Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi,
“‘Garbo laughs!’ said the ads for Ninotchka . . . an event on a par with ‘Garbo talks!,’ the 1930 slogan that heralded her talkie debut in Anna Christie. Garbo—the paradigm for all stars in her beauty and mystery and final inaccessibility—was now a screwball heroine, too. And the mystery compounded: she was funny. . . . One of the elements of the Garbo mystique was always the degree to which she could make idealism seem as much a felt human need as love or food. So that in Ninotchka she can speak of getting ‘foreign currency to buy tractors’ (Lubitsch gives her a full glowing close-up) and be powerfully moving as she does so. Garbo, Lubitsch, and the screwball comedy come together in this film in a most astonishing result: the closest thing to a convincing socialist heroine the English-speaking cinema has yet produced. It’s a nice payoff to the screwball tradition: that it had the freedom to offer even this surprise” (James Harvey, Romantic Comedy).