TROUBLE IN PARADISE (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

“Beginnings are always difficult.” Think of Venice as a modern Eden—except that Ernst Lubitsch sullies the image of gleaming canals at night by showing the collection of garbage by gondola. The garbage collector, a jolly sort, sings an aria—to distract himself from the stench.      In Trouble in Paradise, master thief Gaston Monesque falls for Lily […]

NINOTCHKA (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)

Greta Garbo proves herself a wondrous comedienne as Nina Yakushova Ivanov, nicknamed Ninotchka, a no-nonsense Soviet emissary sent to Paris to sell former tsarist Grand Duchess Swana’s jewels to alleviate Soviet financial duress. Swana, living in Paris, wants back her jewels—for themselves, but also in a psychological attempt to reverse history. Meanwhile, Ninotchka has fallen […]