Truffaut once said “I would give up all of my films to have directed Children of Paradise,” a fitting testament to an undeniable legacy. Dreamy, breathtaking and poignant, it was the most expensive film ever made in France at the time, elaborately recreating Paris of the 1820’s and 30’s with bewildering set-design. Director Marcel Carne’s magnum opus follows a beautiful performer (Arletty) courted by four men from diverse social standing: a thief, an actor, a nobleman and a mime. Perhaps, the consummate work of poetic realism, this two-part film is not so much historical epic as textured ensemble portrait, deeply sensitive to its’ characters as they grow over the story’s many years. This lavish production is all the more laudable when considered it was shot under Nazi occupation with resistance fighters hidden among its many costumed extras.
A 1979 issue of American Film digs into the history behind a French masterpiece. Read it now on the New Beverly blog.
View a collection of Children of Paradise stills on the New Beverly forum.
Ariel Schudson discusses Children of Paradise on the New Beverly blog.
Kim Morgan discusses Children of Paradise on the New Beverly blog.