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Ninotchka (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 23 November 1939 (USA)
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A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Charles Brackett (screen play), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Nina Ivanovna Yakushova aka Ninotchka
Melvyn Douglas ... Count Leon d'Algout
Ina Claire ... Grand Duchess Swana
Bela Lugosi ... Commissar Razinin
Sig Ruman ... Comrade Iranoff (as Sig Rumann)
Felix Bressart ... Comrade Buljanoff
Alexander Granach ... Comrade Kopalski
Gregory Gaye ... Count Alexis Rakonin
Rolfe Sedan Rolfe Sedan ... Hotel Manager
Edwin Maxwell ... Mercier
Richard Carle ... Gaston
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Storyline

Only the royal suite at the grandest hotel in Paris has a safe large enough for the jewels of the Grand Duchess Swana. So the three Russians who have come to sell the jewels settle into the suite until a higher ranking official is dispatched to find out what is delaying the sale. She is Ninotchka, a no nonsense woman who fascinates Count Leon who had been the faithful retainer of the Grand Duchess. The Grand Duchess will give up all claim to the jewels if Ninotchka will fly away from the count. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's Laugh Riot ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

23 November 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ninotschka See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,365,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,187,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,092,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Leon asks if Ninotchka wants to listen to the news, she declines and says, "We want to be left alone." This is the accurate quote from Garbo's famous line in "Grand Hotel", and a tongue-in-cheek nod to the former film. See more »

Goofs

When Ninotchka and Leon are talking about the photograph on his desk, Leon's shadow is moving along the wall although he doesn't move. See more »

Quotes

Ninotchka: Isn't that amazing? At home there is still snow and ice and here - look at the birds. I always felt a little hurt when our swallows deserted us in the winter for capitalistic countries. Now, I know why. We have the high ideals. But, they have the climate.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In June 1963, the film was re-released in Spain, with a new dubbing and a completely new score with classic music added in scenes that didn't have any kind of music in the original version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Complete Citizen Kane (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Ça c'est Paris
(uncredited)
Music by José Padilla
Lyrics by Jean Boyer and Jacques Charles
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Garbo Laughs, and Makes Me Laugh with Her
31 March 2008 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

The only word to describe this Ernst Lubitsch comedy is: sparkling.

Tremendously sweet and funny in that gentle way that was unique to Ernst Lubitsch comedies, "Ninotchka" 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.

I 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 public's collective mind, and so for the first half of this movie, Garbo presents a parody of herself, refusing to crack a smile despite Douglas'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, she's a delight. For an example of just how good a comedienne Garbo could be, watch Ninotchka's face as Douglas'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.

Grade: A+


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