Thursday, February 25, 2010

review: Ninotchka

I know I should like this film more than I did.
I don't know why. The script is okay. The acting is okay. Directing is okay. Design is okay. It just lacks something.
I don't think that this was a good first film to see Garbo in. She is built up so much as a glamorous woman. This film is exactly the opposite of that. Like I said, its not bad -it just doesn't live up to her image. I was excited to see one of my favorite character actors: Felix Bressart. He kind of reminds me of an older Groucho Marx - in looks. He's a funny little guy. And, from what I have seen of his work, I do like the director, Ernst Lubitsch. I also notice in the cast, Bela Lugosi. Hardly recognizable.
Underneath all of this is a very definate satire about Russia. That is, I think, the most interesting aspect of the film. The political mess and he propaganda. I'm torn. On one hand, you don't want to like the Grand Duchess, because she is scheming and doesn't exactly have a kind heart, but politically, you can't fault her claim on the jewels. It was personal property handed down through family. The government had no right to confiscate such a thing. I understand that they are to be used to feed the people, but shouldn't a government like that expect to take care of its own people without taking private property? Which, I know they don't believe in. I just can't wrap my head around their views. It makes you think.
It was made into a musical called 'Silk Stockings' in the 50s with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charrise, which I love! A brilliant little rendition with music. It was selected for preservations by the Library of Congress, it was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, and is on two AFI lists: one for 100 Passions, and one for 100 Laughs.
3 out of 5 stars

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