Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder
FADE IN ON:
AN ESTABLISHING SHOT OF PARIS IN THE MONTH OF APRIL
THE LUXURIOUS LOBBY OF THE HOTEL CLARENCE
CAMERA MOVES to a CLOSE SHOT of the desk. In the background
is a revolving door leading to the street. Through the
revolving door comes a strangely dressed individual, obviously
one who doesn't belong in such surroundings. It is Comrade
Buljanoff, a member of the Russian Board of Trade. Despite
the spring climate of Paris, he still wears his typical
Russian clothes, consisting of a coat with a fur collar, a
fur cap, and heavy boots.
Buljanoff glances around the lobby, obviously over-whelmed
by its magnificence. The Manager, puzzled by Buljanoff's
strange appearance, approaches him.
Is there anything I can do for you,
He exits toward the street. The Manager returns to his
customary duties, when suddenly a second Russian, similarly
dressed, pushes his way through the door and gazes around.
It is Comrade Iranoff.
The Manager, definitely mystified by now, approaches him.
Just looking around.
Iranoff exits. Again the Manager returns to his duties, when
suddenly he sees that a third man, dressed in the same
fashion, has appeared in the revolving door. It is Comrade
Kopalski doesn't leave the revolving door at all but as it
turns, drinks in the whole spectacle of the lobby. The Manager
is by now dumfounded.
STREET IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL CLARENCE
A taxi stands at the curb. Buljanoff and Iranoff are waiting
beside it, Iranoff holding a suitcase. Kopalski, returning
from the hotel, joins the group.
Comrades, why should we lie to each
other? It's wonderful.
Let's be honest. Have we anything
like it in Russia?
(agreeing with him)
No, no, no.
Can you imagine what the beds would
be in a hotel like that?
They tell me when you ring once the
valet comes in; when you ring twice
you get the waiter; and do you know
what happens when you ring three
times? A maid comes in -- a French
(with a gleam in his
Comrades, if we ring nine times...
let's go in.
Just a minute -- just a minute -- I
have nothing against the idea but I
still say let's go back to the Hotel
Terminus. Moscow made our reservations
there, we are on an official mission,
and we have no right to change the
orders of our superior.
Where is your courage, Comrade
Are you the Buljanoff who fought on
the barricades? And now you are afraid
to take a room with a bath?
(stepping back into
I don't want to go to Siberia.
Iranoff and Kopalski follow him reluctantly.
I don't want to go to the Hotel
If Lenin were alive he would say,
"Buljanoff, Comrade, for once in
your life you're in Paris. Don't be
a fool. Go in there and ring three
He wouldn't say that. What he would
say is "Buljanoff, you can't afford
to live in a cheap hotel. Doesn't
the prestige of the Bolsheviks mean
anything to you? Do you want to live
in a hotel where you press for the
hot water and cold water comes and
when you press for the cold water
nothing comes out at all? Phooey,
I still say our place is with the
common people, but who am I to
contradict Lenin? Let's go in.
All three start to leave the taxi, as we
LOBBY -- HOTEL CLARENCE -- AT THE DESK
Buljanoff, Iranoff, and Kopalski are approaching the Manager,
their only suitcase carried by two of them.
Are you the manager?
(eyeing the three
Pardon me for introducing Comrade
Iranoff, member of the Russian Board
(bowing with strained
This is Comrade Kopalski.
I am Comrade Buljanoff.
May I ask how much your rooms are?
(trying to get rid of
Well, gentlemen, I'm afraid our rates
are rather high.
Why should you be afraid?
The other two nod their agreement. The Manager has noted the
I might be able to accommodate you.
Is there some more luggage?
Oh, yes, but have you a safe here
big enough to hold this?
I'm afraid we have no boxes of that
size in our vault, but there is one
suite with a private safe...
That's even better.
But, gentlemen, I am afraid...
He's always afraid.
The other two exchange a look of agreement again.
(a little annoyed)
I just wanted to explain. The
apartment may suit your convenience
but I doubt that it will fit your
convictions. It's the Royal Suite.
The mention of the Royal Suite startles the three.
(To the manager)
Just a minute.
The Three Russians take a step away from the manager and go
into a huddle.
(in a low voice)
Now Comrades, I warn you... if it
gets out in Moscow that we stay in
the Royal Suite we will get into
(defending his right
to a good time)
We'll just say we had to take it on
account of the safe. That's a perfect
excuse. There was no other safe big
The other two welcome the suggestion with relish.
BULJANOFF AND IRANOFF
That's right. Good, very good.
Suddenly Buljanoff grows skeptical again.
Of course, we could take out the
pieces and distribute them in three
or four boxes in the vault and take
a small room. That's an idea, isn't
For a moment all three see their bright plans crumble. Then
Iranoff comes to the rescue.
Yes, it's an idea, but who says we
have to have an idea?
Buljanoff and Kopalski see the logic of this and their faces
That's right... that's right.
(turning to the Manager)
Give us the Royal Suite.
The Manager leads the three toward the elevator. The CAMERA
FOLLOWS THEM and NARROWS DOWN to the suitcase carried by two
of the Russians.
DARK INTERIOR OF SAFE -- ROYAL SUITE
We hear from the outside the turning of a key, the opening
of a door, then the turning of the dial, and then we see the
safe door open. Through the open door we now see the Royal
Suite. The Three Russians are standing in front of the safe.
One of them puts the suitcase into it.
MEDIUM SHOT -- ROYAL SUITE OF THE HOTEL CLARENCE
Shooting from the interior of the room toward the safe. The
Three Russians are standing around it. As Buljanoff and
Iranoff close the safe door, Kopalski walks out of the shot.
The CAMERA STAYS for a few seconds on Buljanoff and Iranoff,
then PANS OVER to the center of the room, where a waiter is
setting a breakfast table. He is the former Count Rakonin, a
Russian exile employed by the Hotel Clarence. Rakonin is
looking with great interest toward the safe, and as he does
so we hear Kopalski's voice talking into the telephone.
Will you connect me with Mercier...
yes, the jeweler...
Rakonin pricks up his ears and looks toward the telephone.
CLOSE SHOT -- KOPALSKI -- AT TELEPHONE
I want to speak with Monsieur Mercier
personally... Hello, Monsieur Mercier?
This is Kopalski of the Russian Board
of Trade. We arrived this morning...
CLOSE SHOT -- RAKONIN
As he sets the breakfast table, his interest in the telephone
Yes, everything is here. The necklace
too. All fourteen pieces... What?
No, Monsieur Mercier, the court jewels
of the Duchess Swana consisted of
fourteen pieces. Why don't you check
on that? Naturally, we have all the
As the voice continues, we
SERVICE STAIRCASE -- HOTEL CLARENCE
Rakonin hurries down the stairs, buttoning his overcoat around
him. He exits through a door to the street.
STREET CORNER NEAR THE HOTEL CLARENCE
Rakonin is getting into a taxi.
(to taxi driver)
Eight Rue de Chalon.
INSERT the House Number "8"
above the doorway of a Parisian apartment house. Camera pulls
back to medium shot of the whole entrance. Into it is striding
a typical Parisian playboy. He is Count Leon d'Algout.
ENTRANCE HALL -- SWANA'S APARTMENT
The door is being opened by Swana's maid. Leon enters like a
man thoroughly at home.
Good morning, Count.
Her Highness is still dressing.
(as he walks toward
That's all right.
LONG SHOT -- SWANA'S ROOM
Swana sits at her dressing table in a negligee. Leon enters
with the easy air of an old friend. He kisses her lightly.
Good morning, Swana.
During Swana's long speech he sits down, not paying much
attention to her patter, lights a cigarette, and glances
through a magazine.
It's really a wretched morning...
wretched. I can't get myself right.
I wanted to look mellow and I look
brittle. My face doesn't compose
well... all highlights... how can I
dim myself down, Leon? Suggest
something. I am so bored with this
face. I wish I had someone else's
face. Whose face would you have if
you had your choice? Oh, well, I
guess one gets the face one deserves.
Your conversation has one marvelous
advantage, Swana. However many
questions you ask you never expect
Don't you find that restful?... Why
didn't you come last night?
Darling, I was busy looking out for
Did you win?
We can forget horse racing, roulette,
the stock market... our worries are
over! You remember that platinum
watch with the diamond numbers? You
will be in a position to give it to
Oh, Leon, you are so good to me.
(She kisses him)
We can be rich if you say the word.
I had dinner with the Guizots last
Those newspaper people?
You'd be surprised how many nice
people dine with the Guizots.
What a gruesome proof of the power
of the press!
Now listen, Swana... I sold Monsieur
Guizot the idea of publishing your
memoirs in the Gazette Parisienne.
"The Life and Loves of the Grand
Duchess Swana of Russia"!
Sweetheart, we won't have to bother
about our future if you are willing
to raffle off your past!
Was it for this that I refused to
endorse Dr. Bertrand's Mouthwash? I
could have made a little fortune by
saying that the Vincent Vacuum Cleaner
was the only vacuum cleaner ever
used by the Romanoffs... and now you
want them to smear my life's secrets
over the front page of a tabloid?
I understand how you feel, but there
is a limit to everything, particularly
pride and dignity. They are willing
to pay any price! They have a
circulation of two million!
Imagine two million clerks and shop
girls peeking into my life for a
sou! Think of my lovely life being
wrapped around cheese and blood
sausages! I can see a big grease
spot in the midst of my most intimate
Leon knows on which note to play for Swana's benefit.
Well, I am the last person to persuade
you, but don't do it blindly... if
this is your decision, you must be
prepared to face the consequences...
(With the expression
of a man ready to
give his all)
I will have to go to work.
Swana rises and goes over to Leon. His method has been highly
My little Volga boatman! Stop
threatening! I don't deserve this.
Are you my little Volga boatman?
First tell me, are you my little
(anything to stop her)
Yes, I'm your little Volga boatman.
(walking back to the
Well... two million readers... I
know exactly what they want. Chapter
One: "A Childhood behind Golden Bars.
Lovely Little Princess Plays with
Leon sits down next to her, growing enthusiastic.
I've got one chapter Guizot thinks
is terrific. "Caviar and Blood."
Swana escapes over the ice!
A couple of bloodhounds and we have
Uncle Tom's Cabin.
(thinking of another
Darling, this would be wonderful!
Just once... weren't you attacked by
(straining her memory)
Was I? No... not by a Bolshevik!
Too bad! Brings our price down ten
There is a knock on the door.
The Maid enters.
Count Rakonin asks the privilege of
a few words, Your Highness.
He's a waiter at the Clarence, poor
devil. You know him.
Tell him I won't be able to see him
for a half an hour.
The Count says if it could be as
soon as possible. It is luncheon
time and he is just between courses.
The Maid exits. Swana walks toward the door of the living
LIVING ROOM -- SWANA'S APARTMENT
A charming room, which manages to create a little of the
atmosphere of Old Russia. Rakonin stands, his overcoat still
buttoned about him, waiting nervously. Swana enters, leaving
the door ajar. Rakonin approaches her with the respect he
would have paid her at the Imperial Court.
How do you do, my friend.
Your Highness, forgive this intrusion,
What is it, Rakonin? Did you lose
No, madame, something of the utmost
importance... it concerns your jewels.
I remember one birthday of His
Majesty, our beloved Czar... I had
the honor of being on guard at the
summer palace... I still see you
bending before His Majesty... You
wore your diadem and a necklace...
your face seemed to be lighted by
Why do you bring this up after so
They are here!... Your jewels!...
Here in Paris!
Alexis! Do you know what you are
This morning three Soviet agents
arrived. I overheard a telephone
conversation with Mercier, the
jeweler. Your Highness, they are
going to sell them!
MEDIUM SHOT -- DOOR OF BEDROOM
From the door of the bedroom appears Leon, his face alert.
Did I hear something about jewels?
Rakonin, bless him, has given me the
most amazing news!
MEDIUM CLOSE -- SWANA AND RAKONIN
Swana goes to the telephone.
Leon steps to her side, highly interested.
I am sorry... I have to leave.
Thank you so much, my friend. I will
get in touch with you.
Count Rakonin leaves.
This is the Duchess Swana... I want
to speak to Monsieur Cornillon...
it's very important... please get
him right away... Hello, Monsieur
Cornillon? The most incredible thing
has happened! My jewels are here in
Paris! Three Bolshevik swine are
trying to sell them! Yes... yes...
we must act immediately!... Call the
police... Have them arrested!...
Well, then, get an injunction!...
But do something, Monsieur Cornillon!
(apparently the answer
is some objection
...But they are my jewels! There
must be some way of getting them
(just as nervous as
What does he say?
...But how can there be a question?...
Are you my lawyer or theirs?... All
right, I'll let you know!
She hangs up, rises, the legal situation whirling around in
What did he say?
It looks pretty hopeless... there
may be a chance... that's all... The
French Government has recognized
Soviet Russia and he doubts that
they will risk a war for my poor
sake. He might be able to make up
some kind of a case but it would
cost money, money, money!... That's
all they are interested in -- those
(taking her in his
Darling, calm down. Why do you need
a lawyer? Haven't you your little
Swana looks up at him, hope dawning in her eyes, as we
INSERT OF THE JEWELS
spread out on a table in the Royal Suite. Camera pulls back
to a LONGER SHOT. We see Mercier, the jeweler, examining the
jewels with an eyepiece screwed in his eye. Around him stand
the Three Russians. Mercier, a middle-aged man of the greatest
suavity and elegance, but a shrewd trader none the less,
Very good... superb... excellent...
it would be foolish to belittle the
quality of the merchandise but your
terms are impossible. My counteroffer
is the absolute maximum.
But, Monsieur Mercier...
Gentlemen, I'll let you in on a little
secret... we are only undertaking
this deal for the prestige involved,
and, quite frankly, we are expecting
to take a loss.
Iranoff draws Buljanoff aside and whispers in his ear.
They accumulate millions by taking
loss after loss.
The telephone rings.
Hello... this is Buljanoff, Iranoff,
and Kopalski... Who?... Count
d'Algout?... No, no... it must be a
mistake... we can't be disturbed.
I assure you no one else could meet
the figure named by my syndicate...
at least under the present economic
We can wait.
Do we give the impression of people
who are pressed for money?
Yes. Gentlemen... let's put our cards
face down. Right now there is a
Russian commission in New York trying
to sell fifteen Rembrandts. There is
another in London mortgaging the oil
fields in Baku. You need money and
you need it quickly. I think my offer
is fair and does not even take
advantage of your situation.
CLOSE-UP -- BULJANOFF, IRANOFF, AND KOPALSKI
Just a minute.
The Three Russians step to one side.
(in a low voice)
He's cutting our throat...
But what can we do?... We have to
Comrades! Comrades! Don't let's give
in so quickly. After all we have to
uphold the prestige of Russia.
All right, let's uphold it for another
SHOT OF THE WHOLE GROUP
There is a knock at the door. Iranoff walks toward it, unlocks
it, opens it a little. In the door appears Leon.
We don't want to be disturbed.
My name is Count d'Algout. I
If you want to see us you must come
I just want a word with Monsieur
But you can't...
Leon pushes his way in. He approaches Monsieur Mercier. The
Russians get between him and the jewels and during the
following scene put them back into the safe.
Monsieur Mercier. May I introduce
myself? I am Count Leon d'Algout. I
think I had the pleasure of meeting
you in your beautiful shop. I was
admiring a platinum watch with diamond
Oh, yes, yes...
(glancing at the jewels)
Glorious, aren't they?
Now, monsieur, you have no right...
Just a moment.
I hope you haven't closed this deal,
Monsieur Mercier. It might bring you
into serious difficulties.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Who are you? What do you want? What
These jewels are the property of the
Duchess Swana of Russia, and were
seized illegally by the Soviet
Government. I am acting for Her
Highness, the Duchess. Here is my
power of attorney.
He hands it to Mercier, who reads it.
You know, Monsieur Mercier, this is
These may have been the jewels of
the Duchess Swana, but, like all
private property, they were
confiscated by the State.
We'll leave the problem of their
ownership to the French courts.
Meanwhile I have filed a petition
for an injunction to prohibit you
from either selling or removing the
jewels. Here is a copy.
The Russians take the copy of the injunction, read it
flabbergasted. As they do so, Leon turns to Monsieur Mercier.
