Tell me about your cinematic chocolates…

Kay Francis Miriam Hopkins Trouble in Paradise 1932

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.
“And, Waiter…”
“Yes, Baron.”
“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:

Click here.


What’s your favorite?



  1. Gilda. To Have and Have Not, and all other Bogie/Bacall flicks. Any non-western movie starring Jimmy Stewart, especially The Philadelphia Story, Harvey, Rear Window, Vertigo, No Time for Comedy, and It’s a Wonderful Life. The entire Thin Man series. Laura. Film noir in general. His Girl Friday. The Women (original). Most Joan Crawford movies. Any film featuring swing, jazz, big band music. I could go on forever with this, but I’ll stop here and give someone else a chance.

  2. George Kaplan

    Marcheline’s list is pretty excellent and contains many movies I was going to include specifically Rear Window, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Thin Man, and His Girl Friday, so I’ve kinda been beaten to the punch! However, here’s some others: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (it makes me cry, as well being witty and intelligent), I Know Where I’m Going!, A Matter of Life and Death, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (it is camp and comedic in parts but also moving, this *also* makes me cry!), The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, Bringing Up Baby, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Casablanca, Manhattan, Whistle In The Wind, North By North West, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Great Expectations (the David Lean version with Martita Hunt, Bernard “What larks, Pip!” Miles, Finlay Currie, Francis L. Sullivan, and Jean Simmons as Estella), The Three Musketeers (Dick Lester), Singin’ In The Rain, The Wizard Of Oz, The Big Sleep (Hawks), Bringing Up Baby… Okay, I’ll stop now!

  3. George Kaplan

    Why, Thank You, First Night Design! 🙂 I love those Archers movies, I resisted the urge to include Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, Powell/Pressburger were great!

    • So do I! Talking about Blimp, the only war film that tops that for me is The Way Ahead with The Way to the Stars coming close. I was appalled to see they’ve changed the name of the latter to something with Johnny in the title. How dare they!

  4. Trouble in Paradise is one of my all-time favourite movies. It is delicious! I just do not understand why people do not like Miriam Hopkins. And, of course, Kay Francis is also amazing. This film is a sexy pre-code delight. I watch it at least 3 or 4 times a year.

  5. I can’t even begin – but I still keep hoping that Victoria Page (Spoiler Alert!) won’t arabesque under the train!
    And nobody ever mentions Grant/Dunne and THE AWFUL TRUTH!
    I did begin . . . . . .

    • Anything Jack Cardiff shot I could watch with the sound off and still be mesmerized (poor Ms. Page), and The Awful Truth with my favorite under-sung star, Ralph Bellamy—one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild—and there’s that place out in Palm Springs he started up with Charlie Farrell 😉 .

  6. George Kaplan

    Oh, that’s funny, when I saw The Awful Truth above I was going to mention poor old Ralph Bellamy… Always losing out to Cary Grant! (It also brought to mind the “Archie Leach” joke from His Girl Friday.)
    Ah, and that other Grant/Dunne vehicle My Favorite Wife is another amusing comedy. (Very funny scene of Cary jealous of strapping Randolph Scott – his real-life friend – on a diving board and by the pool.)
    P.S. Yep, The Three Musketeers is a favorite, all subsequent versions – to be vulgar – suck!

  7. George Kaplan

    @ Vov Shulenberg, Yes, I do too! Moira Shearer is luminescent as Victoria. What a film! It teeters on the edge of Camp, some might even say topples over, yet is supremely affecting. I was talking about Anton Walbrook in that movie and Colonel Blimp just the other day.
    The Awful Truth is adorably absurd and funny as is – as I burble on about above – My Favorite Wife.

  8. George Kaplan

    @First Night Design, I had forgotten that the US title of The Way To The Stars was Johnny In The Clouds, in fact I had to look it up. Ugh! Perhaps they (the retitlers( thought The Way To The Stars sounded like science fiction? 😉 Or, perhaps they were just idiots…!

    • Just idiots! Every time I read or say the Pudney out loud (in my best Redgrave voice) it brings tears to my eyes. I read it at my father’s memorial service at The Actors Church in Covent Garden and don’t know how I got through it. We used to recite it together and blub!

  9. George Kaplan

    Bwahahahaha! Of that, I have no doubt. I was never much of a fan of dear, dear Johnny anyway! He was amusing as Willie Mossop tho’. 😉 Talented lady! (That isn’t supposed to be patronizing by the way.)

  10. George Kaplan

    Is it horrible that I laughed with recognition at your “JM speaking “cockney” comment?
    And regarding producers and casting directors, may I direct you to our epithet aimed at the retitlers above?!

  11. Heather in Arles

    Umm…don’t mind me here…as I haven’t seen so many, many of the films that have been mentioned, let alone largely have no idea what folks are talking about…so I will just quietly put out two of my bona fide, never ever let me down chocolates : “To Catch a Thief” and “Roman Holiday.”
    But it looks as though I have quite a lot to discover when Netflix finally comes to France next month. 😉

  12. George Kaplan

    If I were the “character” whom I named myself after, I could in truth say I was a man who does not exist! (North by North West) I would still be telling the truth if I said a “nobody”, I have no weblog I’m afraid (I wouldn’t wish to bore the world!). I’m just an Englishman with a Love of Cinema, Acting, Novels, et cetera. Hope that doesn’t send you to sleep!

  13. George Kaplan

    Oh, Hello, Heather, Do not put yourself down! Roman Holiday, ach that was to go on my list, but I forgot. 😉 To Catch A Thief: Grace Kelly andCary Grant’s John Robie, fun! Need I mention the delicious double entendres: saucy!

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  19. Lured, with George Sanders and Lucille Ball.
    “You don’t object to kissing your husband’s business partner from time to time, do you?”
    “That depends on how many business partners you have.”

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