Trouble in paradise

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German title Trouble in paradise
Original title Trouble in Paradise
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1932
length 83 minutes
Director Ernst Lubitsch
script Samson Raphaelson
production Ernst Lubitsch for Paramount
music William Franke Harling ,
Leo Robin
camera Victor Milner

Trouble in paradise (OT: Trouble in Paradise ) is an American comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1932 with Herbert Marshall , Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis in the lead roles. Trouble in Paradise was Ernst Lubitsch's favorite film. The film is exemplary of the Lubitsch touch with which the director succeeds in tactfully bringing frivolous situations and sexual allusions to the screen.


Gaston and Lily are two thieves who meet in Venice while trying to steal from each other. They fall in love and decide to work together from now on. They pretend to be nobles and successfully steal from fine society. In Paris they are targeting the wealthy widow Mariette Colet, heiress of the well-known perfumery "Colet and Company". One evening at the opera, Gaston steals Mariette's jeweled handbag. This offers a reward of 20,000 francs for the finder. Gaston appears at Mariette under the name "Monsieur Lavale" and tricked her into thinking that he was the finder. With a lot of charm and a few lies, he manages to be hired by Mariette as a private secretary.

As a first official act, Gaston, alias Lavale, hires Lily under the name "Mademoiselle Votier" as his employee. The handsome secretary quickly wins the heart and trust of the beautiful Mariette, who confesses to him, among other things, to keep 100,000 francs in her house safe. Lily reacts increasingly jealous that Gaston and Mariette are getting closer. She advises to flee soon, but Gaston develops deeper feelings for Mariette and wants to delay the theft and thus the departure in order to see her even further. Adolph J. Giron, the longtime managing director of “Colet and Company”, has meanwhile managed to discover Gaston's true identity. However, Gaston finds out that Giron has cheated the company out of millions over the years and is able to silence it. But in the end François Filiba, one of Mariette's numerous admirers, reveals Gaston as a thief. Filiba had been robbed by Gaston himself in Venice and therefore knew him. Filiba reports his suspicions to Mariette, who do not notify the police, but want to put Gaston to the test himself.

Lily, Gaston and Mariette have a discussion in which Lily confesses that she has meanwhile stolen the money from the safe. Gaston can also tell Mariette about Giron's scams. Mariette recognizes who Gaston's heart really belongs to and allows him to escape with her pearls and a jeweled handbag. In the end, Lily and Gaston drive away after stealing from each other beforehand.


Ernst Lubitsch had become one of the most famous directors in Hollywood since the mid-1920s. His forte was the frivolous boudoir comedy, which dealt with all sorts of hints of erotic adventures in high society. Lubitsch wanted to shoot with Kay Francis at the end of 1931 , but in the end Jeanette MacDonald took on the lead role in One Hour with You . In the meantime, the actress had switched to Warner Brothers and was on the verge of her honeymoon when she received a personal offer from Lubitsch to take on the female lead in Trouble in Paradise for a fee of $ 26,000 . Francis didn't hesitate and canceled their honeymoon. However, she soon discovered that her role was downgraded in favor of Miriam Hopkins , a favorite of Lubitsch. Hopkins and Francis had already stood together in front of the camera a few months earlier, one day in disaster . Samson Raphaelson's script was based on the play A Becsuletes Megtalalo by the Hungarian writer Aladar Laszlo, which in turn takes up some episodes from the memoirs of the well-known con man Georges Manolescu . For the role of Gaston Monescu, the contract actor Cary Grant was supposedly initially in discussion, but at the age of 28, he was too young for the director. Due to the sometimes daring and ambiguous dialogues, the film could no longer be shown commercially after the introduction of the Production Code . The cost of production was $ 519,706 compared to domestic revenues of just $ 475,000.

In 1991, Trouble in Paradise was listed on the National Film Registry .


role actor Voice actor
Lily Miriam Hopkins Margot Leonard
Mariette Colet Kay Francis Renate Küster
Gaston Herbert Marshall Lothar Blumhagen
Adolphe J. Giron C. Aubrey Smith Konrad Wagner
major Charles Ruggles Hermann Wagner
François Filiba Edward Everett Horton Klaus Miedel


The reviews were mostly exuberant and praised the film as the quintessence of the famous Lubitsch touch.

This is what Llewllyn Miller wrote in The Los Angeles Record

“'Trouble in Paradise' is as precious as an orchid and just as rare. It's such films that make people go to the cinema. "

Louella Parsons described Lubitsch's secret in the following words:

“When it comes to subtle and tactful hints, Ernst Lubitsch is in a class of his own. Where the normal director only brings vulgarity and offense to the screen in daring scenes, Lubitsch is a pleasure. “Trouble in Paradise” is a diamond between mud compared to what is usually shown in the cinema. Good taste is never offended. Lubitsch manages to slide over thin ice without breaking in. 'Trouble in Paradise' is staged so fast that every tricky situation is transformed into exuberant and lively comedy. "

The lexicon of international film found, at intervals of several decades:

"The flawless comedy overflows with ironic ideas and disillusioning gags and is one of Ernst Lubitsch's masterpieces."

When the film was shown again in West German cinemas 37 years after its premiere, the Protestant film observer came to the following conclusion:

“The efforts of a couple of thieves are portrayed with wit and irony, as the underprivileged, to fulfill their urge to act for compensatory justice. 1932 made film by Ernst Lubitsch, who made epochs with his special style, the 'Lubitsch-touch'. Worth seeing especially for those interested in film history. "

Prohibition of the performance in Germany by the Film-Oberprüfstelle 1933

The film, which was to be released in Germany in early 1933 under the title Sin in Paradise, was banned by the decision of the Film Inspectorate No. 6392 of March 11, 1933 because of its endangering public order and its demoralizing effect .

The film inspection agency justified its decision that:

“[...] the glorification of the criminal life shown here fulfills the prohibition of the demoralizing effect. This effect is exacerbated by the exit of the picture strip, which shows how the impostor couple, still given presents by the stolen [...], drives away to continue their criminal activities with impunity. "

Web links


  • Lynn Kear & John Rossman - Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career - McFarland & Company, 2006, ISBN 0-7864-2366-8 .
  • Scott O'Brien - Kay Francis: I Can't Wait to Be Forgotten. Her Life on Stage and Film - BearManor Media, 2006, ISBN 1-59393-036-4 .


  1. ^ Trouble in Paradise is as fragile as an Orchid and just about as rare. It is pictures like this which make people like me decide that life spent in theaters is worth after all.
  2. When it comes to subtle and delicate suggestion Ernst Lubitsch takes first honors. Where the average director only succeeds in being vulgar and blatantly offensive in these risque situations Lubitsch is delightful. Trouble in Paradise, as compared with the average motion picture, is as the comparison of diamonds to paste. Never once is good taste offended. With that Lubitsch knack for skating on thin ice without disaster, Trouble in Paradise is pitched at a tempo that turns every naughty scene into sparkling and sophisticated comedy.
  3. Evangelischer Presseverband München, Review No. 59/1969.
  4. ↑ Reasons for the decision see here