When thief Gaston Monescu meets his true love in pickpocket Lily, they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet. But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention. —The Criterion Collection
b. Jan. 29, 1892, Berlin. d. Nov. 30, 1947, Hollywood. The son of a prosperous tailor, he was drawn to the stage while participating in plays staged by his high school, which he quit at 16. To satisfy both his own urge to act and his father’s desire that he take over the family business, he began leading a double life, working as a bookkeeper at his father’s store by day and appearing in cabarets and music halls by night.
In 1911 he joined Max Reinhardt’s famous Deutsches Theater, where he rapidly advanced from bit parts to character leads. To supplement his income, he took a job in 1912 as an apprentice and general-purpose handyman at Berlin’s Bioscope film studios. The following year he began appearing in a series of film comedies, emphasizing ethnic Jewish humor, in which he played a character named Meyer. He became very successful as a comedian and soon began writing and directing his own films. Gradually, Lubitsch abandoned acting to concentrate on directing… read more
CC#170: Rapid-fire retorts within the Depression-era aristocratic lampoon; subversion of Bonnie & Clyde honour amongst thieves through pop-up screwball love triangle. Shunning conventional tropes for a sophisticated, rather more wry montage indeed - divine comedy, and with a shimmering restoration for a '32 vintage.
Some like to put it as a game between farse and reality. I simply put it like this: a) boy meets complicity; b) boy meets intimacy and loses complicity; c) boy refuses intimacy and sticks to complicity. And all three stages are given by the sophisticated "Lubitsch touch": a) and c) are brought by the rhyming two-shots of Hopkins and Marhsall's (the Venice dinner scene and the final scene, respectively) where visual and word reach their counterpoint while b) finds its pinnacle in the clocks key-scene where the whole off action is boosted. A metaphorically and imagetically evocative pure bliss.
Senses of Cinema editor Rolando Caputo introduces the new issue: "For some time now, Senses has wanted to publish an English language translation
Quel plaisir de pouvoir découvrir un cinéaste avec un film du niveau de Haute pègre (ou Trouble in Paradise dans son titre original). Avec cette oeuvre, Lubitsch propose une comédie grinçante, qui… read review
Thievery has rarely been such an erotic come-on; sexual implications and not-so-thinly veiled libidinous impulses have rarely been rendered with such tasty, teasing impishness; and certainly, the risqué… read review