Greatest Film Scenes
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Trouble in Paradise (1932)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Trouble in Paradise (1932)

In the exquisitely-directed Ernst Lubitsch production - a sophisticated, pre-Code romantic comedy about a pair of sophisticated Parisian thieves: European gentleman crook and con-artist Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) and his female soul-mate accomplice-pickpocket Lily Vautier (Miriam Hopkins) who engaged in sex without marriage, and crime without consequences:

  • in the opening scene set in Venice, the pair shared a romantic and erotic dinner, in which sexual conquest and success in robbery were equated - the pair's polite and quick-witted, but seductive game/duel of dinner-table pickpocketing and mutual theft stretched on further, as they declared their love for each other while returning precious purloined objects
  • their obviously-unmarried association was fueled by illicitly-acquired possessions that served as an aphrodisiac during foreplay; the erotic attraction between the two criminal soul-mates heated up considerably - and led them to recline on the couch where he professed his love: "I love you. I loved you the moment I saw you. I'm mad about you - my little shoplifter. My sweet little pickpocket, my darling"
  • the scene ended when the couple's images slowly dissolved, and magically vanished and disappeared, leaving an empty sofa in the twilight - the room's light was switched off, and a sign was hung on the door: "Do Not Disturb"
  • later, the film's memorable quote from astonished theft victim and rival suitor François Filiba (Edward Everett Horton) - an associative memory that enlightened Filiba to realize the truth about Gaston (who was using the alias name of Monsieur La Valle, and was employed as Mme. Mariette Colet's (Kay Francis) personal secretary, in order to rob her); Filiba made the cryptic comment to Mme. Colet: "Tonsils! Positively tonsils!", inferring that Gaston had robbed him in Venice when posing as a doctor
  • after many romantic entanglements, the concluding scene of Gaston delivering a genuinely-honest confession to his widowed, wealthy employer (the heiress-owner of a perfume company) that he had fallen in love with his newest target of thievery; she was completely dismayed and heartbroken: "You wanted a hundred thousand francs, and I thought you wanted me"; he sheepishly confessed: "I came here to rob you, but unfortunately I fell in love with you, Mariette"; when she asked: "Why did you take the money?" he didn't answer as a bell tower chimed in the distance, and she retreated to her bedroom; Lily suddenly appeared and interjected that she was the actual robber (revealing the wad of stolen banknotes in her purse): "Madame, the only thing that seems to stand between you and romance is a hundred thousand francs. Well, he didn't take it. I took it - all by myself. Now you can have your romance"; then she offered some realistic advice: "When you embrace him, be sure to put on gloves. It would be too bad if your fingerprints were found..."
  • in the epilogue, after both Gaston and Lily had admitted their guilt to Mme. Colet, Gaston pursued after the departing Lily, realizing that he was only truly in love with her; Mme. Colet willingly let him leave her as a romantic partner and surrendered her pearl necklace as a gift to Lily; the high class, amoral thieves Gaston and Lily escaped in the back of a taxi-cab, happily reunited and in possession of the pearl necklace, Mariette's purloined 125,000 franc handbag, and the wad of 100,000 franc banknotes


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