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"Garbo Laughs!" declared the ads for Ninotchka. In the face of dwindling foreign revenues, MGM decided to put Greta Garbo, a bigger draw in Europe than the US, in a box-office-savvy comedy, engaging the services of master farceur Ernst Lubitsch to direct. The film opens in Paris during the aftermath of the Russian revolution. A trio of Russian delegates (Sig Rumann, Felix Bressart, and Alexander Granach) are sent to Paris to sell the Imperial Jewels for ready cash. Grand Duchess Swana (Ina Claire), who once owned the jewels, sends her boyfriend Count Leon (Melvyn Douglas) to retrieve… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This one is neither crude clowning nor crude prejudice, but a literate and knowingly directed satire which lands many a shrewd crack about phony Five Year Plans, collective farms, Communist jargon and pseudo-scientific gab."
‑ Whittaker Chambers, TIME Magazine
"The satire may be mostly a matter of easy contrasts, but the lovers inhabit a world of elegance and poise that is uniquely and movingly Lubitsch's."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"This column has generally no quarrel with scene-to-scene entertainment, serving a legitimate demand for relaxation, though it adds up to nothing. But the entertaining gags of this picture add up to something, and it is not pleasant."
‑ Franz Hoellering, The Nation
"Great, but kids may need historical context."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"It is a film that blends pratfalls and a sophisticated comedy of manners."
‑ , Film4
"Ninotchka is delicate flirtation and political satire made into a perfect whole, and a reminder of skills that studio writers have largely lost."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"It's still consistently amusing, and Garbo throws herself into the fray with engaging vigour."
‑ , Time Out
"Iridescent and teaming with vitality, Garbo glows in her penultimate film."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"The masterpiece among Lubitsch's later films."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"This was Garbo's first comedy and second last film. And it's a unique role for her, first because she starts off as a dour, cold comrade with no sense of humour, and second because she laughs herself into a love of capitalist vices."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Selection of Ernst Lubitsch to pilot Garbo in her first light performance in pictures proves a bull's-eye."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"One of the sprightliest comedies of the year."
‑ Frank S. Nugent, New York Times
"Ninotchka stands as one of the finest films Lubitsch made. It was reportedly one of the director's own favorites among his films, and it's easy to see why."
‑ Matt Bailey, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"It's comedy is rooted in classic sentimentality, but the dialog is often hammer and sickle sharp."
‑ Cole Abaius, Film School Rejects
"It's Garbo's next-to-last film and first American comedy."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for Ninotchka on Rotten Tomatoes