I thought it my duty to warn you. I
would hate to see you get in any
(he turns to the
Gentlemen, this introduces a new
element into our negotiations. Until
this claim is completely settled...
We can call our ambassador.
I give you my word! They were
Please try to understand my position.
I am not with-drawing. My offer stands
and as soon as you produce a clear
title, approved by the French courts,
the deal is settled. Until then,
He bows and starts toward the door. Leon accompanies him,
opening the door as though he were the host.
I hope you will forgive me, Monsieur
(in a low voice)
On the contrary. I consider myself
very lucky. Good day.
Good day, monsieur.
Mercier leaves. Leon closes the door and turns back into the
room to the three outraged Russians.
Well, gentlemen... how about a little
Get out of here!
Don't look so gloomy, gentlemen. All
is not lost. You may have a chance.
We may have a chance.
Yes... a very slim one. I want to be
fair. I don't deny that you might
make out some kind of a case.
We haven't anything to discuss with
you. We'll talk to a lawyer!
All right -- go ahead... you talk to
the lawyer and I'll talk to the judge!
That won't help you! You can't
Soviet Russia will put all its might
behind this case.
You think because you represent the
The former Duchess!
In any case, gentlemen, a charming,
beautiful, exquisite woman. I warn
you, if this case comes to trial it
will be before a French court, and
when the Duchess takes the stand...
All right, go ahead, get her on the
witness stand! What can she say?
But how will she look? The fashions
this spring are very becoming to
her. Gentlemen, the judge will be
French, the jury will be French,
everybody in that courtroom will be
French. Have you ever seen a French
court when a beautiful woman sits on
the witness stand and lifts her skirt
a little? You sit down and pull up
your pants and where will it get
I suppose you expect us to hand over
Oh, no, no. I am not a highwayman,
I'm just a nuisance. All I'm trying
to do is make things as difficult as
Not that we are giving in one inch,
but tell us... what is in your mind?
Well, gentlemen, how about my
I just said let's have a little lunch.
(picking up the
MEDIUM SHOT -- CORRIDOR OF THE HOTEL CLARENCE
shooting toward door leading to the Royal Suite. Two waiters
are wheeling in a table on which is a block of ice filled
with caviar and a collection of the most delicious hors
d'oeuvres. They enter the room. After the door is closed we
hear from within loud SOUNDS of approval from Buljanoff,
Iranoff, and Kopalski. The CAMERA STAYS on the door. After a
few seconds a very good-looking cigarette girl enters the
room and from within we HEAR even louder SOUNDS of approval.
Next a waiter enters carrying champagne and another with
glasses on a tray. As they are going into the room, the
cigarette girl comes out and runs excitedly down the corridor.
Camera pans with her away from the door as she starts down
MEDIUM SHOT -- DOOR OF THE ROYAL SUITE
Some of the waiters come out, others go in, carrying further
MEDIUM SHOT -- HEAD OF STAIRCASE
Up the staircase pants the cigarette girl, followed by two
other cigarette girls. Camera pans with them as they rush
toward the door of the Royal Suite and enter. From within we
HEAR terrific greetings. The CAMERA REMAINS ON THE DOOR as
we SLOWLY DISSOLVE INTO EVENING.
The electric lights are lit and a band of five Hungarian
musicians enters carrying typical Hungarian instruments,
including a cimbalom.
LONG SHOT -- ROYAL SUITE
The orchestra is playing; the Three Russians, very high by
now, are dancing with the girls. One of them is wearing the
cigarette tray of one of the girls. It is a harmless but
loud and hilarious party. Apart from all the hullabaloo sits
Leon at the desk, a telegraph blank before him.
Hey, Sascha! Serge! Misha!
The three come to him, all in the gayest, most agreeable
What is it, my boy?
About this telegram to Moscow. Why
should you bother? I'll write it for
(he embraces Leon)
Why are you so good to us?
(he kisses Leon)
(kissing Leon too)
Leon, my little boy.
Oh, Leon, you are so good.
(freeing himself as
best he can)
What's the name of that Commissar on
the Board of Trade?
Razinin, Board of Trade, Moscow.
You wouldn't like Razinin.
He's a bad man. Sends people to
We don't like Razinin.
(again pawing Leon)
We like you, Leon -- don't we like
The others join him and kiss Leon.
IRANOFF AND KOPALSKI
Yes, we like Leon... little
This brings on a new frenzy of Russian affection. Leon frees
himself and rises.
How does this strike you? Commissar
Razinin, Board of Trade, Moscow.
Unexpected situation here. Duchess
Swana in Paris claims jewels, and
has already brought injunction against
sale or removal. After long and
careful study we suggest in the
interest of our beloved country a
fifty-fifty settlement as best
solution. Iranoff, Buljanoff, and
If we say that, Leon... we'll be
sent to Siberia!
And if we have to go to Siberia...
(still looking over
I'll send you a muff.
Oh, why are you so good to us?
IRANOFF AND KOPALSKI
Yes, you are so good, Leon.
Again they overwhelm Leon with an avalanche of Russian
affection. At this moment Rakonin enters with some new bottles
of champagne. The Russians immediately leave Leon and direct
their affection toward Rakonin, embracing and kissing him.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Comrade waiter, dear waiteritchka!...
Why are you so good to us? You good
After Rakonin has turned over the champagne to the Russians,
Leon takes him aside.
Take this telegram to the telegraph
office at once!
He leaves the room.
CLOSE SHOT -- DOOR LEADING TO CORRIDOR OF HOTEL CLARENCE
Rakonin comes out with the telegram. The CAMERA PANS with
him as he hurries down the corridor, reading it. The CAMERA
NARROWS DOWN on an insert of the telegram as we
TELEGRAPH WIRES OVER A WIDE SWEEP OF COUNTRY
TELEGRAPH WIRES OVER THE ROOFS OF MOSCOW
Pan down past the roof of an official building to a CLOSE
SHOT of a window. Behind it stands Razinin, reading the
telegram. He is a violent, militant Bolshevik.
The telegram fills him with rage. As he crumples it, and
stares into space, his expression bodes ill for Buljanoff,
Iranoff, and Kopalski.
MEDIUM SHOT -- UPPER CORRIDOR OF HOTEL CLARENCE
shooting toward door of elevator. The elevator comes up and
stops, the door opens, and the Three Russians step out. They
are very smartly dressed and look like any urbane gentlemen
coming from the races. Two of them have racing glasses. As
they walk toward the Royal Suite, Lady Lavenham, an elderly
English aristocrat, comes out of her room.
Good afternoon, messieurs, mes
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Good afternoon, Lady Lavenham.
And how is Lord Lavenham?
...and little Lady Beatrice?
Very well. Did fortune favor you at
Comme ci, comme ca.
I understand... nothing to write
Who wants to write home about it?
It's just a saying. How about joining
us Saturday night for dinner? We're
having a few friends.
Are we free, Buljanoff?
Then let's say at nine.
Black tie or white tie?
Oh, let's make it white.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
As they walk into the Royal Suite, Buljanoff tosses off an
ANTEROOM OF ROYAL SUITE
As the three enter, the telephone rings. Buljanoff and
Kopalski go into the living room. Iranoff answers the
(a little bit annoyed)
What is it, Leon?... You can't hurry
such things... You must give Moscow
a little time... There's nothing we
can do about it... why don't you
drop in later?... Au revoir...
He steps into the living room.
As Iranoff enters Buljanoff rushes toward him.
What is it?
A telegram from Moscow! It must have
been here all day!
(joining them and
Halt negotiations immediately. Envoy
extraordinary arrives Thursday six
ten with full power. Your authority
cancelled herewith. Razinin.
It is Thursday!
It's six o'clock already!
They rush into the bedroom.
I always said it would be Siberia!
LOBBY -- HOTEL CLARENCE
Manager at desk. Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski rush from
the direction of the elevator. Iranoff pauses at the desk.
The others go on to the door and wait for him there.
A Special Envoy is coming from Moscow.
He'll occupy the Royal Suite. Move
our things to the smallest room you've
Right away... instantly!
From the door Buljanoff and Kopalski call impatiently.
BULJANOFF AND KOPALSKI
As he starts toward the door, we
PLATFORM -- PARIS RAILROAD STATION
The train has already arrived as the Three Russians hurry
down the platform. Neither do they know the name of the Envoy
Extraordinary, nor his appearance, and they are searching
the crowd for some clue.
This is a fine thing. Maybe we've
missed him already.
How can you find somebody without
knowing what he looks like?
Iranoff points to a bearded man with a knapsack.
That must be the one!
Yes, he looks like a comrade!
They follow the man, but just as they are ready to approach
him he is greeted by a German Girl. Both raise their hands
in the Nazi salute.
BEARDED MAN AND GIRL
As the two embrace, the Three Russians stop in their tracks.
No, that's not him...
By now the platform is almost empty. As the Russians in the
foreground look around helplessly, we see in the background
a woman who obviously is also looking for someone. It is
Ninotchka Yakushova, the Envoy Extraordinary. The Russians
exchange troubled looks and go toward her. Ninotchka comes
forward. As they meet she speaks.
I am looking for Michael Simonovitch
I am Michael Simonovitch Iranoff.
I am Nina Ivanovna Yakushova, Envoy
Extraordinary, acting under direct
orders of Comrade Commissar Razinin.
Present me to your colleagues.
They shake hands. Ninotchka's grip is strong as a man's.
What a charming idea for Moscow to
surprise us with a lady comrade.
If we had known we would have greeted
you with flowers.
Don't make an issue of my womanhood.
We are here for work... all of us.
Let's not waste time. Shall we go?
The Russians are taken aback. As Ninotchka bends down to
lift her two suitcases, Iranoff calls:
A Porter steps up to them.
What do you want?
May I have your bags, madame?
He is a porter. He wants to carry
Why?... Why should you carry other
Well... that's my business, madame.
That's no business... that's a social
That depends on the tip.
(trying to take
Allow me, Comrade.
No, thank you.
Ninotchka takes both suitcases and walks away with the Three
Russians, whose nervousness has increased with every word
from the Envoy Extraordinary.
How are things in Moscow?
Very good. The last mass trials were
a great success. There are going to
be fewer but better Russians.
The hearts of the Three Russians drop to their boots, as we
LOBBY -- HOTEL CLARENCE
Ninotchka, followed by the Russians, comes through the lobby,
observing every detail of these unfamiliar surroundings.
Suddenly she stops. In the showcase of a hat shop in the
lobby is displayed a hat of the John-Frederic's type.
It's a hat, Comrade, a woman's hat.
Ninotchka shakes her head.
Tsk, tsk, tsk, how can such a
civilization survive which permits
women to put things like that on
their heads. It won't be long now,
She walks out of the shot toward the elevator, followed by
the Three Russians, as we
Ninotchka enters, followed by the Three Russians, who by now
are frightened to death.
This is the apartment we have reserved
for you, Comrade Yakushova. I hope
you like it.
(glancing around the
Which part of the room is mine?
You see... it is a little different
here. They don't rent rooms in pieces.
We had to take the whole suite.
Ninotchka begins to unpack her things and puts her typewriter
on the desk.
How much does this cost?
Two thousand francs.
Do you know how much a cow costs,
Two thousand francs. If I stay here
a week I will cost the Russian people
(with an outburst of
Who am I to cost the Russian people
We had to take it on account of the
For ourselves... we are much happier
now since we moved to a little room
next to the servants' quarters.
Ninotchka takes Lenin's picture from her bags.
I am ashamed to put the picture of
Lenin in a room like this.
(she puts the
photograph on the
Comrades, your telegram was received
with great disfavor in Moscow.
We did our best, Comrade.
I hope so for your sake.
(she sits at her desk
and starts to type
Let us examine the case. What does
the lawyer say?
You didn't get legal advice?
We didn't want to get mixed up with
lawyers. They are very expensive
here. If you just say hello to a
lawyer... well, there goes another
We dealt directly with the
representative of the Grand Duchess.
I am sure if we call him he will
give you a very clear picture.
I will not repeat your mistake. I
will have no dealings with the Grand
Duchess nor her representative.
Ninotchka continues to type. The Three Russians watch her
nervously. Each click pounds on their consciences.
Do you spell Buljanoff with one or
(with fright in his
With two f's, if you please.
Ninotchka goes on with her typing. Suddenly she looks up at
Iranoff, who becomes self-conscious and fixes his tie. As he
does so he sees that Ninotchka's glance is concentrated on
the spats which he was wearing and in his hurry forgot to
remove. He knows it is too late to do anything about it except
to stand one foot behind the other, as Ninotchka types faster,
the clicking of her keys twice as loud. Ninotchka picks up
Will you send me some cigarettes,
(suddenly getting up)
Comrades, I am not in a position to
pass final judgment but at best you
have been careless in your duty to
(with utmost gravity)
You were entrusted with more than a
mere sale of jewelry. Why are we
peddling our precious possessions to
the world at this time? Our next
year's crop is in danger and you
know it. Unless we can get foreign
currency to buy tractors there will
not be enough bread for our people.
And you three comrades...
We did it with the best intentions...
We cannot feed the Russian people on
your intentions. Fifty per cent to a
so-called Duchess!... Half of every
loaf of bread to our enemy! Comrade
Kopalski, go at once to our Embassy
and get the address of the best lawyer
You, Comrade Iranoff, go to the Public
Library and get me the section of
the Civil Code on property.
Is there anything I can do, Comrade?
You might get me an accurate map of
Paris. I want to use my spare time
to inspect the public utilities and
make a study of all outstanding
technical achievements in the city.
The buzzer rings.
The three Cigarette Girls enter.
Hello! Hello! Cigarettes?
Ninotchka looks up astonished. Seeing her, the Cigarette
Girls freeze. The Russians stand by quietly.
(looking at the
Comrades, you seem to have been
smoking a lot.
MEDIUM SHOT -- LOBBY -- HOTEL CLARENCE -- EVENING
shooting past the desk toward the revolving door. The
telephone rings and the Desk Clerk answers.
Desk... yes, Monsieur Kopalski...
(he writes down the
...you are expecting Count d'Algout...
uh huh... but he is not to go to the
Royal Suite under any circumstances.
He should go to your new room, 985?
Thank you, monsieur.
(he hangs up the
A few seconds later Ninotchka, naturally completely unaware
of the telephone conversation, passes by. She carries a map
in her hand.
Good evening, madame.
Good evening. She exits out the door.
EXTERIOR, HOTEL CLARENCE
Ninotchka emerges, unfolds the map.
CLOSE-UP -- MAP OF PARIS
in the hands of Ninotchka. The CAMERA ZOOMS down to a CLOSE-
UP of the little drawing of the Hotel Clarence on the map.
The CAMERA then PANS OVER from the Clarence toward the
opposite side of the street, but before we reach the opposite
side we see that in the center of the street is a little
isle of safety. The CAMERA proceeds PANNING to the opposite
side of the square and we
The Real Location Corresponding to That Seen on the Map and
seen from the same ANGLE. It is evening, and along the street
comes Leon on his way to the hotel. The CAMERA PANS with him
as he crosses the street. He reaches the isle of safety and
there passes Ninotchka, who has come from the other side.
They pass on the little isle without noticing each other.
Suddenly we hear the whistle of a traffic policeman and both
Ninotchka and Leon have to step back to the little isle.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA AND LEON
on the little isle. Wanting some information Ninotchka turns
to him -- completely impersonal.
Yes. Could you give me some
How long do we have to wait here?
Well -- until the policeman whistles
At what intervals does he whistle?
How many minutes between the first
and second whistle?
That's funny. It's interesting. I
never gave it a thought before.
Have you never been caught in a
Have I? Do you know when I come to
think about it it's staggering. If I
add it all up I must have spent years
waiting for signals. Imagine! An
important part of my life wasted
In other words you don't know.
Ninotchka gets out her map, starts to unfold it.
Can I help you?
You might hold this for me.
(engrossed in her
Correct me if I am wrong... We are
facing north, aren't we?
Facing north... I'd hate to commit
myself without my compass... Pardon
me... are you an explorer?
No... I am looking for the Eiffel
Is that thing lost again?... Listen...
if you are interested in a view...
I am interested in the Eiffel Tower
from a technical standpoint.
