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Trouble in Paradise (The Criterion Collection)

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When thief Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) meets his true love in pick-pocket Lily (Miriam Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Kay Francis). But when Gaston becomes romantically entangles with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch's masterful touch is in full flower Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention.


Trouble in Paradise is the supreme example of "the Lubitsch touch," that mastery of comic timing, diamond-cutter precision, and Continental sophistication that made Ernst Lubitsch a household name and the real star of every movie he directed. A pair of prodigiously talented, utterly charming scoundrels (Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins) become personal assistants to an aristocratic Parisian widow (Kay Francis). Their target is her fortune, but she's such an elegant lady, and so agreeably smitten with her new right-hand man, that he's tempted to pursue a secondary objective. Marshall, Hopkins, and Francis aren't remembered as major stars, but in this enchanted moment they are sublime. Likewise the peerlessly pixilated Edward Everett Horton and Charlie Ruggles as the widow's stuffed-shirt suitors. Trouble in Paradise is one of the best comedies ever made. There's not a line, word, or pause that doesn't belong exactly where it is, when it is, as it is. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • New video introduction by director Peter Bogdanovich
  • Ernst Lubitsch's 1917 short film Das fidele Gefangnis (The Merry Jail)
  • 1940 Screen Guild Theater radio program featuring Ernst Lubitsch, Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, and Basil Rathbone
  • Tributes to Lubitsch, written by Billy Wilder, Leonard Maltin, Cameron Crowe, Roger Ebert, and others

Product Details

  • Actors: Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins, Edward Everett Horton, Herbert Marshall, Charles Ruggles
  • Directors: Ernst Lubitsch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007CVS4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,027 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Trouble in Paradise (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Phillips on January 12, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There is very little I can add to the other reviewer's' praise of this film. Suffice it to say that in it's lighter than air way, Trouble in Paradise manages to achieve something close to perfection. Each image, each line, each line reading seems perfectly timed and delivered creating one of the most exquisite films ever made. A slippery, surprising and astonishingly beautiful piece of film making. It's reputation is not undeserved.
Any quibbles I have with this disk has nothing to do with the film itself but with the presentation. The film is very old (1932) and some aging and artifacts are to be expected. However, the justly famous opening sequence is so dark and the details so muted as to be barely discernible. Every time the camera floats outside and into the dark during the first part of the film--detail is lost. The good news is that all of the indoor scenes are bright and sharp and possess good contrast. Criterion has obviously done some extensive cleaning and work on the film because other than the night scenes (too bad about Miriam Hopkin's entrance in a gondola) the film looks great Also the sound while maintaining a slight hiss throughout is free of any pops or crackles and is very clear. I have seen cleaner sharper prints of this film than the one that Criterion apparently got from Universal (Universal was responsible for the slightly soft and faded print of The Scarlet Empress that Crtierion released as well). Other than this complaint the print is generally fine with only minor scratches present primarily at some of the dissolves and edits.
The disc includes several great extras that are worth perusing for even casual fans of Lubitsch.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Trouble in Paradise"... I had read sooooo much about this classic Lubitsch comedy, that I was afraid I would be disappointed upon watching, at last, this long awaited film, as it has happened to me many times before,..... well, I wasn't , it lived up to my expectations, A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y.
We, ordinary people from this era, are not used to such delightful, delicate, sophisticated, witty and subtle screenplays & motion pictures. This film's pacing is perfect, the acting deft, the fun and enjoyment non-stop, Travis Banton's costumes are fabulous, the art-déco settings and the décors are top of the tops, and finally, the cast, an A++.
Herbert Marshall has never been so "bewildered" on the screen (so different from those dull characters he played, for example, in such films as those two landamark Bette Davis' melodramas of the early forties, "The Letter" and "The Little Foxes") as suave and elegant thief Gaston Monescu. Kay Francis (Mariette Colet) has never been so attractive, elegant, as a woman daringly, shamelessly, passionately and madly in love with debonair Marshall, and last but not least, Miriam Hopkins (Lily) was never so charming and beguilingly captivating, as Marshall's partner in crime and love. I will say no more -no spoilers here-, that's all you need to know before watching it.
Edward Everett Horton, Charlie Ruggles (as Francis' two feuding suitors) and C. Aubrey Smith (as the chairman to the board of directors of Francis' company), add expert supporting playing.
Beautifully photographed in black & white, one can easily understand why this motion picture is included in the top ten list of the best american films of all time, as the grandest example of the famed Lubitsch touch. By the way, I must say that the ending really caught me by surprise, a treat!
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By M. Dog on August 26, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is hard to say what exactly went wrong in the movie industry. Perhaps it was when adults decided to rent videos instead of actually going to the movies, and the studios looked around to discover the vast majority of their paying customers were under the age of twenty. Movie making is a business, after all. What could a money-strapped studio do but remake Fast Times at Ridgemont High about a million times, sliding a bit lower with each version? The ashes that remain today with regard to screen comedy are fart jokes, self proclaimed "booty meisters" mugging like demented monkeys at the site of a woman's ass, and situational concepts that make it painfully clear that the moguls are fully aware that they are selling this crap to the brain dead.

Then again, perhaps Ernst Lubitsh's Trouble in Paradise was a phantasm all along; some beautiful coincidence - like seeing a falling star out of the corner of your eye at midnight on your birthday. Whatever. To say that they don't make them like that anymore doesn't quite capture it. They must have passed legislation at some point outlawing this kind of sophistication and intelligence. I won't bore you quoting passages or praising individual performances. Suffice to say that this movie won't make you belly laugh once, but I guarantee that you will have a knowing smile on your face from beginning to end.

If you really want to be reminded of the kind of smarts you're capable of, buy this movie.

Ah, the "Lubitsh touch!" --Mykal Banta
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