Friday, April 27, 2012

NINOTCHKA | 1939 | "Funniest film I ever saw."

I adore NINOTCHKA so much that I wanted to write a really slam-bang post.  So I cracked some books and did some extra research, hoping I could enrich your life with some sparkling high-brow analysis that would lead you to appreciate the film as much as I do.

After letting all the reading stew for a few days, there's only one bit of information I really want to share:

Lubitsch attended the preview of NINOTCHKA with his writers (Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch) and some studio executives.  After the screening, Lubitsch rushed to the audience opinion cards and took them to his limo - refusing to let anyone see them.  Billy Wilder remembers that he had a very "serious" expression while reading the cards, until "he gets to this one card and he just stares at it for a while and then he breaks into this howl of laughter...  Finally he hands me the card and this is what it said, 'Great picture.  Funniest film I ever saw.  I laughed so hard, I peed in my girlfriend's hand.'"*

I'll write more about how/why this is Classic Screwball at a later date.  Since you don't have a lot of my blah, blah, blah to read - watch this clip!

*Eyman, Scott, Ernst Lubitsch:  Laughter in Paradise (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1993), 271.

Released: 1939
Director: Ernst Lubitsch (Oscar nom Best Picture)
Leads: Greta Garbo (Oscar nom Best Actress), Melvyn Douglas
Writer: Melchior Lengyel, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch (Oscar Nom Best Original Story, Best Screenplay)
Genre: Classic Screwball, Romantic Comedy
Plot Summary and reviews of Ninotchka @ Rotten Tomatoes