Mrs. T and I finally got around to watching Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise for the first time the other day. You may wonder why two devoted film lovers waited so long to see a film universally regarded as one of the supreme achievements of European cinema. Alas, I don’t have a good answer other than “Sir, you MAY wonder,” but at least I can echo the words of Evelyn Waugh, who made the following entry in his diary in 1946:
What an enormous, uncovenanted blessing to have kept Henry James for middle age and to turn, as the door shuts behind the departing guest, to a first reading of Portrait of a Lady.
Waugh was only forty-two when he wrote those lines. At fifty-three, my reaction to seeing Children of Paradise is to say, What joy to have more masterpieces ahead of me!
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The English-language theatrical trailer for Children of Paradise: