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Children of Paradise (1945)
"Les enfants du paradis" (original title)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  15 November 1946 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 12,485 users  
Reviews: 87 user | 101 critic

This tale centers around the love between Baptiste, a theater mime, and Claire Reine, an actress and otherwise woman-about-town who calls herself Garance. Garance, in turn, is loved by ... See full summary »

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Title: Children of Paradise (1945)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Pierre Renoir ...
María Casares ...
Nathalie (as Maria Casarès)
Gaston Modot ...
Fabien Loris ...
Avril
Marcel Pérès ...
Le directeur des Funambules
Palau ...
Le régisseur des Funambules (as Pierre Palau)
Etienne Decroux ...
Anselme Debureau (as Étienne Decroux)
Jane Marken ...
Mme Hermine (as Jeanne Marken)
Marcelle Monthil ...
Marie
Louis Florencie ...
Le gendarme des 'Adrets'
Habib Benglia ...
L'employé des bains turcs
Rognoni ...
Le directeur du Grand Théâtre
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Storyline

This tale centers around the love between Baptiste, a theater mime, and Claire Reine, an actress and otherwise woman-about-town who calls herself Garance. Garance, in turn, is loved by three other men: Frederick, a pretentious actor; Lacenaire, a conniving thief; and Count Edouard of Montray. The story is further complicated by Nathalie, an actress who is in love with Baptiste. Garance and Baptiste meet when Garance is falsely accused of stealing a man's watch. Garance is forced to enter the protection of Count Edouard when she is innocently implicated in a crime committed by Lacenaire. In the intervening years of separation, both Garance and Baptiste become involved in loveless relationships with the Count and Nathalie, respectively. Baptiste is the father of a son. Returning to Paris, Garance finds that Baptiste has become a famous mime actor. Nathalie sends her child to foil their meeting, but Baptiste and Garance manage one night together. Lacenaire murders Edouard. In the last ... Written by kevin kraynak <kevin@kraynakk.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

count | actress | actor | love | mime | See All (42) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 November 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Children of Paradise  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production designer Alexandre Trauner and composer Joseph Kosma - both Jews - had to work in hiding and submit their ideas via intermediaries. See more »

Goofs

In the outdoor market scene, the amount of food laid out on the tables varies from shot to shot. The reason is that the extras were famished from years of wartime food rationing, and stole food whenever they were not closely watched. See more »

Quotes

Pierre-François Lacenaire: The mere thought of them killing each other, over a woman, because of me, comforts me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
you will be left with so much you never knew before, that you always thought existed
14 August 2000 | by (Sebastopol, California) – See all my reviews

Film Review by Jim Richardson

First published in "Der Stump" 7/16/75

GREATEST FILM EVER MADE

The greatest film ever made is director Marcel Carne's "Children of Paradise" with script by Jacques Prevert. It's hard to say more.

In Paris of the 1840's on Le Boulevard du Crime, Carne's camera soars through sideshow entertainments of every description. The motion picture has just begun. No characters introduced. Already the audience is gasping, dizzy, lost in a swirl of romantic imagery. We are inside a theatre sharing the cheapest seats in the last row of the top balcony near the ceiling with the "children of paradise." We forget ourselves and any notion that a film has to be "realistic" as we float along catching Carne's glimpse of this lost, fantastic era. The movie moves. It overflows with art and intelligence; we are totally under its spell of romance and beauty.

As the story unfolds, we watch it in a daze. There is suffering and sudden death. But no leaden hand is telling us this is a stylized allegory dealing with the paralysis of an occupied France. This is the kind of film people make when they may die tomorrow: we are compelled to receive it on the edge of our seat, every nerve tingling with desperate anticipation. We don't need to know that it was made between 1943-45 when some of the filmmakers were being hunted by the Gestapo, that starving extras stole banquets before they could be photographed.

Every movement the performers make is studied, made perfect as though this would be the last time any of them were to act. Garbo interests you? Meet Arletty. The ideal twentieth century woman. Witty. Controlled. Passionate. When she comes to her lover she glides toward the camera, walking without the use of her feet. Impossible? Not this time.

Jean-Louis Barrault playing Baptiste Debureau, the greatest French mime who created Pierrot (a pale, love-sick, ever-hopeful seeker after happiness) -- Barrault transcends the man's legend with elegant pathos. And the way he moves. Like a feather. How did he learn that?

The man who taught him plays his father in the film. As a matter of fact, Etienne Decroux taught Marcel Marceau as well. What does Decroux think of Marceau's popular mime? Snarls, "Walt Disney!"

Mime is serious to Decroux. At some of his performances if the audience interrupts with applause, he is insulted and immediately retires from the stage!

In the film, we see Barrault do many of Decroux's mime exercises during moments of Debureau's performances. Does Decroux think this is a good film? It is said that when he views it, tears run down his cheeks as he mouths all the lines.

But the film is not just about mime. Pierre Brasseur plays the most renowned romantic actor in France, Frederick LeMaitre. Decroux doesn't want him in his mime company at first because it's so obvious that "he's an actor." Frederick gets his break when he mocks a playwright by turning the man's melodrama into a farce. Years pass and both actor and mime become successful. But the actor cannot play "Othello" because he is so vain nothing can make him feel jealousy. That's right: Arletty cures him!

And there are aristocrats, and murderers, and thieves. And the film is over three hours long without a break. And you will be surprised how fast those three hours disappear!

You will be overcome with a feeling of ecstasy; you will sign, you will cry. And as your breath is taken away you will be left with so much you never knew before, that you always thought existed; something will have happened to you for the first time, and forever. Now is the time to fall in love with the best there is!


58 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
WWII allegory faded away chuck-526
Why don't women like it? brucedgo
Can´t stand this plot sllgrecco
It's got a poor average ratings because of the 'ones' brucedgo
It didn't even make IMDb's top 250! lildark
i see no one has studied the classics unocat
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