as it happens, the first film we watched in the new year is also one of the finest films ever made. this is auspicious.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE, dir. ernst lubitsch, 1932, is a romantic comedy about thieves in love. it stars herbert marshall and miriam hopkins as a crooked couple and kay francis as the beautiful heir to a parisian perfumery fortune-- she's the mark they set out to swindle. the plot thickens, interests are piqued, jealousies inflamed, all leading to an ending both unexpected and totally, uniquely satisfying. movies don't end this way enough.

it's a funny film. it's also a sad one. this movie tells you what it means to be in love, to make choices, and to accept difficulty with grace. it has wit, loneliness, romance, tension and intrigue. all this and more in 82 minutes.

roger ebert on TROUBLE IN PARADISE

82 minutes! there is no fat on this picture. it is an argument for economy. if there really is a "lubitsch touch," it lies in this seemingly airtight arrangement of parts--the perfect cast, the best dialogue, and, as peter bogdanovich has pointed out, "not a moment of wasted motion." the editing is mostly invisible, and those points of stylistic boldness--a prelude to a love scene towards the middle of the movie, for instance--are exercised so sparingly that they just shimmer. kay francis has a face that looks like it is always indulging you a little, and miriam hopkins is beautiful, enthusiastic and utterly charming. lubitsch had to know all of this; after seeing only one of his films (albeit his "best" one) i trust in that completely. lubitsch is king. long live lubitsch.

this is my favorite time of the year, a time where i experience an almost superstitious belief in renewal, new beginnings, and the sweeping out of bad luck. i will turn twenty-six in 2009 and celebrate the two-year anniversary of my marriage. i hope to meet many new people this year and for everything to work out for all of them. i love this movie. i feel unassailably good about things.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE is the latest assignment for FILM ORGY.