious minded miss who gradually bends to his ways is one of her better contributions to film comedy.
Summing up: A delightful blend of Cole Porter songs and a clever script make this one a sheer pleasure, smooth as silk.
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