Children of Paradise

The Children of Paradise

4.8 5
Director: Marcel Carné

Cast: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur


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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…  See more details below


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. The film was produced under overwhelmingly difficult circumstances during the Nazi occupation of France, and many of the participants/creators were members of the Maquis, so the movie's existence itself is somewhat miraculous. Children of Paradise has gone on to become one of the great romantic classics of international cinema.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Shooting secretly over a two-year period during the German Occupation of France, director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert produced their grandest masterwork. In the 19th century Paris theater world, life and performance become interchangeable, as the complex romantic entanglements of Arletty's inscrutable Garance with superficial actor Frederick, a wealthy count, and especially Jean-Louis Barrault's sensitive mime Baptiste become fodder for the masses crowding the "Street of Crimes" and the theater's uppermost balcony. Structured as two intricate "acts" complete with curtains rising and falling, the film reveals the creative power of idealized love in Baptiste's exquisite mimes of his fateful passion for Garance, even as the ebb and flow of human behavior thwarts that ideal. Magnificently recreating the period and its tradition of popular entertainment, Les Enfants du Paradis was released to international postwar acclaim for its spectacular beauty and excellent acting, while Prévert's intelligent script was nominated for a screenplay Oscar. Even as Carné fell out of artistic favor after the 1940s, Les Enfants du Paradis's glorious visuals transcended its association with the maligned French "Tradition of Quality," maintaining its legacy as Carné and Prévert's crowning achievement.

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Special Features

Audio commentary by film scholars Brian Stonehill and Charles Affron; Video introduction by director Terry Gilliam; Restoration demostration; U.S. trailer; Once upon a time: "Children of Paradise" a 2009 documentary on the making of the film; New visual essay on the design of Children of Paradise by film writer Paul Ryan; The birth of "Children of Paradise," a 1967 Rob Houver film documentary featuring interviews with director Marcel Carné; actors Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Pierre Brasseur; production designer Alexandre Trauner and others

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Arletty Garance
Jean-Louis Barrault Baptiste Deburau
Pierre Brasseur Frederick Lemaitre
Marcel Herrand Lacenaire
Albert Remy Scarpia Barigni
Pierre Renoir Jericho
Maria Casarés Nathalie
Fabien Loris Avril
Etienne Decroux Anselme Deburau
Louis Salou Count Edward de Monteray
Jane Marken [Jeanne] Madame Hermine
Pierre Palau Director
Gaston Modot The Blind
Paul Frankeur Inspector of Police
Auguste Boverio First Author
Jean Carmet Actor
Jacques Castelot Georges
Paul Demange Second Author
Robert Dhéry Celestin
Guy Favieres Debt Collector
Jean Lanier Iago
Leon Larive Stage Doorman at "Funambules"
Marcel Pérès Director at "Funambules"

Technical Credits
Marcel Carné Director
Léon Barsacq Art Director
Madeleine Bonin Editor
R. Cabutti Art Director
Marc Fossard Cinematographer
Roger Hubert Cinematographer
Joseph Kosma Score Composer
Mayo Costumes/Costume Designer
George Mouque Score Composer
Fred Orain Producer
Jacques Prévert Screenwriter
Henri Rust Editor
Maurice Thiriet Score Composer
Alexandre Trauner Art Director

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Children of Paradise
1. Opening Titles [4:19]
2. The Boulevard of Crime [5:15]
3. Lacenaire and His Guardian Angel [6:28]
4. Baptiste Rescues Garance [6:15]
5. Les Funambules [5:25]
6. Chaos Onstage [10:21]
7. Frédérick Lemaître [5:10]
8. Le Rouge Gorge [10:29]
9. Baptiste Fights Back [4:28]
10. "Love is So Simple" [9:51]
11. The Palace of Illusions [5:49]
12. Nathalie Speaks [7:39]
13. "The Voice of Love" [12:48]
14. A Judicial Error [7:38]
Disc #2 -- Children of Paradise
1. Opening Titles [4:26]
2. Frédérick the Great [8:52]
3. The Inn of the Adrets [5:21]
4. Backstage with Lacenaire [7:34]
5. Garace Has Changed [11:57]
6. Backstage Reunion [7:42]
7. Lacenaire and the Count [11:14]
8. Baptiste in Hiding [4:25]
9. Othello [7:11]
10. "Jealousy Belongs to All" [5:44]
11. Garance Was Right [1:44]
12. At the Bath [3:48]
13. Lost [8:17]
1. Color Bars [:00]

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The Children of Paradise 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've seen this masterwork several times, the last at a small art-house in San Franciso where the audience was comprised of the very youg -- from late teens to early 20s. I almost walked out, at that point, because I was afraid they wouldn't ''get it.'' Well, they sat there for more than three hours obviously entranced by this magical, wonderful film that for years was considered, by a survey of international critics, as the greatest movie ever
Firannion More than 1 year ago
I first saw this in the early '70s, and it's still my favorite film of all time. There's enough matter in here for 5 or 6 lesser movies. You can ponder the different varieties of love depicted as metaphors for the different styles of theatre and vice versa, or just enjoy it as a gorgeous spectacle with unforgettable characters. Don't die without having seen 'Children of Paradise' at least once.
Runner510 More than 1 year ago
I first saw CHILDREN OF PARADISE many years ago, when I was an impressionable college sophomore, and the story of unrequited love depressed me but cast a spell that has lasted for decades. I've since watched the film several times since then, and it has become a personal favorite. The commentary track on this Criterion disk adds quite a lot to the viewing. It's a long film, but I love every minute of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago