Trouble in Paradise (Mancia competente) – USA 1932

Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

Starring: Herbert Marshal; Miriam Hopkins; Kay Francis; Edward Everett Horton; Charles Ruggles.

Gaston Monescu knows how to “steal” a woman’s heart, or even two…

This delightful romantic comedy, talking about the charming gentleman thief Gaston Monescu his colleague and lover Lilli and the beautiful French wealthy widow Mme Colet, made talk about the “Lubitsch touch” for the first time. Ernst Lubitsch, German-born Jewish, after directing many silent films in Germany, went to USA in 1922 to direct a Mary Pickford’s film and became one of the most famous Hollywood director of the “classic age” known for the elegance and sophistication of his films.

It is almost impossible to me not to express sympathy for the silly widow Mme Colet that spends a fortune for an evening clutch bag, refuse to cut salaries as recommended by her perfumes factory’s executives, and finally, after hiring a thief (in disguise) as her secretary, gives him the power to do whatever necessary to improve her business including cuts in executives’ salaries.

Even if you don’t like the so called “screwball comedy”, that some critic also called “sex comedy without sex”, whose Trouble in Paradise gives a perfect example, you could enjoy two things from this movie: the typical Art Deco interior design (in Mme Colet house) and the beautiful gowns designed by Travis Banton (one of the most famous 1930 costume Designer) that show at its best this period style.

A related movie I like: To catch a thief – USA 1955 Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring: Cary Grant; Grace Kelly; Jessie Royce Landis; John Williams.

Gaston Monescu sa come “rubare” il cuore a una donna, o magari a due…

Per questa deliziosa commedia romantica, che parla dell’affascinante ladro gentiluomo Gaston Monescu della sua collega ed amante Lilli e della bella e ricca vedova Francese Mme Colet, è stata coniata l’espressione di “tocco di Lubitsch”. Ernst Lubitsch, regista cinematografico ebreo di origine tedesca, dopo aver diretto diversi film muti in Germania si trasferì negli USA nel 1922 per dirigere un film con Mary Pickford e diventò poi uno dei più famosi registi del periodo “classico” conosciuto soprattutto per la sofisticata eleganza delle sue opere.

Non si può non avere una certa simpatia per la vanesia vedova Mme Colet che spende una fortuna per una borsetta da sera in piena crisi economica, rifiuta di tagliare gli stipendi dei suoi impiegati come suggerito dai dirigenti del suo stabilimento di profumi, e assunto un ladro (sotto mentite spoglie) come segretario gli da mano libera sui suoi affari permettendogli di tagliare sì degli stipendi ma quelli dei dirigenti.

Anche se non amate la “commedia sofisticata”, che alcuni critici americani chiamavano anche “commedia sexy senza il sesso”, di cui Mancia competente è un perfetto esempio, ci sono almeno due cose in questo film che potranno attirare la vostra attenzione: gli  arredi in perfetto stile Art Déco della dimora di Mme Colet  e i bellissimi abiti disegnati da Travis Banton, costumista tra i più celebri degli anni ’30, che riassumono al meglio lo stile di quel periodo.

Un film collegato che amo: Caccia al ladro – USA 1955 Diretto da: Alfred Hitchcock. Con: Cary Grant; Grace Kelly; Jessie Royce Landis; John Williams.

About Ella V

I love old movies, rock music, books, art... I'm intrested in politics. I adore cats. I knit...

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