Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise
Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

7.9 | 1h23m | NR | en | Comedy

Thief Gaston Monescu and pickpocket Lily are partners in crime and love. Working for perfume company executive Mariette Colet, the two crooks decide to combine their criminal talents to rob their employer. Under the alias of Monsieur Laval, Gaston uses his position as Mariette's personal secretary to become closer to her. However, he takes things too far when he actually falls in love with Mariette, and has to choose between her and Lily.

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7.9 | 1h23m | NR | en | Comedy , Crime , Romance | More Info
Released: October. 30,1932 | Released Producted By: Paramount , Country: United States of America Budget: 0 Revenue: 0 Official Website:

Thief Gaston Monescu and pickpocket Lily are partners in crime and love. Working for perfume company executive Mariette Colet, the two crooks decide to combine their criminal talents to rob their employer. Under the alias of Monsieur Laval, Gaston uses his position as Mariette's personal secretary to become closer to her. However, he takes things too far when he actually falls in love with Mariette, and has to choose between her and Lily.

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Herbert Marshall , Kay Francis , Miriam Hopkins


Hans Dreier

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chaos-rampant For cinema of this era I go to Pabst for ecstatic hovering out of self, the self that finds itself at the mercy of narratives; a true master that filmmakers like Lynch are still tapping into the potential of what he showed. Sternberg gives me feverish exaggeration of the same, a kind of grotesque sculpting in emotional air. Pabst seeks to transcend the constraints imposed by fictitious reality on self, Sternberg gives into the anguish they create. Lang turns these same constraints into monumental machinery that strike awe, but his way is much less interesting overall I think. And then there's this other maker who made the leap from Germany to Hollywood. Yet another way of dealing with fictitious reality here. With Lubitsch I come for the joyous dismantling of expectation; the constraints of fictions, our expectation that story plays out a certain way, are marvelously upended, opening us up to paradox and surprise. Here fictions are fanciful guises we put on to push each other, the constraints are opportunities for improvisation. There's this famed thing people call the Lubitsch 'touch', often in vague terms of exaltation, as any synonym for mastery. It's a specific thing he masters; spontaneous illogicality. You'll see a great demonstration in just the opening sequence here. It's one I'll keep with me when needing to discuss Lubitsch. A man lies unconscious in a dark empty apartment at night; something sinister has happened. Now cut to a man and woman meeting in another place. They're both royalty we find out, baron and countess. She had to sneak in there to meet him, improper mischief is implied, a desire to conceal. Soon we understand that neither is who we thought they were and the place where they meet is right next door to the unconscious man.It's a small masterstroke in pushing back horizon with just a few gestures. Like when the man gets up angry at having been found out, locks the door, draws the curtains; we imagine violence is coming. But they sit right back to eat, kindred souls delighted in each other's brilliant boldness of play-acting. The rest of the film flows by with much the same play-acting. We see a woman being set up to be conned, a rich Parisienne who scoffs at the men who desire her but falls for his suave charm. He insinuates himself into her home and begins controlling a story, fictitious reality. The suave charm of the film lies in seeing him, ever the cunning narrator, con his way out of difficult situations that might expose him while the noose tightens around him. Eventual unmaskings come with a certain largesse of heart that can only come by the hand of a filmmaker who sees fictitious reality as one large stage play and revels in the illusoriness of it all. It beats sulking into a corner, taking the caprices of human behavior to heart. So no hard feelings on her part at having been set up with fictitious romance. She shoos them out like mischievous kids. In turn he regrets that he couldn't split himself in two and leave one self behind to live a life with her. Herbert Marshall has more ruthless eyes than needed to convey longing here (or perhaps the point is that he cannot resist feigning to the end); but he's superb as wily narrator.But how about this notion as well. His girlfriend partner in crime has been in on the con all along, disguised as secretary in the same house. Had she not caved in to jealousy at the last moment, they would have pulled their plot clean off. It's this outpour of impulsive self that destroys the fiction and allows us to have the generous letting go of.
writers_reign This entry had a lot to live up to; I'd been reading and hearing about it for years and though it proved elusive I had seen and enjoyed sufficient Lubitsch movies to know he was the MAN and so, almost inevitably, there was the slight worry that when it finally surfaced it would prove a tad disappointing; after all Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins whilst fine actors don't really have the cachet of, for example, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn, Cary Grant and Roz Russell, Bill Powell and Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert and anyone. Fear not. They pull it off. In spades. In fact it is a terrific menage a trois with Kay Francis forming the third angle in the eternal pyramid. The film begins and ends with Style, ably supported by Charm and Class, a winning parlay.