Technical... I couldn't help you
from that angle. You see, a real
Parisian only goes to the top of the
tower in moments of despair to jump
How long does it take a man to land?
Now, isn't that too bad! The last
time I jumped I forgot to clock it!
(looks at map)
Let me see... Eiffel Tower... Your
He takes her finger and points to the map with it.
Why do you need my finger?
Bad manners to point with your own...
Here... the Eiffel Tower.
And where are we?
(shifting her finger
back to the hotel)
Here... here we are... here you are
and here I am... feel it?
I am interested only in the shortest
distance between these two points.
Must you flirt?
I don't have to but I find it natural.
Ninotchka starts to fold her map.
For my own information would you
call your approach toward me typical
of the local morale?
Madame, it is that kind of approach
which has made Paris what it is.
You are very sure of yourself, aren't
Nothing has occurred recently to
shake my confidence.
I have heard of the arrogant male in
capitalistic society. It is having a
superior earning power that makes
you like that.
A Russian! I love Russians! Comrade...
I have been fascinated by your Five-
Year Plan for the past fifteen years!
Your type will soon be extinct.
She walks away from him coldly. Leon stares after her,
ENTRANCE -- GROUND FLOOR OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
Camera moves with Ninotchka as she enters. She approaches an
Please... can you tell me the exact
width of the foundation on which the
piers are resting?... and the depth?
You don't have to worry. The thing
I am not afraid... I want to know...
Leon, who apparently has taken a taxi and prepared himself
otherwise, enters the scene, reading from a book.
The foundation is one hundred and
forty-one yards square...
(he tips his hat and
I hope you'll forgive me but I thought
The CAMERA goes with Ninotchka and Leon as they walk toward
Four massive piers of masonry are
sunk to a depth of forty-six feet on
the side of the Seine, and twenty-
nine and one-half feet on the other
side. The girders of interlaced iron-
work which stay the structure have
an inclination of fifty-four
That's a strange angle.
Yes, very strange.
By now they have reached the staircase. They start up.
(continuing to read)
Ascending to the tower is a staircase
consisting of eight hundred and twenty-
frightens Leon as he
realizes the climb
ahead of him. He
reads on as they
...and an additional two hundred and
fifty-four steps to the very top...
(now Leon stops but
on out of the picture.
Leon calls after her
and reads from his
book in a loud voice)
There is an elevator included in the
price of admission!
Ninotchka continues to climb.
MEDIUM SHOT -- STAIRS (FROM LEON'S ANGLE)
Ninotchka, paying no attention to him, walks up the stairs,
two at a time.
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON
He looks after Ninotchka, then makes up his mind and returns
down the stairs.
GROUND FLOOR -- EIFFEL TOWER, shooting toward the elevator
door. The elevator with several passengers is just about to
leave when Leon hurries into it. The door closes and the
elevator starts to ascend quickly.
HIGHEST PLATFORM -- EIFFEL TOWER
The CAMERA ANGLE includes the elevator door and a beautiful
background view of Paris. The elevator door opens and Leon
emerges leisurely. He is just about to step to the top of
the staircase, when suddenly, to his great amazement, he
sees Ninotchka, who stands at the balustrade overlooking
Paris. She has climbed the tower faster than he despite the
elevator. Dumbfounded, Leon approaches her. Ninotchka turns,
You gave me some very valuable
information. Thank you.
(looking at the
And thank you for getting me up here.
I've never seen this before.
Beautiful, isn't it?
Yes, it is.
I'm glad I saw it before becoming
Do not misunderstand me. I do not
hold your frivolity against you.
(she looks him up and
As basic material you might not be
bad, but you are the unfortunate
product of a doomed culture. I feel
sorry for you.
You must admit that this doomed old
civilization sparkles... It glitters!
Night View of Paris with Its Lights Ablaze, as seen from the
NINOTCHKA AND LEON
I do not deny its beauty, but it is
a waste of electricity.
What a city! There are the Grands
Boulevards... blasted out of the
heart of the old streets. The Arc de
Triomphe... made to greet Napoleon's
army. The Opera! And Montmartre...
Montparnasse... La Bohème... and now
I'll show you the greatest attraction!
(he steps to a
telescope and, taking
some money from his
pocket, drops a coin
in the slot)
It will cost me a franc but it is
(he adjusts the
The most wonderful spot in all Paris --
unique! Here, look....
(she looks in telescope)
What do you see?
I see a house that looks like any
other house. What's remarkable about
It's not the structure but the spirit
which dwells within. There are three
rooms and a kitchenette dedicated to
So that is your house?
Well, let's say I live in it. Such a
pleasant place... all kinds of
comfort, easy to reach, close to
street car, bus, and subway...
(straight from the
Does that mean that you want me to
(feeling that he has
Please don't misunderstand me...
Then you don't want me to go there.
(in a pickle)
Now I didn't say that either...
naturally nothing would please me
Then why don't we go?
(looking at him)
You might be an interesting subject
I will do my best.
They walk toward the elevator as we
INTERIOR, ENTRANCE HALL -- LEON'S APARTMENT
In the foreground stands a console on which is a telephone.
Gaston, Leon's elderly, dignified butler, is answering the
No... Count d'Algout is still out.
Yes, as soon as he returns I'll tell
him. Yes... I'll tell him Monsieur
He puts down the receiver as Leon opens the door with his
key. Ninotchka and Leon enter. Ninotchka, during the following
scene, is studying every detail of the apartment with the
eye of a technical expert.
Good evening, Gaston.
Good evening, Monsieur.
Is this what you call the "butler"?
(takes Gaston's hand)
Good evening, comrade.
This man is horribly old. You should
not make him work.
He takes good care of that.
He looks sad. Do you whip him?
No, though the mere thought makes my
(to the completely
The day will come when you will be
free. Go to bed, little father. We
want to be alone.
Leon opens the door to the living room. Ninotchka enters.
Just as he is about to follow her, Gaston addresses him.
(in a low voice)
Count d'Algout, there have been
Go to bed.
INTERIOR, LIVING ROOM -- LEON'S APARTMENT
Leon enters the room. Closes the door. Ninotchka is examining
Well, may I offer you a drink, or
how about something to eat?
Thank you. I've had all the calories
necessary for today.
Leon feels a little uncertain as to how to approach this
What do we do now?
We take off our hat and coat.
(he takes her things)
We sit down -- we make ourselves
comfortable. We adjust ourselves to
the prospect of a most enjoyable
evening. We look at each other. We
Well... we don't smile. How about
Is that customary?
It helps. It has ever since King
David wooed Bathsheba with the harp.
As I am not so fortunate as to have
my harp at hand, I shall turn on the
I should say this room is eighteen
Not too big and not too small. What
I'd call the typical room of an
average man. Or shall we say a little
above average. Now if there are any
special aspects you wish to study I
have nothing to conceal. Just look
around. That's my desk. Those are my
books, and here am I. Where shall we
I will start with you.
That's great. I'm thirty-five years
old. Just over six feet tall. I weigh
a hundred and eighty-two pounds
And what is your profession?
Keeping my body fit, keeping my mind
alert, keeping my landlord appeased.
That's a full-time job.
And what do you do for mankind?
For mankind not a thing -- for
womankind the record is not quite so
You are something we do not have in
Thank you. Thank you.
That is why I believe in the future
of my country.
I begin to believe in it myself since
I've met you. I still don't know
what to make of it. It confuses me,
it frightens me a little, but it
fascinates me, Ninotchka.
You pronounce it incorrectly. Ni-
That is correct.
Ninotchka, do you like me just a
Your general appearance is not
Look at me. The whites of your eyes
are clear. Your cornea is excellent.
Your cornea is terrific. Tell me --
you're so expert on things -- can it
be that I'm falling in love with
You are bringing in wrong values.
Love is a romantic designation for a
most ordinary biological, or shall
we say chemical, process. A lot of
nonsense is talked and written about
Oh, I see. What do you use instead?
I acknowledge the existence of a
natural impulse common to all.
What can I possibly do to encourage
such an impulse in you?
You don't have to do a thing.
Chemically we are already quite
(bewildered, and yet
You're the most improbable creature
I've ever met in my life, Ninotchka,
You repeat yourself.
I'd like to say it a thousand times.
Don't do it, please.
I'm at a loss, Ninotchka. You must
forgive me if I appear a little old-
fashioned. After all, I'm just a
It's never too late to change. I
used to belong to the petty
bourgeoisie myself. My father and
mother wanted me to stay and work on
the farm, but I preferred the bayonet.
The bayonet? Did you really?
I was wounded before Warsaw.
I was a sergeant in the Third Cavalry
Brigade. Would you like to see my
I'd love to.
(she pulls the blouse
off her shoulder and
shows him her scar)
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
A Polish lancer. I was sixteen.
Poor Ninotchka. Poor, poor Ninotchka.
(readjusting her blouse)
Don't pity me. Pity the Polish lancer.
After all, I'm alive.
More and more puzzled and fascinated, Leon sits down close
What kind of a girl are you, anyway?
Just what you see. A tiny cog in the
great wheel of evolution.
You're the most adorable cog I ever
saw in my life. Ninotchka, Cogitska,
let me confess something. Never did
I dream I could feel like this toward
A clock strikes.
Do you hear that?
It's twelve o'clock.
It's midnight. One half of Paris is
making love to the other half. Look
at the clock. One hand has met the
other hand. They kiss. Isn't that
That's the way a clock works. There's
nothing wonderful about it. You merely
feel you must put yourself in a
romantic mood to add to your
I can't possibly think of a better
It's false sentimentality.
to make her mood
You analyze everything out of
existence. You analyze me out of
existence. I won't let you. Love is
not so simple. Ninotchka, Ninotchka,
why do doves bill and coo? Why do
snails, coldest of all creatures,
circle interminably around each other?
Why do moths fly hundreds of miles
to find their mates? Why do flowers
open their petals? Oh, Ninotchka,
Ninotchka, surely you feel some slight
symptom of the divine passion... a
general warmth in the palms of your
hands... a strange heaviness in your
limbs... a burning of the lips that
is not thirst but a thousand times
more tantalizing, more exalting,
He pauses, waiting for the results of his speech.
You are very talkative.
That is too much for Leon. He takes her into his arms and
Was that talkative?
No, that was restful. Again.
Leon kisses her again.
Oh, my barbaric Ninotchka. My
impossible, unromantic, statistical...
The telephone rings.
The telephone is ringing.
Oh, let it ring.
But one of your friends may be in
need of you. You must answer.
Leon exits out of shot to answer telephone.
CLOSE SHOT -- AT DESK
Leon enters, sits down, takes the telephone.
Hello?... Yes... I'm sorry but I
couldn't make it. I ran into a friend
from the army... What?... The deal
is off! Are you crazy, Buljanoff?...
CLOSE-UP -- NINOTCHKA
She is startled by the name.
LEON -- AT TELEPHONE
...A special envoy arrived... What?...
That sounds better. I'll be glad to
see her any time she wants... Oh,
she doesn't want to see me? What do
you know about that? Why?... Well,
I'll get in touch with her myself.
What's her name?...
(he takes a pencil
and a piece of paper)
...What?... Yaku... How do you spell
it?... Heavens! those Russian names!
(he starts to write
...I... Oh, Y...
Camera pulls back and Ninotchka enters the shot. She takes
pencil from Leon's hand, writes out the name, and leaves
again. At first Leon is not aware of the full significance
of her action. Then it dawns on him.
At last the situation is entirely clear to him.
All right. Thank you.
He hangs up and stares at Ninotchka. She is putting on her
(camera panning with
him as he walks over
He takes her arm.
I must go.
Ninotchka, or shall I say Special
Let's forget that we ever met.
I have a better suggestion. Let's
forget that the telephone ever rang.
I never heard that you are
Yakushova... you are Ninotchka... my
I was sent here by my country to
All right, fight me, fight me as
much as you want, but fight me
tomorrow morning! There's nothing
sweeter than sharing a secret with a
As a representative of Moscow...
Tonight let's not represent anybody
It is out of the question. If you
wish to approach me...
You know I want to...
Then do it through my lawyer!
Ninotchka, you can't walk out like
this... I'm crazy about you, and I
thought I'd made an impression on
you. You liked the white of my eye.
Ninotchka looks at him for a second, then pulls herself
I must go.
She starts for the door.
But, Ninotchka, I held you in my
arms. You kissed me!
I kissed the Polish lancer too...
before he died.
As she goes out, we
THE ENTRANCE HALL -- LEON'S APARTMENT
(Note: We have to invent some brief scene to indicate that
three days have gone by. From this we)
The butler opens the door. Swana enters, her manner showing
her complete familiarity with the place.
Good morning, Your Highness.
Good morning, Gaston.
Count d'Algout is still asleep.
(as she walks toward
That's all right.
The curtains are drawn. The night light is still on. Leon, a
dressing gown over his pajamas, is sound asleep in a big arm
chair. As Swana enters, she sees him with some alarm.
Leon! What in heaven's name...!
Is anything wrong? Are you ill?
Don't tell me the bed has lost its
I just couldn't sleep. I got up and
went back... and then got up again.
These last few days... whew!
Darling, you're taking my business
affairs far too seriously. Much as
I'd love to rob the Bolsheviks of
their filthy money, I won't do it at
the expense of your health.
Particularly as we know we won't get
You look so pale... pale but
There is a knock at the door.
Gaston enters with a breakfast tray.
Your breakfast, monsieur.
I don't feel like any breakfast.
Nonsense. How can you fight the Reds
and make yourself agreeable to the
Whites if you don't keep up your
Shall I draw your bath, sir?
Make it ice cold.
Not in your condition.
Make it tepid, Gaston... tepid and
tender. And lay out his gray suit.
Afterwards I'll drive you through
the Bois. Slowly... in Waltz time.
A blue shirt, perhaps?
Blue? Let's offset his mood. Find a
striped one, and brighten it with a
great blaze of tie.
Very well, Your Highness.
Gaston disappears into the bath-dressing room. Swana makes
Leon sit down and seats herself beside him.
Now... here we have two very handsome
soft-boiled eggs. Do you suppose
hens mind what happens to their eggs?
Probably not. They have such unfeeling
eyes. We'll put in a great nugget of
butter, plenty of pepper and salt...
Darling, I haven't seen you for three
livelong days... seventy-two hours!
Oh, please, Swana! I don't know
whether I'm standing on my head or
my heels. Here you are blaming me
for neglecting you when I'm trying
to concentrate on another woman and
can't get near her.
You haven't seen her yet?
No, and believe me I've tried
everything! I must have telephoned
her a hundred times. I've sent her
telegrams, I've sent her flowers...
I asked her to dinner... I offered
her seats for the Opera...
That proletarian! In the old days
we'd have had her flogged.
That wouldn't have done any good.
Not with her.
She's the most incredible creature
I've ever seen.
You just told me you hadn't seen
Well... er... I caught a glimpse of
her when she walked through the lobby.
Imagine the carpets of a self-
respecting Parisian hotel dirtied by
the boots of a muzhik! What does she
You can't imagine.
Old or young?
Timeless. When she comes into a room
you'd think that the Bolsheviks had
taken over Paris. She wears her cheap
miserable blouse as though it were
the latest model by Schiaparelli.
What a woman! What a woman! There is
a Russian snowstorm in each of her
You saw all that in one glimpse?
Darling, if we're going to get
anywhere someone has to keep his
(he walks over to the
Now, darling, soak in your beautiful
pine bath and let Gaston shave you.
Leon exits into the bathroom. As he does so a bell rings.
There is no answer. After a slight pause she herself goes to
answer the bell.
MEDIUM SHOT -- ENTRANCE HALL -- LEON'S APARTMENT, shooting
toward the door.
Swana goes to the door and opens it. The Three Russians stand
outside. Seeing Swana, they are a little intimidated.
THE THREE RUSSIANS
How do you do?
Swana suspects that for the first time she is being confronted
by representatives of the Soviet government.
We want to talk to Count d'Algout.
My name is Kopalski.
Oh... you are the three gentlemen
You may wait.
She closes the door.
STAIRCASE HALL -- IN FRONT OF LEON'S DOOR
The Three Russians, very impressed, stand looking at the
door which has just been closed.
Imagine! The niece of the Czar opening
the door for us.
