A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

Miriam Hopkins and Herbert Marshall in Trouble in Paradise
Lily: Miriam Hopkins
Mariette Colet: Kay Francis
Gaston Monescu: Herbert Marshall
The Major: Charles Ruggles
François Filiba: Edward Everett Horton
Adolph J. Giron: C. Aubrey Smith
Jacques: Robert Greig

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Screenplay: Samson Raphaelson, Grover Jones
Based on a play by Aladar Laszlo
Cinematography: Victor Milner
Art direction: Hans Dreier
Costume design: Travis Banton
Music: W. Franke Harling

It's a measure of the stupidity of American censorship that this gemlike sophisticated comedy could not have been made in Hollywood two years later, after the Production Code was implemented, but was also withheld from re-release for years afterward, all because it dared to indicate that its adult characters were having sex with one another without benefit of clergy and because the blithely larcenous Lily and Gaston were allowed to get off without apparent punishment -- indeed, with considerable reward -- for their crimes. It's essential for anyone who wants to know why Ernst Lubitsch and his so-called "touch" were so highly prized for so long.

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