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.
by Hal Erickson synopsis