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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:

Garbo Laughs 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)
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

This was one of Ernst Lubitsch's personal favorite films. His other favorites were The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Trouble in Paradise (1932). See more »

Goofs

Re: Comrade Kopalski, "ski" is typically an ending for Polish names. In Russian, the name would more appropriately have been spelled "Kopalsky". See more »

Quotes

BuljanoffComrade KopalskiIranoff: [repeated line - drunkenly] Why are you so good to us?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.29 (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

I Found Romance
(1939)
Music By Werner R.Heymann
Lyrics By Earl Bent
Orchestration by Wally Heglin
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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