Once in Petersburg I was driving
down the Nevsky Prospect in my cart
and Her Highness in her troika swept
down from the opposite direction,
and when I couldn't make way quick
enough she spat in my face.
Now look here, Buljanoff. You never
were in Petersburg, you never owned
a cart, and she never spat in your
face. Who are you trying to impress?
At this moment the door is opened by Leon in his bathrobe.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Come in, come in.
LIVING ROOM -- LEON'S APARTMENT
Leon and the Three Russians enter.
Leon, Leonitchka, she is not going
to negotiate! She is going to fight
that injunction. She's going to make
a precedent of it!
She says she won't be intimidated by
parasites. She called the Duchess a
blood-sucking aristocrat and a
What did she say about me?
(after a moment's
I think she covered you with the
Leon is disappointed.
And Leonitchka! What she said about
And they might believe her in Moscow.
What do you mean they might -- they
We don't blame you, Leon, but when
we came from Russia we believed in
We avoided luxury and extravagance
and today... well, if you were to
offer us a glass of champagne, we
wouldn't say no.
Leon is so engrossed in his thoughts that he overlooks the
Well, boys, I'd like to help you but
what can I do? Yesterday I waited
six hours in the lobby!
She doesn't leave her room! She has
been locked in for the last two days
with lawyers and law books!
All right, then make an appointment
with her so I can see her!
We can't... but you are so ingenious,
You found your way to us and we
weren't easy to reach, were we?
Didn't we put up a strong resistance?
Oh, yes, yes.
You must help us, Leon... if you
don't win her over we're on our way
Or it might be the firing squad!
Or we can't go back to Russia!
An idea dawns on Iranoff.
What's wrong with that?
Kopalski and Buljanoff seize on the same idea.
Yes! We could stay with Leon!
Leon, how would you like to have
three lifelong friends?
Boys, boys... don't forget Russia is
your mother country. Three sons
walking out all at once... that's
too much for any mother.
Well, if your mother turns against
you, you have to look for someone to
Swana's voice comes from the next room.
Leon! Just a minute...
Leon goes back to the other room.
LEON'S BEDROOM -- CLOSE SHOT, shooting toward the door of
the living room.
Swana stands putting on her gloves.
I'm leaving, dear. I'm lunching at
Fouquet's if you can make it, and...
Leon, remember, a man should think
it over twice before he decides to
become a mother.
She kisses him lightly and walks out.
LIVING ROOM -- ROYAL SUITE -- MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT -- AT THE
It is piled deep with law books and papers. Ninotchka sits
at it, conferring with two Lawyers.
I seem to remember some additional
injunctive provision dealing with
the property of foreigners residing
(with the precision
of a machine)
You are referring to paragraph 59b,
section 25f of the Civil Code.
The Lawyers exchange a glance of surprise at her knowledge.
One of them takes up one of the law books and as he starts
to look up the case, Ninotchka speaks.
Page eight hundred twenty-four.
Again the Lawyers exchange a glance of astonishment.
And do not fail to read the three
footnotes. While you are studying it
I will eat.
(She picks up the
A LITTLE CORNER IN THE ROOM SERVICE PANTRY
Rakonin is answering the telephone.
Room service... Just a moment please.
He beckons to someone out of the scene. Leon enters the scene
and takes the telephone.
(with an assumed French
accent -- into phone)
Room service speaking.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA -- AT THE PHONE
Send me a plate of raw carrots and
beets, beets predominating on a ratio
of sixty-forty... What? There is a
strike in the kitchen? Good! Will
you assure the strikers of my hearty
sympathy in their cause. I hope they
will not weaken in their demands and
tell them to put no dressing
whatsoever on my vegetables... What?
You won't serve me either? Now look
here, Comrade, I think it is a fine
idea to let the capitalists go without
luncheon but when you keep food away
from me you're weakening the people.
CLOSE SHOT -- ROOM-SERVICE PANTRY -- LEON AT PHONE
So! You want to make a strike breaker
out of me! I am surprised at you,
Comrade! Is it too much for the
workers of the world to ask you to
walk around the corner for lunch?
All I can say to you is take your
hammer and sickle and get out of
that Royal Suite!
He hangs up the telephone with a triumphant smile.
LOBBY OF THE HOTEL CLARENCE
Ninotchka emerges from the elevator and starts toward the
street. As she passes the showcase of the millinery shop
again, she stops and looks at the same hat. Again she shakes
her head sadly.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
She walks toward the street, as we
EXTERIOR, HOTEL CLARENCE
A taxi is parked at the curb. Ninotchka comes from the hotel
and goes to the taxi.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA AND TAXI DRIVER
The Driver puts his hand on the handle of his cab's door
Where to, madame?
Can you recommend a restaurant?
Well, there's Pruniers if you care
for seafood. If you want to lunch in
the Bois, there's...
Where do you eat?
At Père Mathieu's.
Where is that?
It's just a place for workmen.
Where is it?
Eight blocks down in the Rue de
He opens the door of his cab.
She turns and starts away in the direction he has indicated.
The Driver looks after her astounded.
The CAMERA PANS from her to the car which stands behind the
taxi. It is Leon's smart roadster. Leon sits at the wheel.
He too is looking after Ninotchka, astonished. He gets out
of his car and starts in the direction she has taken. As he
does so, we
PARIS STREET -- IN FRONT OF PÈRE MATHIEU'S
Père Mathieu's is a workman's restaurant set a few steps
below the level of the sidewalk. A few typical French workmen
are going in for lunch. Ninotchka enters the scene, looks
around for a second, then goes in too.
INTERIOR -- PÈRE MATHIEU'S
It is a pleasantly simple place crowded with workmen sitting
at lunch. An electric piano is playing. Père Mathieu, greeting
all his guests like a typical restaurateur, sees Ninotchka
This way, madame. Are you alone? By
the window perhaps?
(He leads the way)
Or a nice little corner table?
This will do.
(She sits down)
I think this is the first time you
have been to my little place. Your
face is new to me. Now, what shall
Raw carrots and beets.
Oh, madame! This is a restaurant,
not a meadow.
He hands her a slate on which the menu is written.
Here is what we are offering today.
Please make your choice. I am sure
you will find something to tempt
Suddenly Ninotchka stares in the direction of the door.
MEDIUM SHOT -- AT THE DOOR
Leon has just entered. The CAMERA follows him as he makes
his way casually in Ninotchka's direction affecting not to
see her. He seats himself at the table directly opposite
Ninotchka and pretends to be overwhelmed with surprise as he
Why, hello! It certainly is a small
SHOT INCLUDING BOTH TABLES
Well, madame? Shall we start with
soup? Fish soup today. I got up at
five to fish them from the Seine.
(calling over to Père
Crayfish soup for me!
Very well, monsieur.
(back to Ninotchka)
Then, may I suggest an omelet with
Bring me something simple. I never
think about food.
But, madame! If you don't think about
food what do you think about?
The future of the common people.
That also is a question of food,
madame. I'll bring you a nice little
lunch à la Père Mathieu.
Leon leans toward Ninotchka with mock humility.
Pardon me for addressing you but you
insulted him, you know that. You
hurt his feelings. It was just like
telling a musician you don't like
music. That good old man believes in
food as you believe in Karl Marx.
You can't go around hurting people,
Comrade Yakushova, but maybe you can
make it up to him. Do you know how?
(He changes to the
chair at his table
which is closest to
By eating everything with relish, by
drinking everything with gusto, by
having a good time for the first
time in your natural life!
I don't like your following me.
I didn't follow you.
Then how did you get here?
I always eat here.
This is a place for workmen.
(laying it on thick)
But my dear child, I am most at home
among working men. I hate the places
where you circulate -- the Hotel
Clarence... This is my natural
element. After all, what are any of
us? Workingmen! At least, those of
us who are worth our salt. Hyah?
He waves off scene to a truckman.
He is in the middle of an enormous gulp of food. He registers
surprise, winks at his companion, and then, deciding to humor
a drunk, waves back energetically at Leon in greeting.
CUT BACK TO:
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON AND NINOTCHKA
Leon has been so successful with the truckman he tries it on
Another truckman responds with equal exuberance.
LONG SHOT -- RESTAURANT
Leon, intoxicated with his success, waves to the whole room.
He gets a wonderful response from all. They realize that a
swell drunk is among them.
LEON AND NINOTCHKA
They are all my friends. They're a
Père Mathieu enters the shot and serves a plate of soup to
Leon and one to Ninotchka.
(trying his bluff on
Ah, my friend! I'm happy to see you
I'm always glad to meet a new
customer, and I hope this first visit
will not be your last.
He exits out of shot.
Ninotchka, her suspicion confirmed, looks at Leon.
Just an old man. His memory is getting
What are you after?
Must one always be after something?
Your tactics are useless. My name is
neither Buljanoff, Iranoff, nor
Oh, Ninotchka, who wants to talk
business. If you win the suit, fine.
If we win the suit, better. You do
me an injustice.
(He moves over to her
table, leaving the
soup at his table)
When we went to my apartment did I
have the slightest idea that you had
any connection with this deal?
But you have now, and I know now
that you are a man who employs
business methods which in Russia
would be punished by death.
Death! Death! Always so glum! What
about life, Ninotchka! Do Russians
never think of life? Of the moment
in which we are living? The only
moment we really have? Don't take it
all so seriously, Ninotchka. Nothing
is worth it. Please... relax... I
beg you, Sergeant... smile!
Will you smile?
At anything. At the whole ludicrous
spectacle of life. At people being
pompous and taking themselves
seriously and exaggerating their own
importance. If you can't find anything
else to laugh at you can laugh at
you and me.
Because we are an odd couple.
Then you should go back to your table.
No, I can't leave you. I won't. Not
yet. Not until I've made you laugh...
at least once.
To get rid of him Ninotchka emits a joyless sound which
approximates a laugh.
Ha! Ha! Now go back.
That's not a laugh! I mean a laugh
from the heart. Now let's see. I'm
going to tell you a funny story.
Just a moment... I've got it! Well,
it seems there were a couple of
Frenchmen who went to America...
On which boat?
(thrown off by her
Well, er... let's drop it. I don't
think you would care for that one.
Do you like Scotch stories?
I have never heard one.
Two Scotchmen met on the street...
and I don't know the name of the
street and it really doesn't matter.
Well, anyway, one's name was McIntosh
and the other's was McGillicuddy.
McIntosh says to McGillicuddy, "Hello,
Mr. McGillicuddy," and McGillicuddy
says to McIntosh, "Hello, Mr.
McIntosh," and then McIntosh says to
McGillicuddy, "How is Mrs.
McGillicuddy?" and then McGillicuddy
says to McIntosh, "How is Mrs.
I wish they had never met.
So do I.
(after a little pause)
Now, here's a great one... Ha! Ha!
(he looks at Ninotchka
and her expression
Well, maybe it's not so good. Let's
forget it! How's this? Two men are
looking at the moon. One says to the
other, "Is it true that a lot of
people live on the moon?" "Yes, it
is," says the other, "five hundred
million." "Whew!" replies the first,
"they must get pretty crowded when
it's half moon!" Ha! Ha! Ha!
There is no response from Ninotchka.
(starting to get sore)
I suppose you don't think that's
It seemed funny to me when I first
heard it. Maybe the trouble isn't
with the joke. Maybe it's with you!
I don't think so.
Maybe you haven't any sense of humor.
Well, I'll give you one more chance!
He gets up and speaks in a threatening voice audible to the
When I heard this joke for the first
time I laughed myself sick. Here
goes! A man comes into a restaurant
and sits down and says, "Waiter! Get
me a cup of coffee without cream."
After five minutes the waiter comes
back and says, "I'm sorry, sir, we're
all out of cream, can it be without
GROUP OF SEVERAL WORKMEN
They have overheard the story and all burst into laughter.
NINOTCHKA AND LEON
Ninotchka continues to eat her soup without a shadow of a
Not funny, huh?
So you don't think that's funny? It
is funny! Everyone else thinks so!
Maybe you didn't get it.
He sits down again.
I'll tell you that joke again. A man
comes into a restaurant. Did you get
He sits down at the table and says
to the waiter... Did you get that
Well, so far it isn't funny, but
wait. He says to the waiter, "Waiter!
Bring me a cup of coffee." So the
waiter comes back five minutes later
and says, "I'm sorry, sir, we have
(he realizes he has
made a mistake)
Wait a minute... wait a minute...
I'm all mixed up...
(he starts over again)
A man comes in a restaurant, he sits
down, he calls the waiter and he
says, "Waiter! Get me a cup of coffee
without cream," and five minutes
later the waiter comes back and says,
"I'm sorry, sir, we have no cream,
can it be a glass of milk!"
He gets up and goes over to his table furiously.
Ah! You have no sense of humor! That
settles it! You have no sense of
humor! None! No humor!!
In his excitement he leans on the shaky table. It topples
forward. Simultaneously his feet shoot from under him and he
sits violently on the floor, the contents of the table
crashing about him, hot soup in his face.
A terrific roar of laughter arises; the whole restaurant is
rocking with laughter.
For a split second Ninotchka makes an effort to control the
irresistible impulse to laugh but loses the battle and herself
roars with laughter.
What's funny about this?
Ninotchka's laughter is uncontrollable.
After a moment Leon gets up and sits next to her. As he dries
himself with his napkin he sees the humor of the situation
and starts to howl with laughter too. The ice is broken at
On their mutual wild hilarity, we
LIVING ROOM -- ROYAL SUITE
A conference is in session -- Ninotchka, her two Lawyers,
and the Three Russians. Ninotchka sits at the desk, leaning
back in the chair, looking into space, and apparently weighing
every point which is brought up. One of the lawyers is reading
from a document.
In addition to the arguments above
enumerated for lifting this
injunction, we wish to cite the
decision of the High Court of Paris,
rendered in the case of Princess
Marishka against the Government of
Montenegro on the fifth day of August,
1897. Comparing the facts in that
case with our present set of facts
we feel that the Treaty between the
Republic of France and the U.S.S.R.
should prevail over all...
Suddenly Ninotchka laughs. Everyone looks at her astonished.
Ninotchka gets up.
I'm sorry, gentlemen. The other day
I heard such a funny story...
(she laughs again)
It still makes me laugh. It is very
(a little embarrassed)
I am sorry. Oh yes... about this
The hearing is set for the twentieth
of this month.
(not thinking of the
That's two weeks from Thursday...
We did our utmost to have it set
from her former
I know, gentlemen, but it is in the
hands of the Court. We're helpless,
Yes. It is unfortunate.
Well, there's nothing we can do about
it. Why get excited?
The Three Russians as well as the Lawyers are puzzled.
The Russians exchange hopeful glances.
We'll leave these papers here for
your further consideration. Au revoir,
The Lawyers leave.
Left alone with the Russians, Ninotchka is unable to conceal
her happiness entirely.
Well, it means another two weeks in
Too bad we have to waste all that
I acted on your suggestion and got
in touch with the Power and Light
authorities. Whenever you want to
visit their plants they are open to
(a little bit dreamily)
Oh yes, Power and Light. Thank you.
There's something else which I know
will appeal to you. A visit to the
Paris sewers. They tell me it is
Huh?... Why don't you get a haircut,
Buljanoff? You all look so wintry,
Comrades. And why do we always keep
the windows closed?
(she opens the window)
Isn't it amazing, at home there's
still snow and ice and here... Look
at the birds. I always felt a little
hurt that our swallows deserted us
in the winter for capitalistic
countries. Now I know why. We have
the high ideal but they have the
climate... well, Comrades, I don't
think I need you any more.
If there is anything we can do for
No, not a thing. Would you like to
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Thank you, Comrade.
Have you any money?
The Russians stammer a negative answer.
Smiling benevolently, Ninotchka goes to the table, takes
several bills from her handbag, and goes back, extending a
fifty-franc bill to Kopalski.
Well, here are fifty francs.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
Thank you, Comrade, thank you.
Bring me forty-five back.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
The Three Russians leave. Ninotchka waits a moment. Then
hurries to the door and turns the key. Camera follows her as
she goes into the bedroom. She proceeds to the door leading
to the corridor and turns its key. She goes to the table and
takes a little key from her handbag, goes to the bureau and
unlocks the drawer, opens it, and, just as she is about to
take out something, her eye falls on the night table, where
she sees the picture of Lenin which she brought with her
from Moscow. She walks over to it and turns its face against
the wall, then goes back to the bureau and takes from the
drawer the very hat which twice aroused her disapproval when
it was displayed in the millinery shop in the lobby.
