Film

The Romance of the Jewel Thief

“Were we ever that sophisticated?” Peter Bogdanovich muses in an interview in one of the special features on the Criterion DVD release of Ernst Lubitsch’s Trouble in Paradise (1932). Certainly eighty years later the film leaves most modern comedies for dead. It is witty, amoral and erotic. Sexuality is implied with a deft cut, an elegant travelling shot, the expression in the performers’ eyes or with the phrasing of a particular line. “We know what he is getting at,” one exasperated censor was to complain, “but we can’t prove it.” Nevertheless by 1935 Trouble in Paradise was considered too risqué…

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