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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitler looming behind L'Oreal's Ms B., 5 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: TROUBLE IN PARADISE (Masters of Cinema) (DVD) [1932] (DVD)
This 1932 film, the first talking film by Lubitsch is a dear moment of pleasure. It is a comedy but the comedy is a lot more subtle than anyone may think.

It is about a crook who meets a thief and they fall in love but then they plan schemes that are so big it is amazing how easy they seem to be. They plan an operation that would capture a fair amount of cash, and some jewels, from the heiress and boss of the first cosmetic (in those days it was mainly perfume) business in Paris and probably the world. It sounds like L'Oreal so much that the only difference between the young widow who is heading the business and Ms Bettencourt who has finally been court-ordered out of freely managing and using her money is their age.

Yet that did not prevent the gay photographer who had been her late husband's lover to take her over and manipulate her like a piece a play dough. Never too old to be submitted to that game.

The second difference is that the crooks are a couple and the danger for them is that the man may fall for the heiress, really fall I mean, and that solution is caressed for a short while but the dramatic suspense it creates is short lived in the end.

The third interest is that the film clearly shows how the main board member of the business is using his position to enrich himself with discrete transfers from the business accounts to his own knowing that the heiress or boss or widow will never understand the procedure but the new secretary who is the crook and thief who infiltrated the business to get to the lady's safe knows about it at once and can reveal it. It takes a crook to know another.

But then how funny it is to see the victim of all these rotten crooks refusing to call the police because of the scandal it would create. They did not know yet that a good and deep scandal is the best publicity for a business, as long as the scandal does show any support to the wrong side, and there Lubitsch is a very subtle man. The crooked board member who is stealing from the business on a regular basis has a secret first name he does not like. In 1932, guess twice what it could be? Adolf of course, and even if you write it the French way Adolphe it does not change and in the film it sounds just like Adolf, the other Adolf of 1932 who was starting to loom high over Europe.

But a funny film after all far from such political considerations. Is it now so far from these political considerations?

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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Location: OLLIERGUES France

Top Reviewer Ranking: 27,489