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|Index||65 reviews in total|
An utterly beautiful film. I watched this for at least the umpteenth
time last night - maybe once a year every year since I taped it off TV
in 1987. Did it let me down? It hasn't yet and I don't think it ever
will: I was as captivated by it as I was the first time, and yet it
portrays a world, its people and their actions I'll never know, and
probably wouldn't want to know either. Some people I know can't watch
any film or TV programme a second time and are puzzled when I can - but
then could listen with pleasure to a piece of music for a thousandth
Lubitsch's peerless masterpiece about two crooks (Gaston and Lily) moving amongst high society, falling in love with each other, with high society and with high society in the attractive shape of rich businesswoman Madame Colet falling in love with Gaston is a witty, charming, sophisticated, erudite, relentless, sparkling etc comedy that by the finish has had the effect of defragmenting my mind and deleting the real world for a short while - no mean feat! Every second of every scene carries it's witticisms, not a moment is wasted from the dignified opening with the title song fading into the rubbish boat on the Grand Canal in Venice to the swift orgasmic climax in the taxi in Paris. At the beginning when the stricken Monsieur Philiba rises and falls to the floor of his hotel room again and the Neapolitan music lulls you across a cheesy model set to where the smoking Gaston is urbanely discussing cocktails with a waiter you should know you are in for something special. Ultra demure Kay Francis gets to says Divine twice in a row! Even looking at nothing but a clock for a minute carries a soundtrack bulging with wit and innuendo. Something as unimportant as Herbert Marshall apparently running up and down Kay Francis's stairs (on camera, in mirrors or in sound only) turns out to be an in-joke - he had only one leg. Other running gags make you smile after the film has long finished, such as Positively Tonsils and No Potatoes. And to think about this film even years later it's always with the lilting, insistent, mocking romantic background music! But I could go on and on, there's enough in this for 10 films of today to borrow if they could make them like this any more. "Frasier" on TV has been the closest in sophisticated comedy in recent times, but even so it couldn't match TIP's compact inventiveness. Out of the 97 million movies I've watched this is definitely in my top 5 favourites.
It's a pity that so many people can so easily be put off by black and white photography and bygone stars who they've never heard of; in this case what they're missing out on is near perfection, and again another film that will still be available when all of the undisciplined uncensored in-your-face films of today are forgotten.
So funny, sexy, subtle and sublime, this film only gets better with each
viewing, BUT it's not available in ANY format! WHY?
Ernst Lubitsch used Laszlo Aladar's play The Honest Finder as a springboard for one of his most delightful early-1930s Paramount confections. Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins play Gaston and Lily, a pair of Parisian thieves, both disguised as nobility, who decide to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Kay Francis); Gaston gets a job as Mariette's confidential secretary, while Lily installs herself as the woman's typist. Love rears its head, forcing Gaston to choose between marriage to Mariette and a fast getaway with Lily. Filled with marvelous throwaway gags and sophisticated innuendo, Trouble in Paradise was described by one critic as "as close to perfection as anything I have ever seen in the movies."
For over seven decades this film has been unmatched in the realm of sophisticated farce. Films from THE AWFUL TRUTH to THE LADY EVE to SOME LIKE IT HOT are sublime on their more modest social scale and in their basic Americanness. By contrast, TROUBLE IN PARADISE has all the class and Continental elegance one associates with the Paramout of the 1930s. Made before the Production Code clampdown of 1934, this Lubitsch masterpiece shows his talent for sly sexual innuendo at its most witty and polished. The result is pure caviar, only tastier. The story tells of two jewel thieves, Gaston (Marshall) and Lily (Hopkins), who together work at bilking a merry widow, Mariette Colet (Francis), out of a small fortune. They secure jobs as her secretary and maid, but trouble begins in paradise when Gaston starts falling for his lovely prey and when one of her many suitors (Horton), a former victim of Gaston's, begins to recognize Mme. Colet's new secretary. The many laughs in this consistently delightful souffle come not only from Raphaelson's marvelous screenplay but also from Lubitsch's supple visual wit. On one hand there's delightful repartee about a former secretary who enjoyed an antique bed a bit too much, and on the other we have the sexy silhouette of Gaston and Mariette cast over a chaise lounge. From the opening shot of an operatic gondolier who turns out to be a garbageman to a police report about theft and tonsils translated for Italian officials, this film is full of unforgettable moments of merriment. The cast, too, is peerless. In one of his earliest Hollywood efforts, Herbert Marshall does the greatest work of his career. Too often maligned for playing stodgy consorts to dynamic star actresses such as Garbo, Davis, and Shearer, Marshall here gets to display his impeccable timing and supple grace. Frequently hilarious, his quiet approach and