Silk Stockings
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRouben Mamoulian
Screenplay by
Based on
Produced byArthur Freed
CinematographyRobert J. Bronner
Edited byHarold F. Kress
Music by
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
July 18, 1957 (1957-07-18TUnited States)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2.6 million[1]
Box office$2.8 million[1]

Silk Stockings is a 1957 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. It is based on the 1955 stage musical of the same name,[2] which had been adapted from the film Ninotchka (1939).[3] The film was choreographed by Eugene Loring and Hermes Pan.

The film received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Film and Best Actress (Charisse) in the Comedy/Musical category.[4]

The score was embellished with the new song "The Ritz Roll and Rock", a parody of the emerging rock and roll music genre. The number ends with Astaire symbolically smashing his top hat, considered one of his trademarks, signaling the retirement from movie musicals that he announced following the film's release.


Brash American film producer Steve Canfield wants Russian composer Peter Illyich Boroff to write music for his next film, which is being shot in Paris. When Boroff expresses his wish to stay in Paris, three comically bumbling operatives, Brankov, Bibinski, and Ivanov, are sent from Moscow to retrieve Boroff.

Canfield corrupts the Russians with decadent Western luxuries and convinces them to allow Boroff to remain. He also arranges for his leading lady Peggy Dayton to gently persuade Boroff to cooperate.

A commissar in Moscow summons dedicated and humorless operative Nina "Ninotchka" Yoschenko to retrieve all four men. Canfield succeeds in romancing her despite her resistance to the decadent attractions of Paris. Ninotchka and Boroff are horrified when they realize the changes that have been made to Boroff's music, and they decide to return to Moscow.

However, Canfield persists, arranging for Brankov, Bibinski, and Ivanov to be returned to Paris, knowing that they will be seduced again by the city's charms. Ninotchka is sent after them, allowing Canfield time to convince her to surrender to her love for him.


Cyd Charisse as Ninotchka Yoschenko


Music and lyrics by Cole Porter:


MGM purchased the film rights to the musical for $300,000. Dance rehearsals started on September 18, 1956 and filming ended on January 31, 1957.[5]


In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote: "There should be legislation requiring that Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse appear together in a musical picture at least once every two years. Previously they were together in 'The Band Wagon' and the world was brightened. That was away back in 1953. Now they are together in 'Silk Stockings,' and somebody should declare a holiday. ... For the simple fact is that this 'Silk Stockings' is an all-round refreshing show, blessed with a bright book, delicious music and the dancing of Miss Charisse and Mr. Astaire. Whether it would be as good without them—without the two principals, that is—is a purely subversive speculation. They are in it, and you can take it from there."[6]

According to MGM records, the film earned $1,740,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $1,060,000 in other markets, resulting in a loss of $1,399,000.[1] At Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an aggregate score of 100% based on five critics' reviews.[7]

The film is recognized by the American Film Institute in these lists:

See also


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ "Silk Stockings". Broadway Musical Home. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Ninotchka". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "Golden Globes 1957". Sijmen's List of Film Classics. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Nat Segaloff, Final Cuts: The Last Films of 50 Great Directors, Bear Manor Media 2013 p 182-184
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1957-07-19). "The Screen: 'Silk Stockings' Arrives". The New York Times. p. 11.
  7. ^ "Silk Stockings". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  9. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.