Film Reviews, Short Review

Trouble in Paradise (1932)


Ernst Lubitsch is synonymous in cinema for lightness, grace, and class, his elegant comedies during Hollywood’s golden era now mostly considered classics not just because of their sense of humour but the subtlety of Lubitsch’s direction in bringing his ideas to the screen. Trouble in Paradise is a wonderful example of his style, a tale of two master thieves (Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins) attempting to defraud a French heiress (Kay Francis), not expecting that Marshall might end up developing feelings for his mark. Produced just before the introduction of the Hays Code, Trouble in Paradise was already fairly risqué for its time, but Lubitsch was a master at conveying complex relationships between characters visually; witness the wonderful moment when Marshall and Francis, developing feelings for each other, say good night and retire to their rooms. Lubitsch zooms in on Marshall’s door, and we hear the door lock. Panning to Francis’ door, we hear it lock a few seconds afterwards, the sound of dashed romantic expectations. Wonderful.


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