crushed velvet voice still let him remain suave throughout. Even Cary Grant would be hard pressed to match this portrayal. (He'd be too frantic.) Kay Francis, too, that popular sufferer of countless "women's films" with her "twoublesome" r's, gives of her very best. With her sleek, glamorous style and elegantly wry line readings, she is light, sexy, and totally captivating. Her doorway caresses and her finger-snapping seduction of Gaston are priceless. Miriam Hopkins was luckier in that she had many more chances to display her comic flair in film. Today one of the most underrated and unfairly maligned stars of the 1930s, the brittle, feisty Hopkins can rattle off witty banter at a breakneck pace or she can be deliciously languorous and coy. Her enjoyment of her own sexuality is heady even today and the thieving competition between Gaston and Lily, in which escalating crimes turn into escalating passion, remains one of the greatest scenes of foreplay ever caught on film. Ruggles and Horton prove yet again that they are two of the greatest farceurs in Hollywood, and the rest of the cast is equally choice. (One standout is Leonid Kinskey, whose bit as a leftist radical only foregrounds the satiric anarchy of the entire film.) Beautifully handled from start to finish, gleamingly shot and full of Dreier's incredible Art Deco designs, TROUBLE IN PARADISE is Lubitsch's greatest film and one of the indisputable highlights of comic cinema Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, the master of sophisticated comedy, Trouble in Paradise (1932) is the most accomplished example of the "Lubitsch Touch" for stylish innuendo and sly wit. With a script by Samson Raphaelson and Grover Jones, Lubitsch derives sparkling humor from the lusty (Pre-Code) love triangle among two jewel thieves, Lily and Gaston, and their intended victim, Mme. Colet. From the opening image of a garbage gondola's gliding through the picturesque Venice canals, Lubitsch makes light of the notion that amorality lies beneath the glossy exteriors of the rich. Elegantly sending up idealized movie romance, Gaston and Lily fall in love as they attempt to rob each other blind over an intimate dinner, sealing a bond between two scoundrels. Such Lubitsch details as a hand's hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign on a doorknob and the shadow of a couple cast on a bed neatly communicate the nature of Gaston's relationships with Lily and Mme. Colet, complementing the clever dialogue, spiked with nimble come-ons and ripostes, and delivered with aplomb by Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, and Kay Francis. Praised for its smoothly imaginative technique and comic invention, Trouble in Paradise burnished Lubitsch's reputation as Paramount's premier purveyor of 1930s Continental class, and it is still considered one of the best adult comedies ever made.
First of all, let me say that this film is as close to perfection as one
get---look at the "throw away gags", the play with words, the wardrobe
(Miriam Hopkins stole the show; especially in the Opera scene when she
out of the "Parlour des femmes" & asks her "Sugar Daddy" for some "francs"
to give to the ladies room attendant---that black dress was haute couture
its best!), the gait of the actors, the snappy dialogue. They all look
sophisticated & worldly.
It took me 5 years to get this film & it was worth every minute! This is MY FAVORITE film!
Beautiful, spellbinding romantic comedy with a suave jewel thief (Herbert Marshall) falling in love with his intended victim (luminous Kay Francis) much to the displeasure of his girlfriend (Miriam Hopkins). Beautifully shot (the scenes seem to glow), incredible sets and costumes, a very witty script, wonderful performances by everybody, superb direction by Ernst Lubitsch and some fairly racy Pre-Code material. What more can I say? It's perfection. A must-see!
Although this film is greatly valued by critics, film historians and
its many fans, it still does not receive the respect it is due. Turner
Classic Movies broadcasts Casablanca, Now Voyager, Citizen Kane,
Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, African Queen and Bringing Up Baby 10
times for every time this film is shown. It is an injustice that this
film is shown so rarely. (I would recommend to TCM that they show their
"classics" less frequently and a number of less well-known films such
as this more often.)
Trouble in Paradise is a comedy counterpart to a melodrama; it is a romantic melo-comedy. It is unlike any other Lubitsch film with which I am familiar. In fact, it is difficult for me to think of any film with which to compare this masterpiece. The cast is outstanding, each delivering dialog in mock melodramatic style. The soundtrack, the editing, and especially the sublime writing all combine to produce a unique, satirical melodrama parody. Perhaps this film was the model for many later films that hoped to attain the same comic irony, but seem humorless to me. The key seems to be that the actors do not take themselves seriously, but they portray characters who do.
Everything about this film is fabulous. I cannot fathom how anybody could suggest this film is outdated in any manner because it captures the ambiance of an era so perfectly. The era is past, but not this film! Do period films made today seem outdated to them? I do not need to heap redundant praise on a film that other commentators have described so well. So that you know where I'm coming from - I admit to being a HUGE Lubitsch fan. The Shop Around the Corner and Ninotchka are also among my very favorite films.
