November 01, 2008

Proletarian Delights

There’s a wonderful scene in Ernst Lubitsch’s 1939 film Ninotchka, in which Greta Garbo, playing the humorless Soviet functionary Ninotchka, asks a Parisian cabbie for a restaurant recommendation. He directs her to Père Mathieu’s, a working-class joint, where she places her order without even consulting the menu. The restaurant owner – the eponymous Père Mathieu – is aghast. The screenplay (written by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and Walter Reisch) registers their hilarious exchange: 


Ninotchka: Raw beets and carrots.

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