Trouble in Paradise (1932)
June 3, 2018 10:29 PM - Subscribe

A con artist couple (Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins) may have met their match in their latest target (Kay Francis).

Heist Movie Club! This pre-Code 1932 Lubitsch comedy, featuring a love triangle between the gentleman con, the lady con, and their mark, is foundational to both the heist film and the screwball comedy. Typically for Lubitsch, the women characters are fully realized (at least in comedy terms) and treated respectfully, with everyone getting a satisfactory, if somewhat wistful, ending. Francis was one of the biggest stars of her day, although almost forgotten now, and constantly steals the show. Hopkins, who was also in Lubitsch's Design for Living, and Marshall have one of my favorite meet-cutes of all time, where each reveals the things they've pick-pocketed from the other.

"Darling, remember you are Gaston Monescu. You are a crook. I want you as a crook. I love you as a crook. I worship you as a crook. Steal! Swindle! Rob! Oh, but don’t become one of those useless, good for nothing gigolos," says Hopkins at one point. Danny Ocean should've married her.

Trouble in Paradise "is about people who are almost impossibly adult, in that fanciful movie way -- so suave, cynical, sophisticated, smooth and sure that a lifetime is hardly long enough to achieve such polish. They glide." (Roger Ebert)

A tribute to the sets and costume design
posted by praemunire (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pauline Kael wrote of this:
Perhaps the most shimmering of the romantic comedy collaborations of the director Ernst Lubitsch and the writer Samson Raphaelson, this film is a make-believe world of the 30s preserved intact. Herbert Marshall is so adept at the silky tricks written into his lines that he creates a hushed atmosphere. He plays a career jewel thief and, as his partner, Miriam Hopkins, quick and darting, always has her feelers out, along with her kittenish claws. These two are accomplished seducers, and in this movie witty seduction is indistinguishable from love itself. Kay Francis is the wealthy widow whose face takes on a yearning expression once she sees Marshall; desire makes her warm and languid. The movie is full of suave maneuvers and magical switcheroos; in its light-as-a-feather way, it's perfection.
And if all that's not enough, the cast includes Charlie Ruggles, Edward Everett Horton and C. Aubrey Smith!
posted by ubiquity at 7:55 AM on June 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is a lot of fun. Kay Francis and Miriam Hopkins are so good in this.

I laughed at the board of directors for the Colet perfume company telling Kay Francis something like, "If your father were alive he'd tell you that there's only one thing to do in times like these: cut salaries." The Marxist isn't wrong — just so uncouth. And I like the turnaround where Gaston gets Mariette to admit she wouldn't call the cops on an embezzler who has stolen millions more than she's spend on a whim for a handbag.

This movie is so fucking saucy. Constant eyebrow waggling.

Agreed that the mutual pickpocketing was very funny. I also really liked when Miriam Hopkins' character was packing, her la-la-la dee-dee-dee song changing from happy to worried as she considered more about the plan. Also the "Yes Madam Colet" montages are surprisingly witty. It's amazing how awake and alive this movie feels.
posted by fleacircus at 4:15 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

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