Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This is Garbo's second to last film and the movie has been billed by the moniker "Garbo laughs!". I don't know enough about her work to be able to comment on whether that is a rarity or not, but it is entirely accurate. Right about mid-film her love interest makes a huge effort to get her to laugh, and he is wildly, though unexpectedly, successful. It is noteworthy because Garbo plays a Russian envoy who is sent to Paris to help save failing negotiations to sell the opulent jewelry confiscated from Russian royalty. She enters the scene as an impossibly smart, no-nonsense woman with no sense of humor. She meets a man who turns out to be her nemesis in mucking up the gears of her mission, but who none-the-less captures her heart. So the capitalist melts the heart of a die-hard communist, a message which surely had some appeal to Americans.
This was definitely not amongst my favorite Lubitsch films, but it is a well known one, and without flaws other than that I like other of his films more.