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Children of Paradise (1945)

Les enfants du paradis (original title)
Approved | | Drama, Romance | 15 November 1946 (USA)
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The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

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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 ...
...
Nathalie (as Maria Casarès)
Gaston Modot ...
Fabien Loris ...
Marcel Pérès ...
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:

actress | actor | love | mime | thief | 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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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(edited)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was completed a short time before D-Day and the director, having planned to distribute the film after the liberation of France, had three copies printed and concealed in three different places: a cellar of the Banque de France, a strongbox of Pathé and a Provence country house. 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

Man in the audience: Shut up! We can't hear the pantomime!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 2 x 50 Years of French Cinema (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A True Masterpiece
18 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

CHILDREN OF PARADISE has a history almost as remarkable as the film itself. Production was just beginning when Paris fell to the Nazis; the work was subsequently filmed piecemeal over a period of several years, much of it during the height of World War II. And yet astonishingly, this elaborate portrait of 19th Century French theatre and the people who swirl through it shows little evidence of the obvious challenges faced by director Marcel Carne, his cast, and his production staff. CHILDREN OF PARADISE seems to have been created inside a blessed bubble of imagination, protected from outside forces by the sheer power of its own being.

The story is at once simple and extremely complex. A mime named Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) falls in love with a street woman known as Garance (Arletty)--and through a series of coincidences and his own love for her finds the inspiration to become one of the most beloved stage artists of his era. But when shyness causes him to avoid consummation of the romance, Baptiste loses Garance to her own circle of admirers--a circle that includes a vicious member of the Paris underworld (Marcel Herrand), rising young actor (Pierre Brasseur), and an egotistical and jealous aristocrat (Louis Salou.) With the passage of time, Garance recognizes that she loves Baptiste as deeply as he does her... but now they must choose between each other and the separate lives they have created for themselves.

While the film is sometimes described as dreamy in tone, it would be more appropriately described as dreamy in tone but extremely earthy in content. Instead of giving us a glamorous portrait of life in theatre, it presents 19th Century theatre as it actually was: dominated by noisy audiences perfectly capable of riot, the actors usually poor and hungry and mixing freely with criminal elements, the desperate struggle to rise above the chaos to create something magical on stage. And while the film is not sexually explicit by any stretch of the imagination, by 1940s standards CHILDREN OF PARADISE was amazingly frank in its portrayal of Garance's often casual liaisons; American cinema would not achieve anything similar for another twenty years.

Everything about the film seems to swirl in a riot of people, costumes, and overlapping relationships, a sort of mad confusion of life lived in a very elemental manner. And the cast carries the director's vision to perfection. Jean-Louis Barrault is both a brilliant actor and brilliant mime, perfectly capturing the strange innocence his role requires; the famous Arletty offers a divine mixture of exhaustion, sensuality, and self-awareness that makes Garance and her fatal attraction uniquely believable. And these performances do not stand in isolation: there is not a false note in the entire cast, the roles of which cover virtually every level of society imaginable.

With its complex story, vivid performances, and stunning set pieces, the film has a longer running time than one might expect, and some may feel it is slow; I myself, however, did not read it as slow so much as precise. It takes the time to allow the characters and their various stories to develop fully in the viewer's mind. I must also note that while a knowledge of theatre history isn't required to fall under the spell of this truly fascinating film, those who do have that background will find it particularly appealing. CHILDREN OF PARADISE is one of the few films that can be viewed repeatedly, one of the truly great masterpieces of cinema. Strongly, strongly recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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Recent Posts
Why don't women like it? brucedgo
WWII allegory faded away chuck-526
It didn't even make IMDb's top 250! lildark
Can´t stand this plot sllgrecco
It's got a poor average ratings because of the 'ones' brucedgo
Something I don't get... sunsetboulevard16
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