Starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, Alexander Granach
Romantic. Sly. Iconic.
Ninotchka: Must you flirt?
Leon: Well, I don’t have to, but I find it natural.
Ninotchka: Suppress it.
Three amiable, easily manipulated Soviet agents arrive in Paris during the days following the Russian Revolution. Sent to sell valuable jewelry confiscated from the ousted nobility, they’re quickly thwarted by a wily lawyer, Leon (Douglas). The trio are then sent help in the form of Nina Ivanovna Yakushova, or Ninotchka (Garbo), a tough-as-nails, Soviet patriot to help fight the case. Not nearly as impressed by Paris as her comrades, it’s meeting Leon and falling for him that slowly causes some of the ice to thaw. Ninotchka is my favorite Garbo picture. It’s one of those classic Hollywood films that bring me great joy to watch. Romantic and funny as romantic-comedies naturally should be but rarely are, it’s also a rather clever and early satire on the bleak state of Soviet Russia.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-