Trouble in Paradise (Lubitsch, 1932) is a frothy, bubbly, and sumptuous perennial delight. With his famed “Lubitsch touch”, director Ernst Lubitsch brought a winking and earthy European sensibility to all his films. He reminded us to not be too serious about anything. Miriam Hopkins and Herbert Marshall are lovers and the best of thieves, but short on cash, when they spot a big score in widow Kay Francis. All’s fair in love, lust, and thievery after all!
The trio of Hopkins, Marshall, and Francis were at the top of their game, and the material brought out the best in each of them. Marshall as Gaston is charming, handsome, worldly, and slightly removed, drawing everyone in. Hopkins as Lily is a pip with sass and sensuality and sticky fingers. Francis as Mariette is rich, warm, and game for anything. Will a love triangle bring an end to all their plans? (I won’t spoil the ending here!)
The first time I saw this film I was bowled over by its pre-code daring. That era of film, before the Hays Code was enforced beginning in 1935, was entirely new to me. Each time I come back to it, I am never disappointed. I find something new to laugh at and always end with a huge smile on my face.
What you’ll find in this episode: discussing the relative merits of Kay Francis, fun facts about Charlie Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton, and our favorite pre-code codes.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Trouble in Paradise on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of She Loves Me.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Smiling Lieutenant.
A guide to the most risqué pre-code films.
The incredible story of heist master Doris Payne.