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Trouble in Paradise

   
 

By Hook Or By Crook!

   

 

  

 

Ernst 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 Countess. 

Monescu (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. 

The 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:

Two 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.

This 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 art-deco sets!  

 

See:  Trouble in Paradise

 

Tags:  cleopatra

 

 

       
 

 
       
     

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