Saturday, January 9, 2010

65. Trouble in Paradise (1932)

Running Time: 82 minutes
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch
Written By: Grover Jones, from the play The Honest Finder by Aladar Laszlo
Main Cast: Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis


To say that "Trouble in Paradise" was a great movie and deserved to be in the "1001" book, would be a bit much. While it was, in my opinion, a relatively mediocre film, it certainly had certain characteristics that were great.

Gaston Monescu (played delightfully by Herbert Marshall) is a thief who one night has a romantic dinner with Lily (Hopkins) and the sexual tension is so thick in the air, that it could easily be severed with a knife. After a few sweet nothings that the couple trade back and forth, it is immediately brought to the table (literally) that they are both thiefs. While Gaston has stolen Lily's broach and her garter and Lily has stolen Gaston's previously pickpocketed wallet, they both soon realize that they have stolen each other's hearts and that they were meant to be together. It's an oddly touching scene to see these two flirt, as they graciously return the goods that they've lifted from one another.

Fast forward a year later and Gaston and Lily are living happily ever after, still in love, but utterly broke. They're out of money and despite still making their living as thieves, they need to find a big target and fast. One evening, while at the opera, Gaston lifts a $125,000 bag from the heiress to the Colet Perfume Co. and makes off with it. A few days later an ad is published in the newspaper, offering a $20,000 reward for the return of the bag. Gaston and Lily know that they'll never make that much by selling the bag, so the decide to return it and collect the reward dough. Upon meeting the heiress, Madame Mariette Colet, the sexual tension is once again lighting up the screen and these two play it perfectly grabbing you by the neck and making you hang on every single word that is spoken.

Madame Colet eventually convinces Gaston to become her personal assistant, but not before Gaston recognizes a safe in the Madame's bedroom and sees another chance to grab a lot of cash. So Gaston becomes Madame Colet's personal secretary and the two end up falling head over heels for each other, only never saying that straight forward, but instead using signals to flash it to the audience. Throw in Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton as two hopeful suitors for the Madame and the comedy light is turned on.

While I wasn't totally blown away by this picture, there were definitely some aspects of it that I really fell in love with. The main thing was the performance of Herbert Marshall who graces the screen with a very debonair and delightful way about him and his dialogue flows right out of his mouth and captivates the viewer. I hate to throw out the word delightful when describing Marshall's performance, but after careful consideration, that's exactly what he is. The two female leads are also quite elegant in their performace, but I leaned more toward Kay Francis and the scene with her and Marshall when she's just about to leave for an engagement is absolutely brilliant and the inuendos are flowing heavily. Everything else I'd clasify as mediocre. Charles Ruggles, who I watched in "Love Me Tonight" was, again, very good in this film and the plot overall was also something I'd simply clasify as right in that middle ground.

RATING: 6.5/10 I could easily see this rating going higher as some time passes and I think about it, but first reaction gets "Trouble in Paradise" a '6.5'

NEXT UP: Scarface: The Shame of a Nation...Really looking forward to this one and seeing Paul Muni portray a heel this time around.

January 9, 2010 7:08pm


  1. It's now March 2012, and I have only just caught up with you on this one.
    It took a while for it to click with me.. I don't know why, but in the first few bits I think I missed just where this was heading and mis-understood.. But one I tuned in, I thought it was great. And once you tuned into all the pre-code naughtyness.. so wonderfully sexy.
    A hit.. another one to thank the book for.

  2. Well Ray, I'm not sure that 6.5 would still hold up, as I barely remember this movie being THAT good. So glad you enjoyed it though.


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