Nov 18, 2012

So many wonderful things,

Stories, lines, etc, ... about the 1939 Lubitsch/Garbo masterpiece, Ninotchka:

Garbo asking Hungarian playwright, Melchior Lengyel, for a movie idea that could fit M-G-M's new sales tag for her, "Garbo Laughs."  Lengyel thinks about it, comes up with an idea, reports to Garbo's house to share it with her, and finds her swimming naked in her backyard pool.

Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett writing a hilarious, gently cynical screenplay that reveals the immense power of flirtation, a power so great (and believable) that one suspects it could overwhelm the State, no matter its ideology.

Lubitsch, directing with all his usual panache, aplomb, and wit; using his minor characters to supreme effect, creating a rich flaky scrumptious french galette on Hollywood's back lot version of Paris -- in many ways probably finer than the real Paris.

Garbo's radiant, luxurious slim beauty.

Adrian's fantastic gowns, and his Soviet commissar's costume for Garbo.  And, the magnificent story that Adrian, one of Hollywood's finest costumers, who designed nearly everything Garbo ever wore in the movies, how he retired when Garbo retired, "What's the point?" you can imagine him asking.

So many wonderful lines:

Count Leon D'Algout: Do you like me just a little bit?
Ninotchka: Your general appearance is not distasteful

Leon: A Russian! I love Russians! Comrade, I've been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last fifteen years.

Ninotchka: I should hate to see our country endangered by my underwear.

Leon: A radio's a little box that you buy on the installment plan, and before you tune it in, they tell you there's a new model out.

Prologue: This picture takes place in Paris in those wonderful days when a siren was a brunette and not an alarm - and if a Frenchman turned out the light it was not on account of an air raid!

Ninotchka: Must you flirt?
Count Leon d'Algout: Well, I don't have to, but I find it natural.
Ninotchka: Suppress it.

And, of course:

Ninotchka: The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.

One of the finest films ever made, and, an absolute must-see.  I own it, but it is possible it is streaming on netflix.

All my Sunday love,

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