WORLD CINEMA: Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)

(I’m going to say it again, folks…) It’s Oscar season! Aaaaand, today’s the big day! Oscars 2021 are here, woop! So, to celebrate, this month’s WORLD CINEMA goes out to Les Enfants du Paradis (1945, dir. Marcel Carné), one of the first films not in the English language to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay (Jacques Prevert).

Set in Paris’ Boulevard du Crime, Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paraside) follows a love… quintet (?), with Garance (Arletty), a beautiful courtesan, and the four men who want her: actor Frederick Lemaitre (Pierre Brasseur), the rebellious Pierre-Francois Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), mime artist Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) and the aristocrat Count Edouard de Montray (Louis Salou). Right from the off, we get this sense that, to them, Garance is a woman to be admired, pursued and conquered and during its 3-hour run (yes), that is precisely what they all try to do.

France’s answer to Gone with the Wind and frequently referred to as such, Les Enfants du Paradis was made under ridiculously arduous circumstances (look it up, it’s the stuff of nightmares), and what came out of it is almost too grand and too spectacular to fully go into and do it justice (especially considering this is my second attempt to do so here at the Garden). An ambitious masterpiece about love, showbiz, the theatre, Paris and its delicious 19th Century decadence, Les Enfants du Paradis is a sight to behold.

Six silly Oscar jokes – 30s and 40s edition

It’s Oscar season! This year’s Academy Awards ceremony will be held on 25th April and, once again, it will be host-less. And while I’m used to it by now, I do like a host! And because this is a Classic Hollywood blog, you know what’s coming (or do you? Do you ever know what’s coming here at the Garden? I’d like to think I’ve kept you on your toes for the last six years). So here is my ridiculous attempt at being funny with six stupid jokes I would have made at the Oscars back in the 30s and 40s. (See?) Move over, Bob.

– Welcome to the 5th annual Academy Awards. Everyone from Hollywood is here! I heard they’re already making the sequel to Grand Hotel as we speak.  

– Victor Fleming was busy this year. Gone with the Wind AND The Wizard of Oz. Hey Vic, leave something for George Cukor… Oh wait.

– Walt Disney is set to receive the Irving Thalberg award tonight. That’s just what he needs, another one.

– Ray Milland is nominated for The Lost Weekend and if he doesn’t win… well, you’ve seen The Lost Weekend.

– This year we have Supporting Actor and Actress nominees for the first time and it’s about time. In fact, if you ask me, I think it’s outrageous Asta hasn’t gotten a Lifetime Achievement award yet.

– Ingrid Bergman is nominated for Gaslight and she said she was absolutely thrilled! At least, she thinks she did.

Happy Oscar season, everyone! More with WORLD CINEMA later this month.