Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lubitsch: “Ninotchka”

"Ninotchka" was shot in May, June and July in 1939 at MGM, and was released in November of that year. The tagline for its advertising was "Garbo Laughs!" as Garbo's first sound film ("Anna Christie") had been touted as "Garbo Talks!" The westernization of a Soviet commissar wasn't a typical subject for Hollywood in that era. The sceenplay was written by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and Walter Reisch, and turned out to be Garbo's second-to-last film.

The musical version of "Ninotchka" was “Silk Stockings.” It had songs by Cole Porter; the Broadway production starred Hildegarde Knef and Don Ameche. The film starred Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire, with Joseph Buloff, Jules Munshin and Peter Lorre as three Soviet commissars. The link below is to Frank Nugent’s review in the November 10, 1939 issue of the New York Times.

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