Final Day! Thursday, January 3!
- 1:00 3:10 5:20 7:30 9:40
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Starring Greta Garbo
New 35mm print
(1939) “GARBO LAUGHS!” In Paris to sell off Grand Duchess Ina Claire’s state-confiscated jewels, bumbling Soviet emissaries Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski (Sig Rumann, Felix Bressart, and Alexander Granach) are just reveling in that room service (“You know what happens when you ring three times? A maid comes in!”) at the über-capitalistic Hotel Clarence, so the Kremlin sends off grim “envoy extraordinary” Greta Garbo (“The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.”) to get them sweating borscht. But then Count Melvyn Douglas seduces her with champagne, an unintended pratfall, and the joie du chapeau. Garbo’s first comedy proved to be her greatest success, thanks to the fabled “Lubitsch touch” and a cynically satirical script by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch. Approx. 110 min. 35mm.
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#1 CRITICS' PICK OF THE WEEK
"A COMEDY MIRACLE! Has lost none of its swirl or heat!"
– Time Out New York
"ONE OF THE GREATEST COMEDIES OF THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD!"
– New York magazine
"BUBBLY EROTIC WIT!" – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“From the moment she steps off a train in her commissar’s costume, Garbo’s exquisite gravity of expression and metronomic doomsday delivery of her lines are as profoundly hilarious as anything in the history of talking pictures. Reviewers of the time debated solemnly whether the movie was harder on the Communists or the Capitalists, but there was little disagreement on the quicksilver brilliance of Garbo’s portrayal of an icy ideologue melted by bourgeois affability... The instant shift in her great drunk scene from light farce to light pathos without missing a beat of conviction is a moment of rare sublimity.”
– Andrew Sarris
“EFFERVESCENT! Perfect for any holidays you can imagine!”
– Peter Bogdanovich
"Garbo brings her incredible sensual abandon to the role of a glum, scientifically trained Bolshevik envoy who succumbs to Parisian freedom - i.e., champagne. The film includes a historic encounter, when the great instinctual artist of the screen meets the great stylist and technician of the stage -- Ina Claire, as a Russian grand duchess. The fur flies exquisitely."
– Pauline Kael
“Weds the understated virtuosity of Lubitsch’s direction to the unabashed wisecracking script.”
– Michael Sragow
“Garbo floods the production with her timeless beauty, giving a rich and haunting quality to the romantic scenes and a moving intensity to the few passages of straight drama. There is an added verve and color to her personality… which makes her even more magically lovely than in the past.”
– Howard Barnes, Herald Tribune
“Of course, no one doubts that Garbo is going to melt, but the lovely thing about the film is the way chat and smiles do the trick. She doesn’t have to be convinced by some ponderous arguments over political destiny. Flirtation does it – the most egalitarian weapon”
– David Thomson
“A sparkling, witty political fairy tale from 1939, about a cold but beautiful lady commissar (Greta Garbo) who melts to the bourgeois charms of Paris and Melvyn Douglas, jeopardizing both honor and career. That's love. Garbo fully complements the casual sophistication and stylistic grace of director Ernst Lubitsch, cleverly playing off her dour public image. 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
“STALIN WON’T LIKE IT!”
– The New York Times (1939)