Children Of Paradise

"Good"

Children Of Paradise Review


People (mostly French people, I presume) have called Children of Paradise a French Gone With the Wind. It's equally epic in scope, but good luck following along. Filled with the haughty arrogance of 1940s France, even the title of Children of Paradise is something of an over-your-head joke. The gaggle of characters hardly live in paradise -- they populate the "Boulevard of Crime," working as mimes, thieves, or hookers. And they're all in love -- four of them, in fact -- havin fallen for "actress" (read: prostitute) Garance (French actress Arletty, way ahead of her time with the one-word name thing).

The rivalries over Garance become so fierce that a man actually ends up nearly killed. That's the entire first half of the movie (which runs a dizzying 3 hours, 10 minutes). Of Garance's lovers, we are meant to root for the mime (Jean-Louis Barrault) (and there are endless scenes of pantomime), but in part two, we find he and Garance both trapped in loveless marriages to other people. They eventually meet again. Tragedy ensues. Three hours to reinvent Romeo and Juliet without any of the color.

While Children of Paradise is desperately lacking in story, it is truly groundbreaking as a filmmaker's showcase. Sweeping overhead shots, remarkable crowd scenes, and simply clever photography are probably why critics and Francophiles have really fallen for the film. (Just listen to Terry Gilliam's inexplicable introduction on the Criterion DVD: "I like this film because it's about the theater." Huh?!? He then goes on to discuss the cinematography.) On DVD, the film is restored quite beautifully, but there is still a surprising amount of crud on the print. A wholly overdone commentary track deconstructs the film to its most minute detail -- to the point of absurdity.

If you're dying to see the movie, though, this new DVD is definitely the way to see it.

Aka Les Enfants du Paradis.



Children Of Paradise

Facts and Figures

Run time: 190 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th November 1946

Distributed by: Home Vision Entertainment

Production compaines: Société Nouvelle Pathé Cinéma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Marcel Carné

Starring: as Claire Reine, dite Garance, as Baptiste Debureau, as Frédérick Lemaître, María Casares as Nathalie, Marcel Herrand as Pierre-François Lacenaire, Louis Salou as Édouard comte de Montray, as Jericho, as Mme Hermine

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.