Children of Paradise
aka Les enfants du paradis
Reviewed in February 2010
Director: Marcel Carné. Cast: Jean-Louis Barrault, Arletty, Pierre Brasseur, Marcel Herrand, María Casares, Louis Salou, Pierre Renoir, Marcel Pérès, Fabien Loris, Jane Marken, Paul Frankeur, Gaston Modot, Albert Rémy, Jean-Pierre Belmon. Screenplay: Jacques Prévert.

Photo © 1945 Pathé Consortium Cinéma, © 1946 Tricolore
Watery reflections of moving subtly light on the proscenium curtain; Teeming, music-filled establishing shot/scene of "le boulevard du crime" - strongmen, chorus girls, monkeys on stilts; "Step right in - the truth is here!" - "Naked Truth" - She quits: "They're just so ugly" / Larcenaire: "I'd like to stamp them out" - "War on humanity" - "I'm planning something grandiose" (spit curls); "You are the only woman for whom I have no conttempt"; - she comes cuz she's bored; L: "I'll walk with my head held high until it drops inthe basket"; 1508; 1912; 2125; 2719; stepping in as lion ("Pygma-lion"); "I'm warning you - it won't be easy to call me off"; 3346; 3500; "Their lives are small, but their dreams are vast - I want to move them..."; Lemaitre seducing Hermine even as he rents her room?; the Red Breast cafe with Silk Thread; Baptiste dancing with A, she warns him, veyry MRouge, Avril punches him out window for Lacenaire; B: "I had a rough childhood, I learned to defend myself"; A's mother died at 15, leaving her with nothing; Her thin little heart-shaped earrings; c10250 as she undresses; A: I'm not the way you dreamed, please don't be angry, I'm simple; He enters her room without musical score (Lemaitre); 10909; panto hanging interr by pigtailed girl - uses cord as jumprope; B spies Lemaitre and A flirting offstage while he's still on as depressed clown; IC yells "Baptiste" as she witnesses his heartbreak; IC: "I blieve one day you'll love me - we run in circles like circus horses" - she means the chain of unrequited loves; FL: "i'm dying of silence as others die of thirst"; my sphinx, my raven-haired blonde Isolde; she doesn't love him; FL's got an Othello fixation, hicih bodes poorly; C. Edouard de Montray arrives with a bouquet so huge it's like a funeral offering; She's insulted by his attentions, disregarding love, diminishing her life as something to be taken over; constant 3F fines (for IC's sccream, for ligthning sound); He even says "Come what may"; 10320; B hacks away at the flowers: I hate everyone, I hate F, I hate myself!; 13139 ish, Xing out his faace; IC intrudes, sure that B is fated to love only her; Upon attempted arrest: "Attention! Fragile. Objet d'art" - she's caught up with an attempted murderer by Lacenaire & AVril; Oddly triumphant muisc based on her offering the Count's card to inspector leads to end of Pt. 1; Lemaitre in a terrible play for which he needs the money; two women dueling for his love, but sad about it; L touched by jealousy of B and his fawning notices; creditors attack Frederick as he heads i for his rehearsal cue; He's making a comic burlesque of the (not very good) drama and inveigling the author from the stage; metatheatrical pranksterism; Attacked as Robert Macaire, he says he is Frederick Lemaitre - as he dies of melodramaatic gunshot wounds, he points to playwright and producers as perps; "You have deeply insulted the dramatic arts - despoiled our prose" - he mocks them as "the holy trinity"; Heartbeats of the actor and the audience at the same time - Lacenaire: "How promiscuous"; Pitching him on a pastoral drama of reunited lovers; "I have to regain my strength - I have a duel at dawn"; 2508; shows up drunk; She's now married to the Count, a veiled society dame who's been to India and Scotland but loves only Paris (and Baptiste); uproarious laughter in the upper balconies especially; 3258; As he stabs and robs the clothing seller: "He's gentless itself - how can he look so cruel?"; 3531; F jealous for the first time in his life; makes himj able to play Othello?; Jericho: "Every night, Baptiste kills an old man like me for entertainment!"; J tells IC that Garance is waiting in Box 7; G is confronted by little B on behalf of IC; some weepiness restrained about not havin ga little boy of her own; B storms out of ball scene with IC to race to A's box, but she's already gone; "I'd prefer to find you ravaged, simple, rendered stupid by weatlh" - but they actually have an open arrangement and seem generous and happy; Tense encounter between Conte and Lacenaire on staircase; C asks for duel, but L wants to kill hiim right there; "To be honest, when I knew him, he was also a thief, and a bit of a murderer"; C: "Please understand how much I desire your love"; A: "Don't ask the impossible"; A is assured anew by B that he loved her and still loves her; Funambules going along without Baptiste, drearing on his bed; B on Othello: "Woudl make a good patnomime... A sad, absurd tale like so many others"; "What are you doing? I'm talking to myself nto to you" (Firmine - audience/actor metaphor); Comte and A attend Frederick's Othello - scary CU around 10330; B walks in for bedroom Desdemona scene; C: "I really must congrratulate this remarkable actor"; A: "If you do, I'll never see you again"; B and A reunited in crowd; he whisks her off, Lacenaire is watching; A to B: "You saved me from growing old, dull, and used up"; kiss on balcony, covrtly observed by L; Tragedy vs. farce of cuckolds and kings and ordinary people; promise of murders - Lacenaire pulls aside curtain and reveals B with A before entire drawing room: "I've just enjoyed an exquisite moment"; C and FL are going to duel, because Laceinaire doesn't?; jealousy the unique property of no man; A goes back to old room with B; "Everything is the same, nothing has changed!" - B says same aobu ther; pan over to window, darkening of light, as they fade into erotic encounter; Carnival in the strets; boisterous ,confetti-filled street scene; Moorish arch of the building where L & Avril entr to see Conte, dialogue with black concierge dressed as Arab; Comte dressed in an Othello robe, smoking a pipe, as L appr with hand in vest, and Avril hip-cocked and arms crossed in doorway; offscreen stabbing (no gunshot?) and fall into water; Avril looks post-orgasmic about it, sighing out, "Monsieur Lacenaire..."; L: "I won't risk losing my head to a country executioner"; Carnival continues in street, A - I cannot let f die because of me; A reminding B she would have had to leave anyway; urging him about IC and little boy; 12253, IC walks in on the two; "Easy to come, easy to go, time works for you, embellished by memory"; "I've lived with him for six years" / "Me, too - anywhere, everywhere, every day"; IC: "Were you always thinking of her??" - B can't answer, but storms out after Arletty; city looking more pre-modern all the time; into the throng, camera tilting up; absolute pandemonium of noise and motion; Ragman grabs him by the wrist and mocks him; 12715 ish?; looks as though the city is teeming with Baptistes in loose white miming smocks, a dazzling rain of confetti; cloistered shot of her looking evacuated in her carriage, with no context at all; Celebratory dazzle of final tableau, with music continuing to impersonate merriment with dark undertones, as curtain comes down; A

Academy Award Nominations (1946):
Best Original Screenplay: Jacques Prévert

Permalink Home 1945 ABC Blog E-Mail