Sunday, October 31, 2010

1939 - NINOTCHKA, Garbo laughs as they said

Hollywood's greatest director of sophisticated 1930's comedies directs one of Hollywood's most unusual and mysterious stars.  This is a comedy about Communism and Soviet Russia made with the usual high gloss MGM look. 

Greta Garbo the dour Swedish actor who probably would have been right at home in an Ingmar Bergman film, is carefully directed by Ernest Lubitsch.  The fact that this less than humorous woman is likable at all is a tribute to Lubitsch's talent with actors.  Fortunately Ninotchka has Melvyn Douglas as the male lead and he has a light comedy touch which saves the film and Garbo who seems very comfortable around him.

The screenplay is by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett among others so the audience gets the usual bunch of cynical jokes about politics and the human condition along with the famous Lubitsch touch, little visual jokes that move the plot forward.

Lubitsch directs Garbo
For a film that is 70 years old, Ninotchka looks very good, Lubitsch was a perfectionist when it came to film comedy this is filmmaking at a high technical and artistic standard.

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