What I watched: Ninotchka (1939)

How I watched it: library-rented DVD

Snacks: White wine

ninotchka_xlgSynopsis: A trio of Russian comrades are sent to Paris to sell a piece of jewelry confiscated during the overthrow of of the Russian aristocracy. Not realizing that the original owner of the jewelry in question, the Grand Duchess, is residing in Paris and gumming up their plans for a neat and tidy sale by trying to get the jewelry back for herself. Ninotchka (Greta Garbo) is sent to clean up matters but finds herself falling in love with the Duchess’s beau, Count Leon, and the Western way of life.

Why I watched: I have been on a recent kick of Garbo films and a podcast I was listening to offhandedly remarked that Ninotchka should be one of the first Garbo film’s one sees. The fact that it was on the list of 1001-movies-to-see-before-you-die list also contributed.

Notes: This movie was fun and Garbo’s performance was excellent and quite memorable and she is certainly deserving of the nomination for 1940s Best Actress Oscar.

The humour and tone of this film struck me as feeling very 1990s, I mean it is clearly a 1930s film but I suppose if it had been remade, I can see the 1990s as being the best decade for this type of film to be remade, this is the time I see the main character fitting in best.

I think this film is good match with Queen Christina where both women are in positions of power and are heavily masculinized, but there’s something about Ninotchka that’s far less serious. This movie is also a good match with my favourite Ernst Lubitsch film The Shop Around the Corner and shares character actor Felix Bressart between them.

Recommend: Yes.


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