The Demi-Paradise

The Demi-Paradise (also known as Adventure for Two) is a 1943 British[1] comedy film made by Two Cities Films. It stars Laurence Olivier as a Soviet Russian inventor who travels to England to have his revolutionary propeller manufactured, and Penelope Dudley-Ward as the woman who falls in love with him. It was directed by Anthony Asquith and produced by Anatole de Grunwald and Filippo Del Giudice from a screenplay by de Grunwald. The music score was by Nicholas Brodszky and the cinematography by Bernard Knowles.

The Demi-Paradise
Danish theatrical poster
Directed byAnthony Asquith
Produced byFilippo Del Giudice
Anatole de Grunwald
Written byAnatole de Grunwald
StarringLaurence Olivier
Margaret Rutherford
Music byNicholas Brodszky
CinematographyBernard Knowles
Edited byRenee Woods
Distributed byTwo Cities Films
Release date
20 December 1943 (UK)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film is a gentle satire on the values the English hold so dear. It was designed to encourage sympathy between Britain and the Soviet Union. The film's title is a reference to John of Gaunt's famous speech in Richard II which begins:

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise

Plot summary

Ivan Kouznetsoff (Laurence Olivier), a Russian inventor, travels to England to introduce the British shipping industry to his newly invented and improved propeller blade. There he meets socialite Anne Tisdall (Penelope Dudley-Ward), and falls for her. Meeting Anne and hearing her views turn his own previous conceptions about the capitalist system and its degenerates upside down. After a lovers' quarrel, Ivan heads back to Russian only to be recalled to England a year later to smooth out imperfections in his design. Despite his efforts, his modifications prove to be unsound and he seems destined to return to the Soviet Union in disgrace.

Anne convinces the local shipbuilders to work around the clock in order to realise the revolutionary propeller. Soon they solve the problem, and there is a very successful launch of the new line of ships. Ivan can return to the Soviet Union to aid the war effort, enriched by Anne's love.[2]


Miles Malleson, John Laurie, George Cole and Wilfrid Hyde-White had minor roles.


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