Selection of Ernst Lubitsch to pilot Garbo in her first light performance in pictures proves a bull’s-eye.
The punchy and humorous jabs directed at the Russian political system and representatives, and the contrast of bolshevik receptiveness to capitalistic luxuries and customs, are displayed in farcical vein, but there still remains the serious intent of comparisons between the political systems in the background [based on an original story by Melchior Lengyel].
Three Russian trade representatives arrive in Paris to dispose of royal jewels ‘legally confiscated’. Playboy Melvyn Douglas is intent on cutting himself in for part of the jewel sale. Tying up the gems in lawsuit for former owner, Ina Claire, Douglas is confronted by special envoy Garbo who arrives to speed the transactions. Douglas gets romantic, while Garbo treats love as a biological problem.
1939: Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Greta Garbo), Original Story, Screenplay