Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trouble in Paradise

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch, 1932, bw (7.8*)

This comedic heist film introduced what became known as "The Lubitsch Touch", his particular style of comedy, later brought to Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not To Be; however Paradise remained his favorite of his own works (so far, I agree with him). Herbert Marshall plays a lovable theif, Miriam Hopkins his pickpocket sidekick (and wannabe mate), and Kay Francis a perfume heiress (can you say "Chanel"?) that he runs across with the intention of robbing. However Francis hires him as her secretary, much to Hopkins jealous chagrin, and the trouble has just started in paradise. If you weren't a Kay Francis fan before, this should make you one, she's very seductive.

Made before the ridiculous Hays Code, intended to enforce some fascist idea of "decency", which then banned this film 3 yrs later and for 30 yrs or so; seeing the sly sexual ennuendo today and how tame it was makes you wonder just what they were trying to protect audiences from. (Meanwhile gangster films gunning people down with Tommy guns was apparently ok, after all, we were all planning another great war and we don't want to discourage rampant killing, we just don't want them to have sex afterwards.)

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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