Ernst Lubitsch had a tendency towards pushing the boundaries, whether it was the boundaries of the Production Code or the boundaries of one's stomach, as it's splitting from laughing at his films. "Trouble in Paradise" is one hundred percent, absolutely, no exception to this rule. This film has got to be the greatest film comedy of the 1930's (toss up between this and "Bringing Up Baby" ... perhaps??). The situations, the dialogue, the characterizations, the rich sexual undercoating ... FANTASTIC!!!
Pay no attention to "littlesiddie" - the one naysayer in this group.
All the others are raves and rightly so. This is the most elegant and
sophisticated romantic comedy ever committed to celluloid. The pacing
is perfect, the performances enchanting, the plot priceless, and shame
on the Academy for ignoring it. An absolute must-see!
Edward Everett Horton and Charles Ruggles as comic rival suitors for the hand of Kay Francis are so adept one might have thought they had been playing together in stand up vaudeville for decades. Francis is wry, experienced, and in it for the romance, not the entanglement, as is Herbert Marshall- they are a match. Miriam Hopkins is the perfect foil for them both.
The famous Lubitsch touch is never more evident. A masterpiece.
In the first minutes, two nobles dressed to the teeth--the Second Earl of
Bastrop and Lady Higgenbottom, let's say--exchange brittle, achingly witty
repartee. It's all rather droll until Lady H. picks up the telephone to
inform her staff at home that she'll be late for dinner. The director,
Lubitsch, cuts to the other side of the conversation--and we see a fat
landlady in a hovel crawling with cats looking baffled at the receiver and
saying, "Whaddaya sayin'?" At that moment, you know that Lubitsch and his
ideal-mate screenwriter, Samson Raphaelson, are playing a pretty
sophisticated game--and in the nearly seventy years since this movie,
directors from Billy Wilder to George Cukor to Woody Allen have been
TROUBLE IN PARADISE remains the most perfect of all sound comedies--it makes you feel as if you had consumed some celestial compound of champagne and helium. The surprise of the movie today is not the pleasure of its Lubitschian elegance, but the fact that the movie is screamingly funny at every turn--Lubitsch's smart bombs never miss their mark. And for all the applications of his "touch" we're grateful for, Lubitsch never again made anything so flawless--in these less-than-ninety minutes, he and Raphaelson turned dialogue comedy into Mozartean music.
Once, "The Lubitsch Touch," was as well known as Hitchcock's reputation
as "The Master of Suspense."
"Trouble in Paradise" is Lubitsch's unqualified masterpiece. This pre-code sophisticated comedy epitomizes the European attitude toward sex in its very first scene between Hebert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins. Marshall reveals he has stole Hopkin's garter without her knowing it and she leaps in his lap. She checks -- at the dinner table no less -- realizes it is gone and with the admiration of one thief for another leaps into his lap. "Darling!" she says. No one has to guess what she has in mind, although it is all done with the wit and brio that the "Lubitsch Touch," refers to.
It's great to have this film readily available and the DVD version includes an informative and enlightening commentary (Marshall only had one leg and his lurching walk made a certain speedy cutting necessary that helps give the film it's light, speedy quality).
Lubitsch also made "Shop Around the Corner," remade by Nora Ephron as "You've Got Mail," and "Ninotcha," with Greta Garbo. His musicals with Maurice Chevalier and Jenette MacDonald, such as "The Merry Widow," are also worth seeking out.
Please read the other reviews for the full measure of this treasure - I
will just string together my observations:
Amazingly deft display of international sophistication for such an early film - who knew? Pre-code comedy of adult realities, without a hint of exploitive sensationalism.
Herbert Marshall as a romantic lead, every bit as good as, say, Cary Grant or Ronald Coleman - at absolute top of form, like everyone in the cast. Again, who knew? Miriam Hopkins, just stunning. Pure chemistry with Marshall.
Kay Francis, new to me, but gorgeous and utterly believable.
And all the supporting players - C. Aubrey Smith, Edward Everett Horton, Charlie Ruggles, even Robert Grieg, the butler (as also in The Lady Eve, a film of similar polish) - each familiar from many other films, but scarcely if ever seen in better form.
I truly do not understand why this film is not better known to me and everyone. I had to see it in a film class, and was frankly expecting much worse considering it was made scarcely three or four years into the "talkie" era. This is a polished many faceted gem, criminally under-circulated. It makes you wonder what Hollywood might have accomplished without an over-restrictive Production Code.
I see DVD became available only in 2003? This is a MUST SEE!
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