"Children Of Paradise" Is Released
Les Enfants du Paradis, released as Children of Paradise in North America, is a 1945 film by French director Marcel Carné, made during the Nazi occupation of France.
Set among the Parisian theatre scene of the 1830s, it tells the story of a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and the four men who love her in their own ways: a mime, an actor, a criminal and an aristocrat. A 3 hour film divided into two halves, it was described in the original American trailer as the French answer to Gone with the Wind. The film was voted "Best French Film Ever" in a poll of 600 French critics and professionals in 1995.
Even in 1945, Marcel Carné's Children of Paradise was regarded as an old-fashioned film. Set in the Parisian theatrical world of the 1840s, Jacques Prévert's screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable goal. In the stylized fashion of 19th-century French drama, many grand passions are spent during the film's totally absorbing 195 minutes. Amazingly, the film was produced over a two-year period in virtual secrecy, without the knowledge of the Nazis then occupying France, who would surely have arrested several of the cast and production staff members (including Prévert) for their activities in the Resistance. Children of Paradise has gone on to become one of the great romantic classics of international cinema. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide