Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trouble in Paradise (1932) or, Finally!

Mark your calendars, folks! This is the first film in this little project that I'd actually consider watching again or, gasp!, even purchase (for reasons other than the fact that I can't find it anywhere else)! And that says a lot because I own some not-so-great films.

So, with this film Ernst Lubitsch basically birthed the RomCom and, perhaps, the one-liner ("Marriage is a beautiful mistake which two people make together, but, with you Francois, I think it would just be a mistake," "It's not just you that I don't love," and "I like to take my fun and leave it" are a few of my favorites) as well as the whole "Hollywood" image. Lubitsch, a German director new to Hollywood in the 1920s (thanks to Mary Pickford), basically created the Hollywood glam we know and love. Lubistch was also a heavily cited influence on Billy Wilder (and I love me some Billy Wilder) among others.

Lubitsch is also a GENIUS at the innuendo and double entendre, which was the movie's undoing in a historical sense thanks to it being BEYOND code-unfriendly. The code was adopted in 1930 but not effectively enforced until mid-1934 but there was no grandfathering. If a film was against code, it didn't get shown. and, as a result, Trouble in Paradise was shelved until almost 1970. The film begins with "Trouble in" over the image of a bed for a couple of beats before "Paradise" comes on the screen, for starters. And, in the first moments of the film, there is a fantastic scene in which stolen items are revealed one by one--almost a strip-tease of larcenous flirtation--before a "Do Not Disturb" sign is hung on the hotel room door. *wink wink*

But my favorite parts might be the scenes with the entirely random trash gondola in Venice. It's just so random and yet it fits perfectly.

We have two more Lubitsch films to look forward to, Ninotchka and To Be or Not to Be. As a newly minted fan**, I can't wait.

**I've seen Shop around the Corner (the film on which You've Got Mail is based) and like it but wasn't in love--that combined with one and I'm convinced.

1 comment:

  1. I also liked the "I would start with cocktails" line from Gaston's Butler!