Trouble in Paradise (1932)

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Trouble in Paradise (1932 film poster).jpg

Trouble in Paradise is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall and featuring Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton. Based on the 1931 play The Honest Finder (A Becsületes Megtaláló) by Hungarian playwright László Aladár, the lead characters are a gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket who join forces to con a beautiful woman who is the owner of a perfume company.

Why It Rocks

  1. Lubitsch is at his absolute comedic peak here as he shares his usual signature form of comedy in this frothy gem. It's also notable for being Ernst Lubitsch's first sound comedy to not be a musical.
  2. Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins are both beautiful and flawless as the two leads, Gaston Monescu and Lily Vautier; and their characters are very compelling as co-thieves and make a great couple.
    • Gaston in particular basically carries the film with a confident swagger that makes you believe he could work his way into the heart and business of a woman in a matter of weeks.
    • Kay Francis as Madame Mariette Colet is also fascinating as the widowed owner of a lucrative cosmetics company, and is an excellent foil to Lily.
  3. Since the film was made before the Hays Code, it's free to explore the humor of sexuality and relationships through a plot that had an unmarried man and woman living together. It's also full of sexual comedy, witty innuendo-filled, suggestive dialogue, orchestrated grace and charming style, subtle use of details, and sardonic humor. A lot of it still holds up today.
  4. The title song from the opening credits is both warm and depressing.
  5. Right off the bat, the film contrasts viewer's expectations with a scene of an ordinary garbage collector picking up the can, then carries the garbage can to the side of a Venetian canal, and dumps the garbage bin onto the heap already forming on his gondola. In this case, the normally-romantic, glamorous setting of canals in Venice is really the setting for the mundane collection of garbage. This is one of the many moments of deception used throughout the movie.
  6. The film's finale pulls off a difficult balancing act and gives all three of the leads a satisfying send off.