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Fast-Talking Dames$
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Maria DiBattista

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088151

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088151.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Garbo's Laugh

Garbo's Laugh

(p.236) 7 Garbo's Laugh
Fast-Talking Dames

Maria DiBattista

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the phenomenon of Garbo's laughter and why it was touted as so remarkable an event in the annals of film. Its praise as a historic occasion was a savvy promotional gimmick that predated the making of Ninotchka, the 1939 film that it was publicizing. It explores the historic significance of Garbo's face, as director Ernst Lubitsch contemplates with great delicacy in Ninotchka. The chapter also studies and analyzes her unique relation to language, her unsteady command of the idioms of everyday life, that betray her anti-modernity. Furthermore, it looks at the manners through which Garbo was hailed as the spiritual vessel in which Hollywood of the 1930s decanted its highest ideals of womanhood. Her incarnation as Ninotchka, for example, represents an instructive example of how America implicated the sexual fate of women in its own historical triumphalism. Thus, the chapter explores the character and roles that Garbo would take and how they influenced America.

Keywords:   Garbo, Ninotchka, Garbo's face, Ernst Lubitsch, Garbo's laugh, ideals of womanhood, sexual fate of women

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