Opposites attract in this film, as Melvyn Douglas sets out to capture Garbo's heart in this fun film. He is a French aristocrat representing a Russian Grand Duchess in the battle to get her "legally confiscated" jewels from the Soviet emissaries who have just arrived in Paris to sell them. The emissaries are quickly attracted to Capitalism and the Soviet government sends an "envoy extraordinaire" to clear up the mess. Her entrance - magnificent. All work and no play, she decides to spend her free time inspecting Paris' technical achievements. So, to the Eiffel Tower!
About a year after her visit to Paris, she is sent, by the commisar, to Constantinople. Her three friends were sent on another mission and have failed after six weeks. She arrives to find that they have abandoned communism and opened a restaurant. At the hotel, Leon is waiting for her, and convinces her to stay with him.
This was one of the legendary Garbo's final screen roles. The original three-sentence plot outline was remarkably simple - "Russian girl saturated with Bolshevist ideals goes to fearful, Capitalistic, monopolistic Paris. She meets romance and has an uproarious good time. Capitalism not so bad after all." Garbo apparently was nervous about doing a comedy, but thought the idea was interesting. The hat that she wears in the film was actually made by costume designer Adrian, based on a sketch by Garbo herself. She disliked having to play drunk in a scene, considering it vulgar and unbecoming and found it hard to act. Ninotchka and Garbo were nominated for the Best Picture and Best Actress Academy Awards, however they lost to the monumental Gone With The Wind. Ninotchka was turned into a hit Broadway play, Silk Stockings, which was later made into a musical film starring Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire. Today, Ninotchka still remains a classic and in 1990 was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Seen today, it is still captivating and Garbo still amazes as the Russian who proves that she can laugh!