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Film / Trouble in Paradise

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Trouble in Paradise is a 1932 pre-code Romantic Comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall. A gentleman thief, Gaston Montenescu (Marshall) and Lily, his lady pickpocket partner and lover (Hopkins), join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner, Mariette Colet (Francis).

In 1991, Trouble in Paradise was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Not to be confused with the video games Lilo & Stitch: Trouble in Paradise or Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, the Randy Newman album, or one of the finishing moves of Kofi Kingston.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Sorry, Lily. Gaston may be interested in you, but he's more interested in getting that wallet back first.
  • Bookends: The movie starts and finishes with Gaston and Lily showing the other what they have stolen from each other and then kissing.
  • Brick Joke: "What? You found a handbag? Well, you're three weeks too late."
  • Conspicuous Consumption: The filthy-rich Mariette spends 125,000 francs on a diamond-encrusted handbag.
  • Dirty Commies: in this case quite literally: an extremely grubby guy with a Russian accent uses Mariette's solicitation of people claiming to have found her handbag as an opportunity to harangue her in Russian about what Trotsky said about the rich.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The movie is completely shameless about it.
    Gaston: Good night, Madame. And let me tell you again, you dance like a dream.
    Mme. Colet: Oh no, it's the way you lead.
    Gaston: No, Madame, it's the way you follow.
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  • Establishing Character Moment: Everything you need to know about Madame Colet is shown in one of her first scenes. During two back-to-back scenes with her two suitors Francois Filiba and the Major, she lets the viewers know right off the bat that she even after her husband's death she handles her business and personal life superiorly well with a lot of confidence, to the point where she doesn't want to remarry.
    Colet: (to Filiba) "You see, François, marriage is a beautiful mistake which two people make together. But with you, François, I think it would be a mistake."
    Colet: (to the Major) "Don't be so down-hearted, Major. You're not the only one I don't love. I don't love Francois either."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Gaston and Lily may be ConArtists and thieves, but the two of them both deeply love each other and admire their crook skills.
  • Fake Aristocrat: At their first meeting, Lily and Gaston introduce themselves to each other as "Countess" and "Baron," respectively. Neither one fools the other, as they each recognize a fellow crook.
  • Gentleman Thief: Gaston, who is witty and charming and urbane.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet: Lily and Gaston are constantly catching each other stealing things.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Gaston and Lily are apparently both Omniglots.
  • Have We Met?: Hilariously played with; Francois is quite insistent that he's never met Gaston before. Then he remembers where he does know him from.
  • Karma Houdini: The protagonists are crooks and don't get caught. This was a violation of The Hays Code and caused the film to be withdrawn from circulation; it was not seen again until 1968.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "Beginnings are always difficult," says Gaston, about four minutes into the movie. He's talking about how to start a fancy dinner.
  • Love Triangle: Between Lily, Mariette and Gaston.
  • Outlaw Couple: After meeting and falling in love in Venice at the start of the movie, Lily and Gaston are a con artist team.
  • Running Gag: "I have a confession to make..."
  • Ruritania: Lily says that "King Boris of Alconia" has spotted her in Venice.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Called out by Gaston. Although, you have to remember he is the thief.
    Gaston: I see. You have to be in the Social Register to keep out of jail. But when a man starts at the bottom and works his way up, a self-made crook, then you say, "Call the police! Put him behind bars! Lock him up!"
  • Smarmy Host:
    From Geneva comes the news that the famous international crook, Gaston Monescu, robbed the peace conference yesterday. He took practically everything except the peace.
  • Stealing from the Till: The biggest surprise comes when Gaston figures out that Adolph Giron, adviser to the Colet family for decades and director of Mariette's company, has been embezzling for years.
  • Title Drop: In the opening song.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Lily usually hides the things she steals there. Not always with success, though.

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