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TROUBLE IN PARADISE
1932 - Ernst Lubitsch
United States
28
Opening Shot

Showcasing the classic Ernst Lubitsch wit, Trouble in Paradise opens to trash man cleaning the trash in the city of Vienna, contrasting the typically glamorous and sophistication one would associate with the city. This brilliant opening expresses Lubitsch's subtle mastery and the way he effortlessly tells the audience something without actually telling them.

The Film

"You are a crook. I want you as a crook. I love you as a crook. I worship you as a crook. Steal, swindle, rob. Oh, but don't become one of those useless, good-for-nothing gigolos." Trouble in Paradise is one of the wittiest and quite simply one of the most perfect comedies ever made! Directed by the legendary Ernst Lubitsch, Trouble in Paradise is filled with "The Lubitsch Touch" that all but invented the romantic screwball comedy genre and influenced countless American filmmakers (Frank Capra, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, Peter Bogdonovich, Joel Coen, Cameron Crowe, etc). Lubitsch has directed many memorable films, but Trouble in Paradise is his greatest of all. It's so fresh, alive, magical, comical, sexy, smart, yet also artistic and dark. There's an undertone of a hopeless love story and selfishness. Trouble in Paradise is always deceiving the audience both emotionally and certainly visually. Several repetitious symbolic images (the clocks!) represent the film's trickery theme. The dialogue is sharp, witty and unforgettable. Trouble in Paradise is a classic film to celebrate and experience. "The Lubitsch Touch" is an indescribable cinematic force, but it's definition can be found while watching Trouble in Paradise.... it's quintessential Lubitsch!

The Filmmaker

German-born filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch stands among the most important and influential filmmaker of all-time. An innovator of the both the silent and in particular one of the earliest masters of sound, Lubitsch was a groundbreaking filmmaker in every way. Lubitsch's career began in Germany where he made some of the silent eras most inventive films. In 1922, Lubitsch was invited to Hollywood by actress Mary Pickford (aka "America's Sweetheart"). Starting with 1923's Rosita, Lubitsch made the rest of his films in Hollywood, and he became one of the great masters of the era for filmmakers all over the world. Lubitsch truly excelled in becoming one of the true artistic masters of the sound era and his inventive style and trademark techniques would earn his films the classic title known as 'The Lubitsch Touch', which stood throughout his career. Above all, Lubitsch gave cinema a new language of narrative. He taught other filmmakers how to make narrative work simply on a visual level, notably through the usage of the camera in which he used to express particularly emotions or details. Also this expression would be done through what he would imply but never show. There is a trust with the audience and imagination, and it is all heightened by Lubitsch's use of camera movement and visual expression. Lubitsch would use the camera as a source for viewing details that seemed insignificant yet they are actually quite expressive and detailed implications. This mastery also came with his use of sound and he would incorporate the skill in both his musicals and comedies. The key with Lubitsch is that he is always implying through visual and sound, which make his films so definitive and unique (or in others the true 'Lubitsch Touch'). One of the most essential elements of Lubitsch use of implications is his playfulness with sexual manners against the Production Code of the Studio system. There is a true elegance and cleverness to everything he does and his greatest films (the sophisticated comedies) are usually handled with such ease and texture. Trouble in Paradise is the quintessential Lubitsch film in every way as it captures his expression comedic implications from the very opening moments (in this case a garbage can and truck). The film is bold, hilarious, and incredibly artistic and expressive in the most subtle ways (including his trademark uses of symbolic imagery and implications of sex). Lubitsch's films of the sound era stand among the most intelligent and wonderful of the decade. He made a couple of his most acclaimed American films during the 1940s with The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not To Be and Heaven Can Wait which earned Lubitsch his third and final Best Director nomination. Though he never won an Academy Award for Best Director, Lubitsch received the Lifetime Achievement in 1947. Shortly afterwards, Lubitsch died while in early production on a new film (That Lady in Ermine, which was completed by Otto Preminger). Lubitsch is without question one of cinemas most important filmmakers of all-time.

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