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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.


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.
  • Book-Ends: 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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  • 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the opening credits the words 'Trouble in' appear and then a bed before the word 'paradise,' subliminally indicating that sex is at least part of the film's plot. It was done so subtly for the time that censors didn't notice it until the film's attempted re-release in 1935.
    • Also, this:
      Gaston: Madame Colet, if I were your father, which fortunately I am not, and you made any attempt to handle your own business affairs, I would give you a good spanking - in a business way, of course.
      Mariette: What would you do if you were my secretary?
      Gaston: The same thing.
      Mariette: [smiles] You're hired.
  • 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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