You know. The movies that make you curl up on the couch and purr. I’ll get it rolling.
Trouble in Paradise
Senses of Cinema calls it a Lost Treasure, and I have to agree.
A man in a tuxedo stands poised upon a stone balcony, robed in silvery moonlight. A Venetian canal sparkles below. A waiter lingers expectantly behind him. From out of the darkness, a gondola appears, bearing a woman in a shimmering evening gown. She glances upward and waves. The man coolly lifts his hand in reply.
“It must be the most marvelous supper,” he says, lost in thought. “We may not eat it, but it must be marvelous.”
“Yes, Baron,” says the waiter.
“You see that moon?”
The waiter nods. “Yes, Baron.”
“I want to see that moon in the champagne.”
“Yes Baron,” answers the waiter, all business. He scribbles in his notepad: “Moon in champagne.”
This scene comes from Trouble in Paradise (1932), a too oft-forgotten romantic comedy, and a little gem of a movie, right out of the heart of the great depression, when the rich were always handsome and elegant and their lives were always so much more exciting than your own, even if they didn’t know it themselves. There is a certain irony that in this period Hollywood chose to dramatize the whims of the idle rich so often – Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932), Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, 1933), The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940) – or that audiences consented to see them so readily…that is, without pelting the screens with produce. Yet they did, and the theatres remained relatively clean. In this particular case, though, nothing is as it seems. The picturesque canal is actually filled with garbage. The man in the next room has just been robbed. And the dapper gent is really a crook, as is the lady. In short, it’s an Ernst Lubitsch movie. The rich may be fun to watch but they’re always good for a fleecing.
Clip courtesy of TCM:
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