Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Ernest Lubitsch made TROUBLE IN PARADISE in 1932 and it's nearly impossible to over-emphasize what a great movie this is. There is not a hair nor a line of out place. Marcel waves-- that's the word for the thirties hair styles, I think. Tried to think of it all day on Saturday when we saw this on a huge screen at the Detroit Film Theater.

What a treat.

Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins play two jewel thieves who chance on each other in Venice and are delighted at their shared profession. They are proud of it and their pride in being the best at their craft elevates everything that comes along.

Down the road they come upon Kay Francis, the heiress to a purse company. The two join forces to swindle her but trouble in paradise ensues.

This is so witty, charming, clever, and fun, I can't think where Hollywood has gone so wrong in 80 years. Lubitsch was able to take the tricks he learned in advancing a story in the silent days with the ability to now include banter, wit and sophistication. This is a pre-code film and that makes it even better.

I know we have actors good enough to bring this off today because none of these actors are anything special. I know we have writers who could do justice to a film like this. So I have to say that it's Hollywood itself that settles too easily now for teen romances that don't have a witty line or a clever plot to offer. Such a shame.

See this if you can. Lovely. And on a big screen it holds my interest so much more than on the small one.

Todd Mason will have more links later this morning.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Oh, this is a movie I've wanted to see, but never have. Thanks for reminding me of it. It sounds like great, great escapist fun fare.

Anonymous said...

It's been a lot of years since I saw this one. It must have been good because I remember really liking it despite the two leads, neither of whom I generally care for. Good choice.

I know Bette Davis was a bitch but she did get off some good lines about Miriam Hopkins ("Dear Mim"), which I wish I could remember.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't like Kay Fwancis either.

Jeff M. (the picky one)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nor do I really. A cold group but they made this work.

George said...

They don't make movies like this anymore! It's witty, charming, clever, and fun as you say. Hollywood is none of those today. It's all about making money.

Anonymous said...

That's why it was called "The Lubitsch Touch."

Jeff M.

John Weagly said...

I believe this is considered in some circles as the first screwball comedy.

An excellent film!

Absolutely*Kate ~ Author / Promoter-Publisher said...

Patti ~ Why weren't YOU a presenter at Oscar's Biggest Night, smirking at the teleprompter, then soapboxing into the reality of the wonders you just shared?

Yes! Yes! Real movies that transport and delight past the moment we thought we were in when we entered the darkened theatre. Will you please link this post and add your two cents and foresense into the Noir Movie and Stars who inspired marathon going on over AT THE BIJOU now?

Or ... in one of my fave lines from Butch & Sundance ~ "You've got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals." Thanks. Great share. Never met a screwball comedy I didn't want to swirl into. Putting this one on the WATCH LIST.

( And while I'm here . . . will you enter the stage with a Noir Tale of your own for our returning run of *THE SHADOWS OF OUR NOIR* ?)

~ Absolutely*Kate

iluvcinema said...

I think I have seen this but it was many moons ago. I will definitely be rewatching. Thanks for the reminder!

Yvette said...

Don't know if I ever saw this or not. I used to watch all the choice films years ago on Million Dollar Movie or whatever...

Sounds a delight.

There were two films made later that sound as if they are remakes -more or less - of this one.

One starred, believe it or not, Marlon Brando and, I think, David Niven. It was set in Monte Carlo.

The other, later, starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS.

The plots sound familiar.