dougdoepke Why belabor what critics claim is a classic, so I'll simply summarize my reaction under brief headings.Elegant?- yes indeed. The studio's high-end wardrobe is deployed to the last cummerbund. Witty?- yes indeed. The bon mots are tossed off like pearls to the rabble.Sophisticated?- without doubt. For example. Sex- a game with no losers. Crime- a sleight of hand with no victims. Style?- So smooth, the camera slides over itself.Performances?- Everyone poses beautifully.Sum Total?- A European touch for the American masses.Audience Rating?-FTWO (For The Worldly Only)My Rating?- Two chuckles, no laughs, and a new appreciation for The Three Stooges.
Steffi_P At the height of the depression, while one half of Hollywood was making movies devastatingly close to home, the other half were breezily European in their settings and sensibilities. This was the case at Paramount in particular, who imported many of their directors from the continent and deliberately cultivated that sophisticated European flavour. German maestro Ernst Lubitsch was the most treasured of their acquisitions, and during the early 1930s fulfilled the studio's expectations for urbane comedies set among the idle and relatively carefree rich of far-off Europe.Lubitsch is – and was – best known for his so-called "touch", a subtle, tasteful and very intelligent manner of hinting at the various sexual shenanigans that his characters continually get up to. But it is doing the man rather a disservice to focus so much on this, as there was a lot more to his style and to his career. Besides, a lot of the credit for the "touch" should go to writer Samson Raphaelson, as it was in the Raphelson-penned works when this clever innuendo was at its sharpest. The humour in Trouble in Paradise is all of a by-the-way fashion, with bizarrely comical phrases slipped neatly into the dialogue. What Lubitsch really does is match up with Raphaelson's sauciness on the visual side of things, dissolving from Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins canoodling on a couch, to the same couch now empty, to a "Do not disturb" sign being hung on a door. But it's not all about sex. What's nice about Trouble in Paradise is that despite the protagonists being a pair of thieves, we never see anything stolen. The thefts are just implied with a nonchalant revelation after the event.Consistently, Lubitsch's visual style is throughout one of taste and elegance. Lubitsch's sound films up to now had mostly been musicals, and although Trouble in Paradise is not a musical it is almost operatic in its stylised pace, often alternating between slow and fast scenes like the movements of a work of classical music. Lubitsch doesn't use many elaborate techniques, but simply manages the pace through careful coaching of the actors' motion and vocal delivery. The camera rarely moves, but when he does it is generally a discreet flourish to maintain the necessary rhythm. An example is when we cut from Kay Francis nattering on the phone straight into Marshall and Hopkins arguing. The shot begins with the camera dollying in on the pair, keeping the snappy pace going across the two scenes. The opening scene is smooth as a gondola on the water, the camera languidly tracking from the rubbish of the city, to the aftermath of a robbery, over to an gorgeous shot of Herbert Marshall , gazing out from a balcony with a look of exquisite melancholy in his eyes.Which leads me onto the players themselves. It is always a joy to watch Herbert Marshall, one of the best lead men of the 30s who has become something of an obscurity today. He is utterly suited to the style and pace of Trouble in Paradise, his movements elegant as a violinist playing largo, and his voice quiet yet commanding of our attention. He is superbly matched, in an opposites-attract scenario, by a vivacious Miriam Hopkins. These days Hopkins is often dismissed as an amateurish ham, but as Trouble in Paradise demonstrates she did everything with a pinch of deliberate irony. I love the way she fires off angry tirades, her face almost rigid except for the occasional fiery flash of an eyebrow. Kay Francis, the third corner in the love triangle, is stunningly beautiful but otherwise rather bland and forgettable, although perhaps this is the point. As to the supporting players, Edward Everett Horton is always nice to see, although he is a bit underused here, and clearly hadn't quite worked out his brilliant comic persona yet. C. Aubrey Smith on the other hand, as familiar a face in thirties Hollywood as Ned Sparks, is at his very best. Being a pompous villain seems to suit him far better than the venerable patriarchs he usually portrayed.Movies like Trouble in Paradise were popular of course because they offered escapism at a time of domestic strife. Today it remains a smart, witty, and very beautifully made confection. It is of course not nearly as touching as the raw emotion and sincerity of Warner Brothers' and Columbia's depression-era offerings, but it is nevertheless utterly enjoyable, undemanding, and treats us to the same delicate atmosphere of continental wit that it did to audiences of the time.