I’ve got another Garbo film for ya! The lovely Greta is cast as a Russian again (as she was in Grand Hotel) in her one and only comedy AND penultimate film, Ninotchka. It’s set in Paris where a trio of Russians are trying to sell the jewels belonging to a Grand Duchess. The Soviet citizens begin to rather enjoy the capitalist lifestyle and start to neglect their mission, getting drunk and enjoying the company of three French maids. That is until Ninotchka turns up. Ninotchka is a dedicated communist with a slightly robot manner of speaking. She has no sense of humour and is concerned with the technical details of life.
Luckily there’s a man who can defrost her Russian heart. At first she’s having none of it but eventually she loosens up, drinks some champagne and starts spreading communist propaganda in the powder room. It’s not easy courting Ninotchka.
When the film first came out the posters parodied the tagline of her first talkie, Anna Christie. “Garbo Talks!” became “Garbo Laughs!”.
I laughed too. There’s some brilliant dry wit in this film. You only have to take a look at the IMDB quotes page for Ninotchka to see how brilliantly funny the dialogue is. It makes me sad that Greta Garbo only made one more film after this. I would have liked to have seen her do more roles that diverted from her usual repertoire. Rating: 8/10