Ninotchka is so icy, just like LA GARBO (don't get me into my hatred of her stage name again) in real life. No one else could have played this role. And though it was a day when frozen little blondes were a dime a dozen in the 30s, no one could have matched her austerity. A lot of roles are mis-awarded to the wrong person and because I've been watching TCM like it's the news, imagining another actress made me think inexplicably of Jean Harlow, and how she would have been as Ninotchka. The New Jersey Ninotchka. Anyway, Garbo owned this role, but the first time watching it was boring. Second time, I started to get the jokes. Obviously the male romantic lead is no good as they were all no good in the day with several exceptions. It's really difficult to accept ultra-urbane original metrosexuals (but oily, hokey chaps of the 30s wouldn't be the originals, would they? who should we attribute that to? 17th century french male aristocrats? this effete behavior has been going on since the pharaohs) as anything other than a brother or a gay friend, but whatever. I just deleted a tangent about Leslie Howard, who deserves his own post anyway.
Anyway. Garbo is so DOUR in this movie. I love it. The way she treats what's his face in the beginning is certainly the way I have felt when in unfortunate company. She has zero inclination or ability to conceal her distaste.