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"The last mass trials have been a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians."—Ninotchka
Ninotchka is a 1939 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Romantic Comedy, directed by legendary director Ernst Lubitsch, co-written by Billy Wilder and starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas, set in interbellum Paris and Moscow.
Three bungling Soviet diplomats aim to sell some Romanov diamonds to a Parisian jeweller to raise funds for the Soviet Union. Nina Ivanovna Yakushova, nicknamed "Ninotchka" (Garbo), an Ice Queen diplomat, is sent over to help them after they make a mess of it, where she meets and falls in love with Parisian boulevardier and aristocrat Leon d'Algout (Douglas). In this she finds herself rivaled by the diamonds' original owner, the Grand Duchess Swana (Ina Claire), who wishes to retrieve both the jewels and Leon's affections. Swana manipulates Ninotchka into abandoning Leon in order to keep the jewels for Russia. Leon, however, does not accept the situation...
The story was later remade as the musical Silk Stockings, with music by Cole Porter, which was itself adapted into a 1957 MGM film with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the Douglas and Garbo parts, respectively.
- Blonde Communist Sex Kitten
- Character Title
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Ninotchka
- Gay Paree
- Hey, It's That Guy: The Russian commissar to whom Ninotchka reports is Dracula. Buljanoff (Felix Bressart) is Greenberg from To Be or Not to Be.
- Lzherusskie: Ninotchka is played by Greta Garbo, who was Swedish. The actors playing the three diplomats were German. Bela Lugosi (who played the commissar) was Hungarian.
- Playing Against Type: Garbo Laughs!
- Shout-Out: In the form of a direct repudiation of Garbo's Signature Line from her earlier hit, Grand Hotel:
Iranoff: Do you want to be alone, comrade?
- Double Subverted, though, when she later tells Leon's butler: "Go to bed, Little Father -- we want to be alone."
- Uptight Loves Wild, with a Gender Flip from the usual pattern.