She moves over to the large mirror, puts the hat on her head,
is uncertain whether it is right side to fore, and changes
it. She looks at herself, aghast at seeing a complete
stranger. She sits down, still staring in the mirror, then
leans forward and rests her chin on her hand. As she sits
studying the new Ninotchka suspiciously, we
LIVING ROOM -- LEON'S APARTMENT
It is evening. Leon is walking nervously up and down. Gaston
is puttering over the drink table.
(consulting his watch)
What time have you, Gaston?
Eight forty-two, sir.
I guess it is eight forty-two.
You seem to be a bit nervous, sir.
I am, Gaston.
If you will forgive me, ever since
you met that Bolshevik lady I've
noticed a distinct change in you,
Decidedly. Yesterday I was greatly
amazed when I came from the market
and found that you had made your
And Gaston, I was happier all day
long. I felt I'd contributed
Well, sir, if you should do it again,
which I hope you won't, please
remember the order. Counterpane,
blanket, blanket, sheet, sheet.
Ah, there's something poetic about
the simple processes of labor.
Counterpane, blanket, blanket, sheet,
sheet... it should be set to music!
May I add, sir, that it was with
great amazement that I found a copy
of Karl Marx's Capital on your night
table. That is a socialistic volume
which I refuse to so much as dust,
sir. I view with alarm, sir, the
influence over you of this Bolshevik
I can't follow you, Gaston, isn't it
about time that you realized the
unfairness of your position? You
being my servant? Wouldn't you like
to stand on an equal footing with
Isn't there any revolt in you?
Sometimes when I order you around
don't you feel like kicking me in
Oh, you're a reactionary! Don't you
look forward to the day when you can
come in here and stand square on
your two feet and say, "Hey, you,
d'Algout! from now on it's going to
be share and share alike"?
Emphatically not, sir. The prospect
terrifies me. Now, don't misunderstand
me, sir, I don't resent your not
paying me for the past two months,
but the thought that I should split
my bank account with you... that you
should take half of my life's
savings... that is really too much
The door bell rings. Gaston starts for the door. With a
gesture Leon stops him.
Go to bed, little father, go to bed.
Gaston leaves through the other door as Leon exits toward
the entrance hall.
ENTRANCE HALL -- LEON'S APARTMENT
Leon enters the scene. He opens the door. Outside stands
Ninotchka wearing her new hat timidly as well as a completely
new outfit which she has bought, apparently to match the new
hat. It takes Leon a few seconds to digest her new splendor.
He takes her hand and leads her in, closing the door. He
looks at her again and kisses her hand.
I don't look too foolish?
Foolish? If this dress were to walk
down the boulevard all by itself I
would follow it from one end of Paris
to the other, and when I caught up
with it I would say, "Just a moment,
you charming little dress, I want
you to meet Ninotchka... you two
were meant for each other." Ninotchka
feels more comfortable.
Leon leads her into the living room.
LIVING ROOM -- LEON'S APARTMENT
They both enter. Ninotchka pauses a second and looks around.
You remember this room?
I've never been here before. I wonder
whom you're thinking of. Oh, I know,
a girl with a map, figuring out each
step, worrying about north and south.
Today... now this might shock you...
I went up to a taxi and said "Eight
Rue du Bois"... and here I am.
You see? Life can be so simple.
For twelve francs, seventy-five.
Twelve seventy-five from the Clarence?
The son-of-a-gun made a detour!...
But he got you here.
At this moment the clock starts to strike. They both look
INSERT -- CLOCK
The hands register nine o'clock.
LEON AND NINOTCHKA
Leon wants to take her in his arms. She resists a little.
It's nine o'clock.
That's when one half of Paris says
to the other half, "What are your
plans for this evening, madame?"
(getting more and
more in the spirit
of her change of
Well, first I should like to take
off my hat and jacket.
(Leon takes them)
Then could we have some music?
A wonderful idea! Radio or records?
Not radio. Let's have music that's
just for ourselves.
Leon turns on the victrola.
(with great feeling
I'll play it softly because I have
things to tell you about which I
He walks back to Ninotchka, who by now is seated in an
armchair. He sits on the arm of the chair. He tries to make
a declaration of his love. He stammers several words.
Well, my darling... I... we...
It is no use. In a sudden outburst of emotion he takes her
in his arms and kisses her.
(as they come out of
You see I couldn't shout that.
(with great feeling)
Leon, you know the jokes you told me
a few days ago? I wake up in the
middle of the night and laugh at
them. Now, Leon that's wrong. I know
they're not funny, they're silly.
They're stupid. And still... I
laugh... and when I look at Buljanoff
and Iranoff and Kopalski I know they
are scoundrels and I should hate
them -- then I realize who made them
like that, and instead of sending my
report to Moscow I tear it up and go
down and buy a ridiculous hat... and
if this keeps on... am I too
No... go on.
Leon, I want to tell you something
which I thought I never would say,
which I thought nobody ever should
say, because I thought it didn't
exist... and, Leon... I can't say
They kiss again. As the kiss ends they look at each other
for a second.
Ninotchka gets up and goes toward the desk, sits in the desk
chair, opens her handbag, which lies there, and takes from
it a little mirror and a lipstick. Before she uses it she
looks at Leon with guilty happiness. Leon looks at her with
great tenderness and walks over to the desk and stands looking
at her as she makes up her lips.
What a gesture for a sergeant.
As soon as she is finished, Ninotchka slips the mirror and
lipstick back into her handbag and, as she does so, glances
at the top of the desk.
Leon, I would like to ask you
If you don't want to answer, you
needn't. But if you do, you must
tell me the truth.
I promise... I swear.
Did you make any change in this room?
I don't think so.
When I was here before I noticed a
photograph of a woman on the desk in
a wide silver frame. I thought what
a waste of silver. That's all that
interested me then. Now I would like
to know... what happened to the woman?
Leon too is completely serious by now. For answer he quietly
opens the drawer of the desk. Ninotchka looks in and takes
from the drawer the photograph. As she looks at it she rises.
Leon nods gravely.
(looking at the picture)
She is very attractive. She has great
(she looks back at
She's what you call a woman of the
world, isn't she?
(after a little pause)
Ninotchka, I love you.
I suppose she is very entertaining...
It must be lots of fun to be with
her, so witty, so glamorous...
Ninotchka, you're jealous.
Ninotchka nods sadly.
(with great feeling)
Leon, don't ever ask me for a picture
of myself... I couldn't bear the
thought of being shut up in a
drawer... I couldn't breathe, I
couldn't stand it.
As he takes her in his arms, we
INTERIOR, SMART NIGHT CLUB
Duchess Swana enters with a party consisting of General
Savitzky and five other smartly dressed people of the world.
The Headwaiter hurries to greet Swana.
Good evening, Your Highness.
Good evening, Louis. You seem to be
very crowded tonight. Can you manage
a table near the floor?
Certainly, Your Highness, this way
please... Count d'Algout made the
reservation this afternoon.
It is only a small table but it will
be no trouble to put in some extra
Swana has grasped the situation by now.
No, that's another party.
In order to save the situation one of the ladies makes a
Why don't we go some other place?
It's so crowded here.
(delighted at her
No, no! This is glory! At last I'm
going to have a look at that female
Bolshevik. Can you give us another
Only one in the rear, I'm afraid.
Camera moves with the group as the Headwaiter leads it toward
ANOTHER WOMAN GUEST
You mean Leon's bringing the Bolshevik
you told us about?
Isn't it divine?
I wouldn't have missed this for the
(very gay, in
anticipation of a
Now, we must be very discreet. If
she sucks her soup and drinks out of
her finger bowl, I don't want anyone
(everybody in the
We must not embarrass little Leon.
He is going through enough for my
sake. We mustn't add insult to injury
By now they have reached the table in the rear.
Is this satisfactory?
Thank you, Louis.
They sit down. The Headwaiter bends over General Savitzky,
an elderly Russian aristocrat, who sits next to Swana.
Is it to be dinner, monsieur?
Possibly later. We'll just start
(to the party)
I'm only afraid that the doorman may
spoil our fun. If only he lets her
Swana laughs and everyone joins in her laughter.
Yes, General Savitzky?
I want you to know all the White
Russian exiles in Paris are keeping
their fingers crossed about the
jewels. They are very interested in
the case. Swana suspects her
Are they indeed? Thank you.
They hope the settlement will bring
you a fortune.
General, please... if you hear any
rumors that I am a charitable person,
will you please kill them at their
As she is lighting a cigarette a guest suddenly looks toward
the entrance and sees Leon.
Look! There's Leon!
Joyfully Swana looks toward the entrance, as does everyone
else at the table.
EVERYONE AT THE TABLE
Oh yes! Where? There! Oh! How
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON AT THE ENTRANCE
Suddenly, through the door of the cloakroom comes Ninotchka,
radiant in a beautiful evening gown.
Swana's expression freezes as she sees Ninotchka. The rest
of the guests stare in an embarrassed silence, save for one
bird-brained little guest, named Marianne, who feels it her
mission to save the situation.
Isn't she something?
A neighbor nudges her warningly. Swana withers her with a
glance and rises.
Shall we dance, General Savitzky?
Swana and the General leave for the dance floor. The guest
who has nudged her turns to Marianne.
Are you crazy?
How could you make such a remark?
Swana isn't stupid.
What did I say? I just said "isn't
she something?" I didn't say something
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON'S TABLE
Leon and Ninotchka are seated and a Waiter stands by them
presenting a bottle of champagne to Leon for his approval.
Is it dry?
Is that right or do you prefer it
I wouldn't know. The closest I ever
came to champagne was in a newsreel.
The wife of some president was
throwing it at a battleship.
It's always good luck to launch
something with champagne; a
battleship... or an evening.
By now the Waiter is filling their glasses. Ninotchka lifts
her glass and looks at it.
It's funny to look back. I was brought
up on goat's milk, I had a ration of
vodka in the army, and now champagne.
From goats to grapes. That's drinking
in the right direction.
Ninotchka takes her first sip of champagne. Leon drinks and
watches her. The first sip proves a painful surprise.
Ninotchka's face is that of a child who has been fed a bad
Ugh... um... oh...
(slowly the delight
of champagne dawns
on her and her face
breaks into a smile)
She drinks the whole glass at once. Leon looks at her in
amused surprise. He drinks too. The Waiter fills their glasses
From what I read I thought champagne
was a strong drink. It's very
delicate. Do people ever get drunk
There have been cases... but the
headache the next morning is worth
while -- if you drink it with the
(he raises his glass
To us, Ninotchka!
They clink glasses and drink again, looking at each other.
LONG SHOT OF THE TABLE, including part of the dance floor.
As Leon and Ninotchka lift their glasses again, Swana and
General Savitzky start to dance by the table. Swana stops,
pretending complete astonishment.
Hello, Leon! What a surprise! You of
all people! How are you, my dear?
Leon gets up. Ninotchka watches the scene tensely.
Hello, Swana. How do you do, General
How do you do?
You're looking magnificent, Leon...
(to General Savitzky)
...isn't he, General Savitzky?
Leon knows that Swana wants to embarrass him but is
Is this your new dress suit?
Didn't I tell you Benson and Benson
were the tailors for you?
Yes, Swana, you did.
It's a dream of beauty. He never
takes my word for anything, but I
was right, wasn't I?
Am I interrupting?
Not at all. Your Highness, may I
present Madame Yakushova?
How do you do?
How do you do?
And General Savitzky.
How do you do?
How do you do?
I've some wonderful news for you,
Leon. It's about Punchy... do you
mind if I sit down?
(realizing that he
cannot prevent it)
Swana sits down.
(to General Savitzky)
General, would you mind making my
excuses at our table? I'll be back
in a few moments.
He bows and leaves.
CLOSE SHOT -- ALL THREE SITTING AT THE TABLE
Well, Leon, we can be proud of our
Punchy. He had a triumph at the dog
During the following speech, Ninotchka's expression does not
change. She knows exactly the game Swana is playing.
He won another blue ribbon and bit
the judge. Ha! ha! ha! I bought him
the cutest sweater as a reward. You
should see him strut down the street
in it. He looks like a little
You see, Count d'Algout gave me Punchy
for my birthday.
You must have searched weeks before
you found anything as divine as
Punchy, didn't you, Leon?
(fed up with Swana's
Poor Madame Yakushova... here we are
talking in mysteries.... I'm sure
you wonder what it's all about.
(dry and direct)
Not at all.... I understand perfectly,
Count d'Algout gave you a dog. You
made it very clear, madame.
Dear me... I must be losing my
finesse. If I'm not careful I'll be
understood by everybody.
There's a charming crowd here tonight,
I'm going, Leon...
(she rises, as does
Leon, delighted to
get rid of her)
but before I leave I must compliment
you on your gown, Madame Yakushova.
Is that what they're wearing in Moscow
No, last year, madame.
Swana sits again, as does Leon.
Isn't it amazing! One gets a wrong
impression of the new Russia.
It must be charming. I'm glad
conditions are so improved. I assume
this is what the factory workers
wear at their dances?
Exactly. You see, it would have been
embarrassing for people of my sort
to wear low-cut gowns in the old
Russia. The lashes of the Cossacks
across our backs were not very
becoming, and you know how vain women
You're absolutely right about the
Cossacks. We made an unpardonable
mistake when we let them use their
knouts. They had such reliable guns.
Leon has grown more and more uncomfortable as the two ladies
Will you do me a favor? Stop talking
about the good old days.
A very wise suggestion, Leon. I'm
afraid madame and I will never agree.
(she plays her trump
The only thing we have in common is
our lawsuit and that will be decided
next week. I understand everything
will be over by Thursday. Am I right?
Ninotchka and Leon realize the malice and yet the truth of
You're right, madame, it will all be
over by Thursday.
(rubbing it in)
It is unfortunate that you have so
few more days in Paris.
(she turns to Leon)
Be sure and redouble your efforts so
that madame can take some pleasant
memories when she returns to Moscow.
(she rises, Leon rising
(Ninotchka nods without
answering. To Leon)
Good night, Leon.
Good night, Swana.
Swana leaves the table. Leon sits again. The mood of the two
has been changed by the problem of their separation, which
has been brought before them. They sit in silence for a
moment. Ninotchka speaks first.
Now I think I need a glass of
Leon fills their glasses. They drink. Then Leon takes
(trying to break the
Quickly, please... tell me one of
your funny stories.
A funny story?
You never finished the one about the
two Scotchmen with the names.
Well, there were two Scotchmen. One
was named McIntosh and one was named
McGillicuddy. They met on the street.
No, darling. I'll tell you another
story, a much better one.
(with deep sincerity)
The only thing that will be over on
Thursday is the lawsuit. There will
be no Thursday for us. Not next week
or any week. We won't let it happen.
I'll tear it out of the calendar. Is
that a good story?
Wonderful -- if one could believe
You must, darling.
(lifting her glass)
To the loveliest story I ever heard.
They drink. The orchestra starts a number.
(afraid of where the
Shall we dance?
They both start toward the dance floor.
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON AND NINOTCHKA, DANCING A WALTZ
At the second turn Ninotchka starts to feel the effect of
Oo! Darling! Something is the matter.
You just made that trip from goats
to grapes a little too fast.
Oh, everything is so wonderful! It's
getting farther and farther away!
Yes. Don't worry. Everything will be
In the gayest mood, Ninotchka addresses the crowd on the
Darling, darling... please!
I must talk to my brothers!
Don't shush me. I am People! I want
to make a speech. I want to overthrow
Leon starts to lead her off the dance floor.
But, darling, you can't do that.
Comrades! Good people of France!
Now, Ninotchka... please!
They are all Duchesses here...
thousands of Duchesses... and I am
going to tell them.
By now they have almost reached the powder room.
Quite right... yes, yes, yes, but
first you're going in that door and
you're going to take a little spirits
of ammonia and lie down.
(as though he were
addressing a little
I love you, my little Leonitchka!
And I adore you, Ninotchua.
Ninotchka goes unsteadily into the powder room. Leon wipes
his forehead in relief and goes to the bar, followed by the
(to the bartender)
Give me a double brandy.
