Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

Miriam Hopkins
Director: Ernst Lubitsch Cast: Miriam Hopkins
Miriam Hopkins
, Kay Francis
Kay Francis
, Herbert Marshall
Herbert Marshall
Ernst Lubitsch

DVD (Black & White / Black & White)

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Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932) comes to DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection, and its presentation makes the movie seem fresher (and a hell of a lot smarter) than anything coming out of Hollywood almost a century later. The introduction by Peter Bogdanovich is, by itself, almost worth the premium price that Criterion asks -- the man revels in a historical overview of the movie, and is one of the best speakers on the subject in the business (and he also does a great Jack Benny impression here). The audio commentary track by Lubitsch biographer Scott Eyman is one of the best this reviewer has heard -- Eyman does wall-to-wall commentary, covering virtually every shot and performing a very difficult juggling act throughout, weaving together criticism, history, and biography, all laced with a good deal of humor, in between the movie's fast-moving, effortlessly unfolding plot and characterizations, without missing a beat. He is clever and unpretentious, and as fleet in his commentary as the director and editor were in their cutting of the movie (which, itself, was extraordinarily nimble, due to the need to avoid dwelling on Herbert Marshall's slow walk, a result of his artificial leg). Eyman's enthusiasm for the movie proves infectious, and anyone not already sold on the joys of Trouble in Paradise would be converted in about three minutes. The other key part of the supplement is the presentation of Lubitsch's 1917 silent film Ein Fideles Gefängnis (aka The Merry Jail) with a new piano score, starring Emil Jannings. Running just under 48 minutes and getting but a single chapter, the movie is loosely adapted from Johann Strauss' opera "Die Fledermaus"; it displays much of the same light, sophisticated touch that Lubitsch would bring to further refinement in Trouble in Paradise 15 years later. The other major component of the bonus materials is the 1940 Screen Guild Theater radio show in which Lubitsch appeared with Claudette Colbert, Jack Benny, and Basil Rathbone. These are all handy appendices to the film and the commentary, but the latter are so delightful in their own right as to overwhelm the rest. The Lubitsch tribute, a series of written observations on his work and career, has the most meaning when it involves those who knew the man well, such as Billy Wilder. The 82-minute movie is given 23 chapters, all well chosen and memorably designated, and accessible along with the supplements through a multi-layered menu that is very easy to use. The film-to-video transfer is overall very good, despite some night shots in which the detail -- due to the preservation state of the seven-decade-old movie -- comes a little closer than one would like to being difficult to discern, and there is also a moderate softness of detail throughout. In fairness, this disc is mastered from what is, apparently, the best existing source of the film and it looks about as good as any theatrical showing of the movie that this reviewer has seen. There has also been a lot of restoration work done on the soundtrack to give the audio a sharpness it hasn't had in decades, no small matter in a movie in which sophisticated dialogue and music cues (itself an unusual attribute in a movie made as early in the sound era as 1932) are as essential to its sparkle as its images. There are close-captioned titles available for the hearing-impaired, but otherwise the selection is limited to the English-language audio track.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/07/2003
UPC: 0715515013123
Original Release: 1932
Source: Criterion Collection
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 1:22:00
Sales rank: 1,004

Special Features

New digital transfer, with restored image and sound; Audio commentary by Lubitsch biographer Scott Eyman ("Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise"); New video introduction by director Peter Bogdanovich; Ernst Lubitsch's silent film "Das fidele Gefängnis" ("The Merry Jail," 1917), with Emil Jannings, featuring a new score recorded exclusively for this release; 1940 "Screen Guild Theater" radio program featuring Ernst Lubitsch, Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, and Basil Rathbone; Tributes to Lubitsch, written by Billy Wilder, Leonard Maltin, Cameron Crowe, Roger Ebert, and others; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Miriam Hopkins Lily Vautier
Kay Francis Mariette Colet
Herbert Marshall Gaston Monescu (LaValle)
Charlie Ruggles The Major
Edward Everett Horton Francois Filiba
C. Aubrey Smith Adolph Giron
Robert Greig Jacques, the Butler
Nella Walker Francois' Ftiend
Luis Alberni Annoyed Opera Fan
Hooper Atchley Insurance Agent
Mary Boland Actor
Tyler Brooke Singer
George Humbert Waiter
Perry Ivins Radio commentator
Leonid Kinskey Radical
Rolfe Sedan Purse Salesman
Larry Steers Guest

Technical Credits
Ernst Lubitsch Director,Producer
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Hans Dreier Art Director
W. Franke Harling Score Composer,Songwriter
Grover Jones Screenwriter
Victor Milner Cinematographer
Samson Raphaelson Screenwriter
Leo Robin Score Composer,Songwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits
2. "Beginnings Are Always Difficult"
3. "Everybody Talking Shop"
4. "Tonsile"
5. "Who Are You?"
6. Colet & Company
7. Two Suitors & a Thief
8. Reward
9. "Phooey, Phooey & Phooey!"
10. "A Member of the 'Nouveau Poor'"
11. "You're Hired"
12. Monsieur La Valle Takes Charge
13. Sex Appeal in a Safe
14. "Goodnight, Monsieur La Valle"
15. "Who Is This Monsieur La Valle?"
16. Insinuations
17. "Have You Ever Been in Venice?"
18. "Are You Staying Out Late?"
19. "Shut Up. Kiss Me."
20. "Positively Tonsils"
21. Confessions
22. "Compliments of Colet & Company"
23. Once a Thief...
1. Color Bars

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