Lubitsch's 1932 Trouble in Paradise has one of the most
memorable meet-cute scenes in the history of film when jewel thief
Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) first encounters fellow
high-society thief Lily Vautier (Miriam Hopkins) in a chic
Venetian hotel. In preparing for the meeting, Monescu posing
as a Baron, is planning to swindle Lily, who is pretending to be a
(preparing for the meeting): If Casanova suddenly turned out to be
Romeo having supper with Juliet, who might become Cleopatra, how
would you start?
Waiter: I would start with cocktails.
two crooks do start with cocktails, and then attempt to outdo each
other, steal from each other, and end up falling completely and
madly in love. Later, they hatch a plot to hit Monescu's
next target, the Parisian cosmetics heiress Madame Colet, played
by the glorious Kay Francis. But all is not perfect in
paradise as foreshadowed by the film's title song:
in the gloom that is silent but for sighs
That's paradise while arms entwine and lips are kissing
But if there's something missing, that signifies
Trouble in paradise.
hilarious romantic comedy is also ineffably elegant: the beautiful
thirties dresses, the superb witty dialogue, the constant play on
words. All these things transport you to a world of
titillating trickery and delicious deceit; all made the the more
captivating by Lily's wacky
charm and Monescu's debonair flair.
When Monescu's affections for Lily take a momentary detour the
audience holds its breath hoping that true love will win out and
that Monescu will come to his jewel-thieving senses. Trouble
in Paradise is as much about the clever repartee and awaiting
the next verbal joust as it is about the visual delight of the