CLOSE SHOT -- DOOR OF THE POWDER ROOM
A group of four to six women come out whispering excitedly
about something which must have happened within.
CAMERA goes with them as they go to the Manager of the
restaurant and crowd about him and whisper what has happened.
CLOSE SHOT -- BAR
The bartender gives Leon his double brandy and Leon tosses
it off. The Manager comes into the shot and addresses Leon.
I'm very sorry, Count d'Algout, it
is most embarrassing, but the lady
you brought with you tonight is
spreading communistic propaganda in
the powder room.
Leon stares at him for a second, then turns to the bartender.
Give me another double brandy.
That kind of propaganda is bad
anywhere, but inciting the attendants
of a powder room to go on strike....
Well, if she succeeds the consequences
will be disastrous.
What can I do about it?
She has been asked to leave the powder
room but without success. We would
appreciate if you would see to it
You want me to go in there?
I'm sorry, sir, but I must insist.
The Manager bows and walks away. Leon gulps down the second
double brandy. The CAMERA follows him as he proceeds toward
the powder room like a hero going into battle. Just as he is
about to enter, a very dignified elderly lady comes out, is
surprised at his attempted entrance, and glares at him. Leon
loses his courage and FOLLOWED BY THE CAMERA goes back to
the bar to strengthen it with some of the Dutch variety.
(completely exhausted --
to the bartender)
Make it a triple brandy. As we
LIVING ROOM -- THE ROYAL SUITE
Rakonin, the waiter, opens the door. Ninotchka and Leon,
both very tipsy by now, enter the room. Leon is carrying a
bottle of champagne in a napkin. As he passes the waiter he
All right... you can tell the
Duchess... you can tell everybody...
they know anyhow... it doesn't make
any difference... now get out!
Rakonin, who seems very interested in the situation, closes
Leon goes to Ninotchka. Both sit on a couch.
(moving close to him)
Don't tell them where we're going,
No. Nobody will find us.
Ninotchka is lyrically tight. Through her there shines a
Are we going to build our little
Yes... a little white house.
Not white, darling.
All right, we'll make it red.
No, don't let's have it any color...
no color... just a house house...
let's form our own party.
Right: Lovers of the world unite!
And we won't stretch up our arms...
...and we won't clench our fist...
Our salute will be a kiss.
Yes... a kiss... salute!
She sinks into his arms and they kiss.
(still in his arms)
I am so happy. No one can be so happy
without being punished. I will be
punished and I should be punished.
(she gets up)
I want to confess, darling.
I know... it's the Russian soul.
(her gaiety mixed
Everyone wants to confess and if
they don't confess they make them
confess. I am a traitor. When I kissed
you I betrayed the Russian ideal.
Leon, I should be stood up against
Leon gets up.
Would that make you any happier?
Still carrying the champagne bottle, Leon leads her to the
end of the room and stands her against the wall. He takes
the napkin from the champagne bottle and puts it over her
eyes. The CAMERA moves with him as he goes away from
Ninotchka, and as he walks he starts to open the champagne.
The cork pops.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA, as she sinks gently into a chair.
I have paid the penalty. Now let's
have some music.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA AND LEON
Let's turn on the radio.
Radio! What is radio?
It's a little box that you buy on
the installment plan and before you
tune it in they tell you they have a
Oh yes, yes. It has a little knob
that turns... a little knob... it
must be somewhere around here...
yes... here... I see...
Confusedly Ninotchka starts looking for something, repeating,
"a little knob... a little knob." Followed by Leon she goes
toward the safe, opens the concealing door, and both are
delighted as they see the safe's dial.
Here it is!
Leon nods approval and starts to turn the dial.
What shall we get? The news!
No, no news. We don't want to know
what's happening in the world. We
want to be left alone, don't we?
Yes, sweetheart... all by ourselves.
Well, then we turn twice to the right
and stop at seven...
Leon follows her instructions.
(after a little pause,
Well, it has to warm up... you have
to give it a chance... just like
people... like you and me... first
you wanted to fight me and now we
belong to the same party... salute!
He takes her in his arms and again they embrace.
(as though she were
Now twice to the left and stop at
Leon again follows her instructions.
INTERIOR -- SAFE, shooting toward the door.
Leon opens the door and both look into the safe.
No, no music.
Through her fog, Ninotchka becomes aware of the case
containing the jewels.
There it is... Thursday... you can't
rip it out of the week....
But I can throw it out of the window.
It wouldn't be fair to the man in
(she pushes back the
There they are... they are terrible
things, those jewels....
...they are the tears of Old Russia...
see that stone?
Who cried that one?
Czar Peter gave it to his wife,
Catherine the Great. For it he sold
ten thousand serfs in the market.
Now, darling, don't get impatient,
wait until we are married. You know
that worthless butler of mine...
that reactionary? Some day when I
come home to you I may say, "Darling,
I drove Gaston to the market and
look what I got from him!"
From the case of jewels he takes a beautiful diadem and holds
it in front of her.
(the economist now)
First ten thousand serfs... now just
Gaston. It is very encouraging.
Leon takes her by the hand and leads her from the safe.
Come, sweetheart. Let me put it on
you. You will teach these jewels.
For the first time they will learn
how they can look.
They belong to the people.
(in a ceremonial voice)
I give them back to the people...
(as formal and steady
as possible under
the conditions he
puts the diadem on
I make you Ninotchka the Great...
Duchess of the People!... Grand
Duchess of the People!
Ninotchka falls in with the spirit of this imaginary
Is this the wish of the masses?
It is their wish.
Thank you, Leon... thank you, masses.
(in a low voice)
Can I make a speech now?
Ninotchka turns to an imaginary assemblage.
Comrades! People of the world! The
revolution is on the march... I
know... wars will wash over us...
bombs will fall... all civilization
will crumble... but not yet, please...
wait, wait... what's the hurry?
(mixing reality with
Let us be happy... give us our
(turning to Leon)
We are happy, aren't we, Leon?
(he holds her in his
(her voice getting
dimmer and dimmer)
So happy and so tired.
She falls asleep in his arms. Leon gathers her up and carries
her into the bedroom, the diadem still on her head.
BEDROOM -- THE ROYAL SUITE
Leon carries Ninotchka to the bed, puts her down on it. She
is now sleeping soundly. He kisses her once more and then
turns, the CAMERA PANNING with him, and starts toward the
door to the corridor and exits. As he closes the door with
an uncertain hand, it slams.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA, as she lies on the bed
On the night table beside her is a photograph of the stern-
faced Lenin. The crash of the slamming door awakens Ninotchka
for a moment. Completely content and happy, she turns around
and sees the disapproving face of the photograph.
Smile, little father, smile.
INSERT OF PHOTOGRAPH OF LENIN
The photograph of Lenin starts to smile in approval, as we...
AN ESTABLISHING SHOT OF PARIS -- DAY
FADE IN ON:
IN THE FOREGROUND a clock shows that it is a quarter to
LONG SHOT -- LIVING ROOM OF THE ROYAL SUITE
It is taken from an ANGLE which includes the door. The lights
are still on, the curtains drawn, the empty champagne bottle
and glasses litter the room. We hear the buzzer of the
corridor door ring several times without an answer.
CAMERA moves through the door into the bedroom, never
disclosing the bed. The lights in the bedroom are still
lighted also and the curtains drawn. CAMERA stops on the
door from the bedroom to the corridor. The buzzer rings.
Apparently the caller has moved from the living-room door to
the bedroom door.
CLOSE SHOT OF THE BED
Ninotchka is lying on the bed, still in her evening dress.
The diadem is no longer on her head, but no special emphasis
is laid on that detail in the camera angle. We hear the sound
of the buzzer ringing again and again. Ninotchka half wakens
and calls out something which sounds like "come in" without
being fully aware of what she is doing.
BEDROOM -- AT THE DOOR
The door is opened from the outside by a maid, who lets in
the Duchess Swana, dressed in a smart morning outfit. Swana
looks around, surprised and amused at the state of the room.
She walks over to the bed where lies Ninotchka, still not
enough awake to face reality. Swana is delighted to have
surprised Ninotchka in this condition.
It is tomorrow morning... tomorrow
noon, to be exact. I hope you will
forgive me. I know it's extremely
cruel to waken anyone at such an
hour. Don't you recognize me? I am
the Duchess Swana.
By now Ninotchka is awake. She gets up and realizes to her
acute embarrassment the condition in which Swana has found
I know how you feel, my dear. The
morning after always does look grim
if you happen to be wearing last
night's dress. Don't be embarrassed
by my presence, though. You couldn't
have found anybody more sympathetic
to your condition. I remember once
in Petrograd when I felt exactly as
you do. I had to bow from a balcony
to the crowd. My dear, the masses
have no understanding of the feelings
of a lady before noon. Don't you
find that true?
During Swana's speech Ninotchka has found herself completely.
I think we can cut your visit short.
Leon is not here.
Of course not, my dear! I didn't
come here with any such suspicion.
(with a glance toward
the living room)
Nor did I come here to pick up his
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON'S HAT, shot through the bedroom door into
the living room where it lies on the table.
LONG SHOT -- LIVING ROOM -- TOWARD BEDROOM DOOR
By the bed stand Ninotchka and Swana. Swana starts toward
the living room, Ninotchka following her.
(as she reaches the
How stale last night's gaiety looks!
It has the taste of a dead cigarette.
If you were encouraged to come here
by our meeting last night I am afraid
you misunderstood my attitude.
Don't worry, you were quite rude
(during the following
speech, she draws
the curtains and
opens the windows)
Do you mind if I let in a little
fresh air and sunshine? I'm sure it
will make you feel better and I want
you to be at your very best. In full
possession of your faculties, at
(regaining her usual
Please come to the point. What is it
I just dropped in to have a little
heart-to-heart talk with you.
We have nothing to discuss.
Now there you are completely wrong.
If we sit down for a little chat,
I'm sure we won't run out of
conversation and what's more it won't
Madame, what is it you people always
say, regardless of what you mean...
"I am delighted to have you here"? I
have not reached that stage of
That's all right... I grow on people.
I must ask you to leave.
Leave? That's exactly what I came
here to ask you to do. Leave! I don't
mean this hotel and I don't mean
Paris... I mean France. There's a
plane for Moscow at five-forty.
Madame, if you...
Don't worry. I have already made
reservations. It's perfect flying
weather. They assure me there's a
fine tail wind which will sweep you
back to Moscow in no time.
If this is meant to be a joke it is
not funny. Or do you still think
you're issuing orders from your palace
Ninotchka's words for the first time sting Swana out of her
apparently superficial attitude.
My palace in Petrograd... yes, you
took that away from me. You took
away my czar, my country, my people,
everything I had...
but nothing more -- I warn you.
People cannot be taken away, madame,
neither a hundred and sixty million
nor one. Not if you have their love.
You hadn't. That's why you're not in
Russia any longer, and that's why
you came here this morning.
Very interesting, my dear, but
couldn't you write all that from
Moscow? A dissertation on love on
Soviet stationery -- would be an
It is not enough to be witty, madame.
People grow tired of being
entertained. You made that mistake
before. Problems were never solved
by bowing from a balcony.
My dear, you don't know how impressive
I could be. Did you ever see me in
my regalia with my diadem and all my
The word diadem startles Ninotchka. She starts to remember
the night before, and she looks toward the safe.
INSERT OF THE DOOR OF THE SAFE, which is closed by now.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA AND SWANA
Ninotchka stares in the direction of the safe as Swana
You can't deny we gave the people
their money's worth -- almost --
eight tumbling Romanoffs -- eight!
I must insist that you leave.
Not before you agree to use those
reservations to Moscow.
In that case I can only say good-by.
Abruptly she walks toward the bedroom.
TRAVELING SHOT OF NINOTCHKA
She enters the small room connecting the living room and
bedroom and closes the door to the living room. She walks
into the bedroom toward the bed and glances at it. The diadem
is not there. After going back into the anteroom, she opens
the outer door of the safe and pulls on the inner door. It
has not been properly closed and opens at once. The safe is
empty. Ninotchka stands staring in frozen horror for a moment,
then rushes to the telephone by the bed.
(into the telephone)
LONG SHOT -- NINOTCHKA AT THE TELEPHONE, waiting for her
In the background the door to the living room is opened by
(standing in the door)
I wouldn't waken Leon. After last
night I would say not before three
o'clock at the earliest.
I told you to go, madame.
Believe me, Leon can't help you. He
doesn't know anything about the
jewels... I give you my word... I
Ninotchka hangs up the receiver and stares at Swana. She
walks toward her.
LIVING ROOM, SHOOTING INTO THE BEDROOM. In the foreground
Swana, in the background Ninotchka, who is hurrying toward
Where are they?
You were very careless with our
precious jewels, my dear. They're
too expensive a toy for two children
to play with.
Where are they?
Don't worry. Fortunately last night
a very trustworthy friend kept his
eyes open. Perhaps he overstepped
his function as a waiter but he
fulfilled his duty as a Russian.
(she draws back the
fur scarf she is
wearing, revealing a
diamond star, one of
the jewels we have
I just put this on for sentiment.
The rest are absolutely safe. I assure
you. But if you feel like notifying
You leave me no choice.
Won't it be rather embarrassing for
a Soviet Envoy to disclose the
circumstances under which she lost
I will have to face the consequences,
but so will you. Don't forget they
will ask how you got them.
That's very simple to answer. They
were given to me by my mother. They
were given to her by her mother, in
fact they're mine, you cannot steal
what belongs to you!
She proceeds into the living room, followed by Ninotchka.
They always belonged to the Russian
people. They were paid for with their
sweat, their blood, their lives and
you will give them back!
I told you we had plenty to talk
about. Shall we sit down?
They both sit.
Now, let's free ourselves from
emotionalism and try to solve the
problem in a practical way. Our
situation has changed considerably.
Before I had only a claim to the
jewels. Now I have the jewels.
In other words moral ideas have no
weight with you... all right, then
let's deal with legal facts. You
know that France has recognized the
Under Soviet law the jewels belong
to the State. France is going to
uphold that ownership.
My lawyer agrees with you. He says
France will uphold it in every court,
but I will drag you through every
court, don't forget that. And when I
say it will take two years I am, as
Won't those two years in court be
expensive for you? I know that money
was no object as long as you could
squeeze it from the pockets of the
people, but now...
I may run out of money, but you have
already run out of bread. Two years
is a long time for your comrades to
I see. You have calculated in terms
No, I just wanted to be absolutely
impartial. Both of us are faced with
two rather uncomfortable years. We
can condense these two years to two
minutes if you want to accept my
proposition. Ninotchka now realizes
what she is after.
I am willing to hand over the jewels
and sign the necessary papers if you
take that five-forty plane to Moscow.
That's not the way to win him back...
I think I know Leon quite as well as
you... possibly a little better.
Leave that worry to me. Five-forty
leaves you time enough to close the
deal with Monsieur Mercier, but
naturally you'll be too busy for any
farewells. I'll see to it that
everything is done in the most
expeditious manner and I will also
see you to the airport. That's my
proposition, Comrade Yakushova.
Ninotchka knows herself to be faced with an inevitable
decision. For a moment she cannot answer. The telephone rings.
Ninotchka takes the receiver.
(it is Leon)
Much as she wants to talk to him she hesitates in the presence
of Swana. Swana realizes the situation, gets up, and walks
over to the window, where she stands looking out.
CLOSE-UP -- NINOTCHKA AT TELEPHONE
Good morning, Leon...
(forcing herself to
be gay so that he
will not suspect
... no, you didn't waken me... I am
fine, thank you.... Yes, it was...
marvelous.... What?... for luncheon?
I'm afraid I can't. I am going to be
(looking for excuses)
well, I have a lot of things to attend
to today.... What?... Well to tell
you the truth I am a little tired
and I would like to rest...
(she forces herself
you may be right... perhaps it is
the champagne.... For dinner?... Of
course... seven o'clock here?...
(realizing that she
will be gone by then)
seven o'clock is all right....
Where?... That will be lovely....
(there is a knock on
(into the telephone)
(looking toward the
door she sees
something which makes
her stop the
Just a moment...
