Garbo laughs! This was, at the time of release, everybody’s exclamation. Considering the directorial experience in smart comedies of Ernst Lubitsch, this is exactly the outcome one can expect. Made just on the brink of WWII, Ninotchka contains some diluted and sophisticated remarks on the imminent threat of war. Leaving this aside, it was a real delight to watch the two main characters, Count Leon d’Algout, Melvyn Douglas, and comrade Nina Ivanovna “Ninotchka” Yakushova, Greta Garbo. Comrade Yakushova is sent to Paris to check up the work of a team of three Russian delegates (also brilliantly and hilariously played) in charge with selling valuable jewelry to cover Russia’s needs at the time. The cold and rigid attitude of Ninotchka is bound to change in the new environment of the Western world and in the company of the count. Embarked on a never before experienced adventure, Garbo’s character learns the wonders of life outside her mother country. Her witted lines and the entire movie script (co-written by none other than the talented Billy Wilder) are cleverly built up by Lubitsch to create a tremendous pleasure for watching with every scene.
There is a scene after Ninotchka’s arrival in Paris, when she sees a hat in a shop window and says: “How can such a civilization survive which permits their women to put things like that on their heads?” A little later on she’s wearing the hat.