Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

When thief Gaston Monescu meets his true love in pickpocket Lily, they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet. But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled 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 in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention.


“I know all your tricks.” “And you’re going to fall for them.”

“This is the critical spectator speaking in the guise of Herbert Marshall, and Lubitsch himself giving him the appropriate answer through Kay Francis.

The short dialogue formulates the law according to which Lubitsch’s film operates. Like Hitchcock, Lubitsch plays with the spectator’s perceptions. Appearances for him are a means of calling forth perceptions, only to immediately disprove them. Everything one sees and hears is but a sign; doubt is cast on what it is trying to say. One sees a perfectly mannered couple, a baron and a countess, making conversation in the nicest and most cultivated of ways, until they have to say to each other, “Baron, you’re a crook!” And, “Countess, you’re a thief!” Their noble appearance was false, which doesn’t imply the noble forms lose their value. Rather, they gain their full weight as forms, no longer bound to a particular “content”. It turns out that forms have a value of their own in the relationships between people – this is the premise Lubitsch’s films are based on.”

Frieda Grafe, Enno Patalas1

  • 1Frieda Grafe, Enno Patalas "Trouble in Paradise van Ersnt Lubitsch", Sabzian, 29 January 2020. Originally published as "Trouble in Paradise (Ärger im Paradies) von Ernst Lubitsch" in Filmkritik 3/69, 13, Nr. 3, March 1969. Translated by Sis Matthé for Sabzian.


“Trouble in Paradise van Ernst Lubitsch, uit 1932. Het paradijs, dat is het komische Lubitsch-land waar geestigheid, lichtheid en verfijning de eerste viool spelen. Er is trouble omdat traag veranderende gevoelens de schone schijn bedreigen, wat voor gangsters die gevoelens bespelen het hoogste alarmniveau betekent.”

Frieda Grafe1


  • 1Frieda Grafe, “Filmtips,” vertaald door Sis Matthé, Sabzian, 29 januari 2020. Origineel gepubliceerd in: Frieda Grafe. Ausgewählte Schriften in 12 Bänden, vol. 11, 322.
UPDATED ON 13.11.2023
IMDB: tt0023622