(she puts the receiver
on the table and
walks toward the
ANTEROOM BETWEEN LIVING ROOM AND CORRIDOR, shooting toward
the living room. In the background we see Swana standing at
the window. Ninotchka comes into the anteroom, closes the
door in order to shut off Swana's view. Camera pans with
Ninotchka as she walks toward the hall door where the bellboy
is putting down a big flower basket.
You can leave it here.
The bellboy exits. Ninotchka looks at the basket of flowers
for a moment, then takes the envelope which is attached to
the handle. She opens it and reads the enclosed letter. It
must be a love note, for her eyes grow wet. She turns to the
"...and sweetheart, I have kept my first promise. I sent
poor old Gaston to the market this morning and if you will
look deep into the flowers you will see what I got for
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA
She puts her hand in the basket and takes out a bottle of
INSERT OF THE BOTTLE
On the label we see a picture of a goat.
She smiles sadly and goes to the telephone, which is on the
console in the anteroom.
Operator, will you switch the call
please?... Hello?... Darling, your
present just arrived.... It's very
silly and very wonderful... thank
you... No, I won't forget... seven
(with great tenderness)
Good-by, my darling.... What?...
She puts down the receiver. Camera pans with her as she goes
to the door of the living room. She opens the door and goes
in. Swana turns from the window.
I am sorry to have kept you waiting,
SWANA -- AT THE AIRPORT
shooting from a HIGH ANGLE. We hear the SOUND of an airplane
just taking off. Camera pulls back so that Swana seems to be
photographed from the airplane. Finally the SHOT discloses
the whole airport and Swana disappearing into the crowd.
ENTRANCE HALL -- SWANA'S APARTMENT
Swana's maid is opening the door for Swana, who enters in
the highest spirits.
Good afternoon, Jacqueline.
Good afternoon, Your Highness.
You didn't find my glove. All right,
Thank you, Your Highness. Count
d'Algout is waiting. He's been here
Swana inspects herself briefly in the hall mirror, proceeds
into the living room.
LIVING ROOM -- SWANA'S APARTMENT
Leon is pacing up and down. Swana enters.
Leon, darling, how nice! Have you
ordered tea or a cocktail?
No thanks, Swana.
Did I act stupidly last night? Should
I'm the one who should apologize. I
should have talked to you before.
Is this, by any chance, going to be
Oh, no, my little Volga boatman.
Have you forgotten our First
Commandment: Never Complain -- Never
Explain. It has worked so often and
so perfectly, don't let's break the
rule. And please don't look so guilty,
This time, Swana -- just this once --
I must ask you to listen.
All right, I'll listen.
I know you hate the obvious but do
you mind if, at this moment, I'm not
in the least subtle?
Brutal frankness, if you insist.
There are a hundred ways to approach
it, but I feel it can best be said
in one simple phrase. I'm in love,
And I thought it was something
serious! How could you frighten me
It must be serious, Swana. Not long
ago I'd have considered such a
statement rather juvenile and rather
middle class. Now I can say it without
stammering, without a blush. I'm in
Say it over and over again, Leon.
Words are a wonderful safety valve,
and that's what you need -- because
you know it's impossible, don't you?
I have to be simple again, Swana,
and you may find it shockingly banal.
I've thought it over and I'm willing
to take all the consequences, even
if it means a complete readjustment
of my way of living.
Leon! This has the ugly sound of
I'm afraid that's what it is.
The same old trouble, Leon. You're
always late. Whether you're taking
me to the Opera or calling for me at
a beauty shop, you're never on time.
And now, when it's a question of
your reform -- late again.
(she glances at her
By about five minutes.
What is this, Swana?
Knowing the efficiency of the French
Air Service I think I can guarantee
that Madame Yakushova has already
taken off for Moscow.
Has done what?
She's gone, Leon.
Do you expect me to believe that?
Swana picks up the receiver of the telephone and holds it
out to him.
Here's the telephone. If you call
the hotel you will find that you
have no seven o'clock appointment.
THE MOSCOW PLANE
It is flying past the Eiffel Tower.
CLOSE SHOT -- AIRPLANE WINDOW
Behind the window we see Ninotchka looking at Paris for the
last time. Camera moves over to the next window and we see
Buljanoff, Iranoff, and Kopalski also giving Paris a sad
ANOTHER VIEW OF PARIS, from the air. The mist has closed in
by now so that only the top of the Eiffel Tower is visible
CLOSE-UP -- NINOTCHKA, looking down on the Tower
INTERIOR, Airplane -- Ninotchka, Buljanoff, Iranoff, and
Ninotchka turns from the window and leans against the back
of her chair. The Russians follow her example. There is a
moment of silence and sadness.
Imagine, for once in our lives we
were in Paris and we never went to
the Eiffel Tower.
They tell me it has a wonderful
restaurant on the second floor.
While you eat, you look at the view.
CLOSE-UP -- NINOTCHKA
She is trying to overcome all sentimentality, but as the
following speech progresses she cannot escape the personal
Yes, it is an amazing piece of
engineering. Still the most remarkable
iron structure in the world. Leading
to the top there is a staircase of
over a thousand steps... but an
elevator is included in the price of
INSERT OF A PARIS NEWSPAPER
HERALD DU MATIN
Camera zooms down on a headline of an article.
Mercier buys priceless russian jewels. Russian commission
has left for moscow.
STREET IN PARIS -- MORNING
Camera follows Leon as he walks excitedly and nervously along
the boulevard. He turns into a Russian Intouriste Bureau,
one of the travel bureaus maintained by the Soviet government
in foreign countries to supply information regarding travel,
give visas, etc.
It is a typical travel bureau. Behind the counter are
attendants and some people getting information and pamphlets.
Leon enters, looks around, and sees a door which says "Visas
and Passport Department." He enters.
INTERIOR, VISA ROOM
It is a room smaller than the previous one. Behind the counter
stands a typical Bolshevik Official. In front of the counter
is an elderly English lady. Leon takes his place behind her,
nervous at having to wait. The Official stamps the English
lady's passport and hands it to her.
Well, everything is in order. I hope
you will enjoy your trip to Russia,
Thank you. Oh, by the way, I've heard
so many rumors about laundry
conditions in Russia. Is it advisable
to take one's own towels?
Certainly not, madame. That's only
capitalistic propaganda. We change
the towel every week.
Oh... thank you.
She leaves. Leon moves up to the Official.
At this moment the telephone rings. The Official takes the
Yes... Comrade Cazabine? No, I'm
sorry... he hasn't been with us for
six months. He was called back to
Russia and was investigated. You can
get further details from his widow.
He hangs up the receiver. Leon, thinking of Ninotchka, is
horrified by this statement.
Pardon me, I am very interested in
what you just said -- you mean when
an envoy goes back to Russia -- if
they don't like what he has done
they put him out of the way?
Not always... look at me... I've
been back twice.
(he knocks on wood)
(his alarm growing)
Here's my passport.... Please give
me a visa. I have to leave for Russia
Count Leon d'Algout... a count!... a
Don't hold that against me... please!
Why should an aristocrat want to go
There is no privacy in Russia. This
whole thing seems very suspicious.
What's the real reason? If you ever
want to get into Russia, take my
Are you sympathetic to the former
Czaristic government -- the White
On the contrary -- I don't want to
have anything to do with them.
You believe in our cause?
Leon, feeling that he has to go to the rescue of his girl,
whips up an enormous enthusiasm for the cause.
Oh... I think it's great! Everyone
works -- everyone contributes --
that's what I want to do -- work! I
make my own bed -- you can call up
my butler! I don't believe in the
right of the individual. I like the
Bolshevik ideal -- everyone being
the same. You just like me -- me
just like you -- I use your comb --
you use my toothbrush -- oh, it's a
great life.... Please... give me
At this moment Swana enters.
Hello, Leon darling!
(suavely) After our talk last night
I took it for granted that you would
drop in here this morning. Knowing
how difficult it is to get into Soviet
Russia, I thought I might be of some
assistance to you.
(to the Official)
May I introduce myself? I am the
Duchess Swana of Russia... another
The Official gasps in surprise.
Now, please, Swana.
(to the Official)
Count d'Algout was for several years
my personal representative and if it
is necessary to sign any affidavit
for him I'll be delighted.
That does it, Swana.
(he leads her toward
Now you mustn't miss your appointment
with your hair-dresser.
(stopping at the door)
Just in case they don't give you
your visa to Russia I want you to
know that I have signed a contract
for my memoirs and rented a lovely
little château in the Touraine, and
if you feel the need of a change...
Thank you, Swana. You are very
His words are unmistakably a final dismissal. She walks out.
Leon looks after her for a second, then goes back to the
Official. He tries to laugh off the incident.
She must have her little joke.
(the Official responds
with a stony look)
You're not going to take that
The Grand Duchess Swana... active in
the White Russian movement?
Believe me, I have no connection
with her any longer... I swear I
But you had!
Listen, I want to be absolutely frank
with you. I have no business in
I think so too.
I want to see a friend of mine... a
very dear friend.... It's a personal
matter which has nothing to do with
politics or social philosophies....
It's a girl.
So it's love which drags you to
(fighting for his
I must get into that country of yours!
Oh no. No visa.
That's impossible! Nobody has the
right.... You can't do that!... If
you don't give me that visa...
You're going to force us... huh?
Now look here... you advertise all
over the world that you want people
to go into your country and when
someone tries to get in, you keep
Why should I take a chance?
How do I know you don't want to blow
up a factory?
What for... why?
Or a tunnel or a bridge...
Suspicions... nothing but
suspicions!... That's the trouble
with you! If you don't let me in
I'll stand in front of this office
of yours and warn people to keep
away from Russia!... I'll picket
your whole country....
The Official laughs in a superior way.
I'll boycott you, that's what I'm
going to do!... No more vodka... no
more caviar... no more Tchaikovsky...
no more borscht.... Wait a minute, I
know something better than that...
The Official leans forward sarcastically.
With a knock-out blow, Leon sends him to the floor, then,
leaning over the counter, he shouts.
And you can tell the Kremlin that's
just the beginning!
He strides out.
The Official's head emerges from the counter. As he adjusts
his bruised jaw, he speaks.
Establishing Shot of Russia -- First of May -- Stock Shot of
May Day Parade on the Red Square
FADE IN ON:
March, march, march! Comrades of the
World, never has there been such a
May Day parade as this! Already for
four hours the pavements of Moscow
have resounded to the tread of a
million boots! Thousands of gun-
carriages have thundered past.
Thousands of tanks, combined with
our mighty air force, have
demonstrated to a belligerent neighbor
that we are ready and invincible!
Now past me marches the great army
of our civilians! Men and women of
all ages. All servants of the State
united in one thought and ideal.
Group of Several Units Marching
Workmen, soldiers, tanks, airplanes, etc.
Column of Women, dressed in typical Russian May Day parade
fashion, marching and saluting. The CAMERA NARROWS DOWN to a
CLOSE SHOT OF Ninotchka marching with the others. All her
individuality is gone. She is one of many, a cog in the
Russian machine. With a stern expression she is looking
straight ahead when suddenly something attracts her attention
and she glances to one side.
A Column of Male Workers is coming in the opposite direction.
Buljanoff, Iranoff, and Kopalski are recognizable among them.
CLOSE SHOT -- BULJANOFF, IRANOFF, AND KOPALSKI MARCHING. All
three are already pretty exhausted from the long march.
Kopalski sees Ninotchka. He whispers it to the others. The
three look toward Ninotchka and lift their shoulders with a
gesture which says, "Look where we are now."
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA, answering them with a sad smile.
After they have passed she stares straight forward again
with the same stern expression.
PANNING SHOT -- STAIRCASE IN NINOTCHKA'S TENEMENT HOUSE
It is an overcrowded house. People are walking up and down
stairs, standing grouped in front of the various apartments;
children are sliding down the banisters and playing games
under the feet of the adults.
Ninotchka trudges upstairs wearily. Camera pans with her as
she goes into an apartment which is divided into several sub-
apartments. Finally she opens the door of her own room and
It is a comparatively small room, which she shares with two
other girls. As she enters only one girl is present. It is
Anna, a cello player, who sits on the edge of her bed
practicing on her cello. Apparently Ninotchka has not adjusted
herself completely to the Moscow which she once thought so
Good evening, Anna.
Good evening, Ninotchka.
Aren't you late?
No, the opera starts an hour later
tonight on account of the parade.
During the following scene Anna puts her cello in its case
and gets ready to go to her job. Ninotchka starts to arrange
the table in the center of the floor for a party of four.
Out of her cupboard she takes very primitive-looking dishes,
a flower pot, glasses, and a kind of shawl which serves as a
Didn't you march?
Anna is apparently not a fanatical believer in the Bolshevik
regime and takes a cynical and humorous attitude toward it.
They didn't let me. I am in disgrace.
Last week at the performance of Carmen
I played a sour note. The conductor
got so excited he yelled, "There's
sabotage in the string section!"
Too bad... you missed an inspiring
I know... my heart is sad... but my
feet are happy. When all the tanks
and guns were roaring over the Red
Square I sat here all by myself and
played a Beethoven sonata. Not bad
(she has noticed
Are you expecting someone?
A few friends... just a little dinner
What are you serving?
An omelet! Aren't you living a little
above your ration?
Well, I've saved up two eggs and
each of my friends is bringing his
own so we'll manage.
It just goes to prove the theory of
our State. If you stand alone it
means a boiled egg but if you're
true to the collective spirit and
stick together you've got an omelet.
That reminds me... have you heard
the latest they're telling about the
At this moment a door to one of the adjoining rooms opens
and Gurganov, a middle-aged man with a sour stool-pigeon
expression, walks quietly through the room to another door,
taking in the girls with one sly glance and giving the
impression that not only his eyes but his ears are open.
Anna breaks off her remark.
I'll tell you later.
(after Gurganov has
disappeared into the
other room she
That Gurganov, you never know whether
he's on his way to the washroom or
the Secret Police.
You should be more careful, Anna.
And you too, Ninotchka.
Ever since you have been back from
I haven't talked to anyone about
Paris. I haven't said a word.
That's just it. It makes people feel
queer. I dont' want you to get in
I have nothing to hide.
You should. I'll show you.
She walks over to her cupboard and takes out a piece of
lingerie and comes back to Ninotchka with it.
When I passed through the laundry
yard today I saw all the women huddled
around this so I brought it up here.
Things like this create a bad feeling.
First they didn't know whose it was.
Then they saw the Paris label and
did it start a commotion! Some said
it's what we all ought to wear and
others said it's like hanging foreign
ideas on our clothesline. It
undermines our whole cause.
(aware of the pettiness
which surrounds her)
You know how it is today... all you
have to do is wear a pair of silk
stockings and they suspect you of
Thank you, Anna. I'll dry it up here
when I wash it next. I should hate
to see our country endangered by my
Ninotchka, you know I am your friend,
you can trust me.... Did you bring
back anything else?
Ninotchka suddenly is transported to Paris in her memory.
No, I left everything in Paris. I
just happened to be wearing this.
Tell me... what else did you have?
(enjoying the thought)
Well, a hat...
What was it like?
It was very silly.... I would be
ashamed to wear it here.
As beautiful as that? What else?
Come, tell me.
An evening gown.
A dress you wear in the evening.
What do you wear in the morning?
When you get up you put on a negligee,
and then you change to a morning
You mean to tell me you wear a
different dress for different times
of the day?
Now, Ninotchka, you're exaggerating.
No, my dear, it is true. That's how
they live in the other world. Here
we dress to have our bodies covered...
to keep warm....
Well, sometimes they're not completely
covered but... they don't freeze.
(fingering the piece
They must have wonderful materials
to make a thing like this so soft...
something you don't even see.
You feel it, though.
Ninotchka, I wouldn't bring this up
if we weren't such good friends.
What is it, Anna?
You know I told you that Pavlov and
I are going to get married when he
comes back from the maneuvers. Would
it be asking too much...
You want this?
Just for the honeymoon.
You can have it for good. It is my
Anna is for a moment speechless over this generous gift. She
embraces and kisses Ninotchka.
She kisses her again, takes her cello, and starts to leave.
Am I going to play that cadenza
Anna exits, closing the door. Ninotchka is left alone. Her
thoughts are still in the other world, obviously with Leon.
Mechanically she looks over the table to see if everything
is all right, then she walks over to the radio (a primitive
little machine). As she turns the knob she smiles again
reminiscently. As she does, the blare of a Russian speech
brings her back to reality.
VOICE ON RADIO
Individuals? Yes, as atoms in the
cosmos of Soviet Russia. Family?
Yes. One great family of one hundred
and sixty million, struggling,
fighting, victorious Russian
proletarians. Thus shall we pursue
our way into the future, fists
clenched, hearts encased in steel
armed against bourgeois sentimentality
Quickly she turns the knob and again there is a burst of
SECOND VOICE ON RADIO
...From the Exploiters for the Toilers. We are going full
steam ahead through industrialization toward socialism. Let
us put the Union of Socialistic Soviet Republics into an
automobile and the muzhik into a tractor, and then let the
capitalists try to keep up with us! The same thing happens
for a third time.
THIRD VOICE ON RADIO
...and thirty million peasants, eighty-five per cent of the
population owned three hundred forty-three million four
hundred and sixty-nine thousand acres of land, sixty-five
per cent of the total area. And one hundred and fifty thousand
nobles possessed thirty-five per cent of the country's natural
Ninotchka turns off the radio. She closes her eyes for a
moment and with a sad smile murmurs to herself.
At this moment the door opens, and Buljanoff, Iranoff, and
Kopalski enter. There follow warm greetings between Ninotchka
and the Three Russians.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
A moment of silence follows. The four look at each other as
people do who share a secret.
(with great warmth)
How are you, you three scoundrels?
Well, we're back home.
You know what they say -- there's
nothing like home.
That's right... and we might as well
(trying not to say
what she feels)
Come, now, you must not talk that
way.... You have to adjust
yourselves.... We must be brave.
Brave... that's right.
Let's be happy that we're all alive.
And that's something we owe to
If you hadn't given Commissar Razinin
such a wonderful report about us,
who knows what would have happened?
I can tell you exactly.
Now let's forget everything except
that we're together.
Let's do that.
(falling in with her
It's a real Paris reunion.
If you close your eyes and listen to
our voices we might be in Paris.
Let's not close our eyes. There are
many good things to see here too.
I think I need my glasses.
A little more tact... look how nicely
she's fixed the table -- all for us.
(in a loud voice,
trying to make up
for his faux pas)
How nicely you've fixed the table,
What a lovely room you have here.
How many families live here with
Only myself and two other girls. One
is a cello player in the opera and
the other a street-car conductor.
Just three people in a room this
(inspecting the room)
And your own gas cooker? That's
Naturally it's not the Royal Suite...
Sssh! Once and for all, we're in
(walking over to the
Yes, there's no doubt of that...
Just look out of the window and there
And it's great! Think what it was a
few years ago and what it is now.
Iranoff and Buljanoff have joined them at the window.
(under his breath)
anyhow let's talk ourselves into it.
Just see how happy the people look...
Can you blame them?... at least the
May Day parade is over.
That's another thing... it's spring.
The same spring we had in Paris.
Just as good.
Even the swallows are back.
BULJANOFF AND IRANOFF
Yes, that's right.
Maybe that's the same swallow we saw
It is, Ninotchka! It is! He must
have been in Paris! You can see it
in his whole attitude! He just picked
up a crumb of our black bread, shook
his head, and dropped it.
If you asked him why he left France
I bet he couldn't name one good
I should be a swallow! Right now I
would be sitting in front of the
Café de Paris picking up flakes of
French pastry that would melt in my
Now, comrades... there is something
better in life than crumbs of French
Yes, a good piece of apfel strudel....
We will get that... we'll get
everything... maybe a little bit
later but we'll get it... We must be
patient... Finally we got the spring,
didn't we? We got the swallows, and
you will get your apfel strudel too.
And if it is too late for you your
children will eat it.
(breaking the mood)
Let's forget the future... let's
stop being sentimental... let's start
(he takes a little
box out of his pocket)
Here's my egg.
(he hands it to
Iranoff unties his egg from his handkerchief.
And here's mine.
He hands it to Ninotchka.
Buljanoff reaches in his pocket and from his expression we
see that a catastrophe must have happened.
Comrades... I'm out of the omelet.
Don't worry... there will be enough.
Come, Ninotchka, let's make it in
real Parisian style!
The group all go to the gas cooker and Ninotchka starts to
make the omelet. The others stand around as though they were
watching a great event.
Let's fill it with confitures, des
...des raisins de Madère, des
(...with grapes of
...des petites fraises des bois...
de la crème de Bretagne...
(...with small wild
...so it blows up that big... what
they call an Omelette Surprise!
And the surprise is there's nothing
I know, but if we can't put in all
these wonderful things at least let's
put in some imagination.
(he raises his voice)
In that one omelet we'll taste the
whole of Paris!
The door through which Gurganov disappeared opens and Gurganov
The conversation stops. Gurganov walks quietly through the
room, again observing everything. He goes out at last.
A man like that... all he has to do
is to walk through a room and the
There is a dead silence. All are again aware of the reality
which surrounds. They concentrate quietly on the frying pan.
INSERT OF THE FRYING PAN
The eggs are gradually taking the shape of an omelet.
INSERT OF A PLATE ON THE TABLE
Only the last scraps of the omelet are on it. Buljanoff's
hand comes in with a big piece of bread with which he sops
up every fragment that is left.
MEDIUM SHOT -- NINOTCHKA'S ROOM -- EVENING
The curtains are drawn and the lamp lighted. All four are
sitting around the table, in the center of which is a samovar.
In front of each of them is a glass of tea. One of the
Russians is playing a balalaika and all are singing gaily,
Ninotchka is enjoying their companionship. After a little
while the door to the corridor opens and Ninotchka's other
roommate, the street-car conductor, strides in. She is a
squareset, unfriendly woman in uniform.
At sight of her one of the Russians nudges Ninotchka, makes
the gesture of ringing up a fare, and accompanies it with an
inquiring look. Ninotchka nods. The Russians change their
tune quickly to the "Volga Boatman" in order not to awaken
The street-car conductor goes to her bed and starts to take
off her shoes and her coat, then draws the curtain. During
the following scene we hear the splash of water and the sound
Again Gurganov crosses the room, this time accompanied by
his little son.
Suddenly the door is opened by Vladimir, a friendly old man.
(calling into the
Comrade Yakushova, here, the postman
left a letter for you.
He hands her a letter and exits.
CLOSE SHOT -- NINOTCHKA
She takes the letter, glances at the envelope, and is stunned.
She turns the envelope -- an expression of breathless wonder
comes over her face.
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
What is it, Ninotchka?
It's from Paris.
IRANOFF AND BULJANOFF
ALL THREE RUSSIANS
From Leon!... How is he?... Come,
tell us... open it... tell us... how
Ninotchka sits in the chair nearest the lamp. All three are
looking over her shoulder. Ninotchka hesitates to open the
letter, obviously wanting to read it all by herself. Realizing
her feelings, the Three Russians walk to the far end of the
room and sit down on a little bench, looking toward Ninotchka
with childlike expectancy. In great anticipation Ninotchka
opens the letter. She starts to read it. Suddenly her
expression changes to one of terrific disappointment. She
turns the letter over, glances at the second page, then puts
the letter down on the table. The Russians have followed her
expression closely. Slowly they walk over to her.
Look for yourselves.
Iranoff picks up the letter. All three look at it.
Insert of First Page of Letter, held in Iranoff's hand. In
Leon's handwriting we read:
"Ninotchka, my darling,"
The rest of the writing is blocked out, line by line, and
across the page is a big stamp which says "Censored."
Iranoff's hand turns the page. The second page is also
censored except for the final words,
SHOT OF THE WHOLE GROUP
Iranoff puts the letter back on the table. They all understand
and realize that Ninotchka wants to be alone.
Well, I think it's getting late.
Good night, Ninotchka.
Thank you for a wonderful dinner.
Ninotchka rises and shakes their hands.
(with great warmth)
Good night, my friends.
The three start to leave but Buljanoff returns and whispers
They can't censor our memories, can
Ninotchka presses his hand. He walks quietly out with the
Ninotchka, left alone, sits down. She is heartbroken. Her
thoughts are too sad and too far away to be disturbed by the
snoring which comes from the corner where the street-car
conductor has gone to bed.
CLOSE SHOT -- THE WINDOW OF RAZININ'S OFFICE
shooting from the inside. Through the window the background
of Moscow. It is winter and snow is on the roofs. The CAMERA
PULLS BACK and discloses Razinin sitting at his desk, reading
a report with a stern expression.
MEDIUM SHOT -- RAZININ'S OFFICE
Ninotchka enters carrying several folders. She walks to
Razinin's desk and stands waiting for him to recognize her
presence. She is a tired, stern girl. Razinin looks up.
Good morning, Comrade.
Good morning, Comrade Commissar.
Here is my report on the materials
available for trading in the next
Does this include the products of
the Far Eastern provinces?
Yes, it does.
You mean you have finished the whole
That's marvelous.... You must have
worked day and night.... Don't you
I need very little sleep. We must be
extremely careful what goods we take
in exchange. I have already started
a survey of our most urgent needs.
Well, Comrade, I am afraid you will
have to turn over that work to someone
May I ask why?
Please... sit down.
Well, Comrade, have you heard from
your friends Kopalski, Buljanoff,
I haven't either, but I've heard
about them. You must realize it was
only on the strength of your Paris
report that I sent them to
Constantinople; without that I never
would have trusted them on a mission
as important as the fur deal.
May I ask what has happened?
As soon as our representatives go to
a foreign country they seem to lose
all sense of balance. If I told you
what's going on in Constantinople
right now you wouldn't believe it.
Those three have been sitting there
for six weeks and haven't sold a
piece of fur.
(he points to the
This anonymous report was sent me.
They are dragging the good name of
our country through every café and
night club. Here...
(he reads from the
"How can the Bolshevik cause gain
respect among the Moslems if your
three representatives, Buljanoff,
Iranoff, and Kopalski, get so drunk
that they throw a carpet out of their
hotel window and complain to the
management that it didn't fly?"
Ninotchka has to suppress a smile of amusement at the antics
of her three old friends.
Oh, they shouldn't do such things.
Are you sure this report is correct?
It gives details which couldn't be
invented. Naturally I want to verify
it and that's why I need you.
You want me to go to Constantinople?
Yes... leaving immediately.
(her one object to
escape the mission)
I appreciate the confidence you show
in me, but I must ask you to entrust
someone else with this mission. I
should hate to interrupt my present
work. I am positive that my survey
is more important than finding out
whether three of our comrades have
been drinking some extra glasses of
That is for me to decide, Comrade
I am sorry, I don't want to overstep
my position -- but please... don't
I don't understand.
(making a last effort)
How can I make myself clear... It is
difficult to express but I'd rather
not go to foreign countries any more.
Please, Comrade... let me stay here...
let me finish my work... I am in the
rhythm of it now... I don't want to
go away. I don't want to be sent
into that foreign atmosphere again.
It throws one out of gear.... Let me
finish my work... I have concentrated
everything in it... Please... don't
make me go.
Please don't waste my time, Comrade.
Do your duty. Good-by.
I will do my best.
She exits, as we
ESTABLISHING SHOT OF CONSTANTINOPLE, on a bright sunlit day,
if possible with the circling shadow of an airplane.
LONG SHOT -- AIRPORT IN CONSTANTINOPLE, shooting from an
airplane angle. A crowd is awaiting the arrival of a plane.
The CAMERA goes down to a CLOSE SHOT of Buljanoff, Iranoff,
and Kopalski, standing in the crowd.
All three are very elegantly and gaily dressed. They are in
the happiest mood. One of them carries a large bouquet of
flowers to greet Ninotchka.
LIVING ROOM OF A VERY LUXURIOUS HOTEL SUITE IN CONSTANTINOPLE.
Its style should suggest the locale. Ninotchka enters with
the Three Russians, who are very happy to have her with them
(indicating the room)
How do you like it, Ninotchka? Isn't
IRANOFF AND BULJANOFF
Tell us... tell us.
Ninotchka protests, but during the whole scene it is evident
that behind her protestations there is none of the force and
conviction she displayed in a similar situation in the Royal
But Buljanoff, Iranoff, Kopalski...
Now, please, Ninotchka, don't start
figuring it out in cows.
You've done it again and I am
responsible. How can you forget
yourselves this way? You were sent
here to make money, not to spend it.
Buljanoff, she still has those old-
fashioned Bolshevik ideas.
It is high time you got out of Russia.
(not knowing what to
do with the three
I must be stern with you.
That's our old Ninotchka!
BULJANOFF AND IRANOFF
(agreeing with him)
Don't forget, the day will come when
you will have to face Razinin.
Good old Razinin! Is he still alive?
How does he manage?
(with the happiness
of being free again
in his voice)
We are not comrades any more... we
are friends, Ninotchka.
Imagine, we don't have to whisper
We can say whatever we want. We can
shout... we can complain... Look...
(he opens the door
leading to corridor)
The service in this hotel is terrible!
(he closes the door)
See? Nobody comes... nobody pays any
attention. That's freedom.
No, that's bad management.
Is it possible to bring you back to
reality for a moment? I must have a
complete report of your negotiations
and a detailed expense account.
Don't ask for it, Ninotchka. There
is a Turkish proverb which says, "If
something smells bad, why put your
nose in it?"
And there is a Russian saying: "The
cat who has cream on his whiskers
had better find good excuses."
With our cream situation what it is,
it is Russia which should apologize
to the cats.
Friends... friends, Buljanoff,
(afraid of being left
Don't make it difficult for me. This
is no more a pleasure trip for me
than it is for you.
That was our idea when we first came.
All we thought we would get out of
this trip was a Turkish bath, but...
we learned better.
Ninotchka, we are in the magic East,
the country of Aladdin and His Lamp...
...Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves...
into one single hour you can crowd a
thousand and one nights.
All you have to do is say "open
I don't know how I can get you out
of it this time. How will it end?
What will happen to you?
Shall we tell her?
IRANOFF AND KOPALSKI
Ninotchka, I hope you'll be our guest.
We have opened a restaurant...
...we have a wonderful electric sign:
"Dine With Buljanof, Iranoff, and
You mean you are deserting Russia?
(singing the song of
Don't call it desertion. Our little
restaurant... that is our Russia...
the Russia of borscht, the Russia of
beef Stroganoff, blinis with sour
...the Russia of piroshki... people
will eat and love it.
We are not only serving good food,
we are serving our country... we are
Who gave you this idea? What is
responsible for all this?
(with a gleam in his
There's something in Constantinople...
...it is in the air... it may come
around the corner as you walk down
...it may step out of a bazaar... it
may wait for you in a corridor... it
may hide in the shadow of a
(pointing to the
Right now it's on the balcony.
Ninotchka looks toward the balcony and is dumbfounded as she
sees Leon standing there smiling at her. He walks quietly
(looking longingly at
They wouldn't let me in so I had to
get you out.
(still taken aback)
So -- you're behind all this. I should
Leon takes her hand and kisses it. The Three Russians exchange
glances. The CAMERA PANS WITH THEM --leaving Ninotchka and
Leon as Russians walk discreetly out of the room and close
the door behind them.
CLOSE SHOT -- LEON AND NINOTCHKA
Trying to keep me away from you! It
couldn't be done. Naturally I couldn't
go on forever punching passport
officials in the nose -- but I found
a way, didn't I? Darling, I had to
see you. I wrote and wrote but all
my letters came back.
The one I got they wouldn't let me
(carried away by
It began, "Ninotchka, my darling,"
and ended, "Yours, Leon."
(with great feeling
I won't tell you what came between...
I'll prove it. It will take a long
time, Ninotchka... at least a
Ninotchka is aware that she is facing a decision. She knows
what she wants but still tries to evade a definite answer.
But, Leon, I am only here for a few
If you don't stay with me, I'll have
to continue my fight. I'll travel
wherever Russian commissions are.
I'll turn them all into Buljanoffs,
Iranoffs, and Kopalskis. The world
will be crowded with Russian
restaurants. I'll depopulate Russia.
Once you saved your country by going
back. This time you can save it by
Well, when it is a choice between my
personal interest and the good of my
country, how can I waver? No one
shall say Ninotchka was a bad Russian.
Leon takes her in his arms, they kiss as we
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