Design for Living Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 28, 2013
Noel Coward's subversive (and persistent) dream longing for the halycon days of the court of Caligula's nightly entertainment is toned down slightly by writer Ben Hecht and impresario director Ernst Lubitsch into a coy consideration for the free love movement ... in 1933, no less. The principals are charming, all professing love for the Bohemian experience while desperately trying to leave it behind.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2008
the risque lubitsch comedy was originally a controversial noel coward play about a bohemian menage a trois. fearing that film audiences weren't as sophisticated as those of the theater, the studio hired ben hecht to gut the script and very few of coward's witty lines survived. while this is a crying shame, lubitsch still manages to work a little magic with alot of help from the ever charming miriam hopkins, a free-spirit who can't choose between two friends in love with her. soon they all agree to a rather unconventional living arrangement. the male leads are an impossibly handsome gary cooper, showing some comedy skills that got little use later in his career, and frederic march, who's even funnier imo. definitely worth a watch for the stars and unusual subject matter. it's clever but one can't help wondering what might have been
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2007
Very interesting, very funny and very racy comedy is about the creatively beneficial but sexless menage a toi between March, Cooper and Hopkins.

My least favorite Lubitsch so far, but that doesn't mean this still isn't great.

Great double entendres as well
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2011
"Design for Living" since It's inception has been dubbed a critical failure due to the time and Ernst Lubitsch changing all the original dialogue, save one line. Even though the film was made in 1933, it was very open and expressive in its sexual themes but in a way that it got around the censors. A mere few years later however, it didn't meet the guidelines on the censors and disappeared for quite some time. The film revolves around a sexually free woman and her trials involving two handsome men (played wonderfully by Fredric March and Gary Cooper) that she meets on a train. The two men fall for Gilda Farrell (played by a lovely and beautiful Miriam Hopkins) and she starts relationships with both. They quickly discover each others involvement with Gilda and jealously arises causing Gilda to leave both men for Mr. Plunkett with whom she marries. In the end both men come to terms that the three can work out their complicated relationship and all remain together. The miserable Gilda is saved from her misery by the two men and Mr. Pluckett agrees to a divorce (He's eluded to as being gay although it is never declared). The film pushed the boundaries and censors and that's to be respected in my opinion and the film is a fun and witty watch with hidden meanings to avoid censorship. Recommend!
zdravkoduck
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2010
Movies like that if it were made today would have a lot of stupid music and too many shots of the city surrounding the characters of the film you know? They all meet so quickly. I enjoyed that. Today you would need corny lines. telephone rings and bells before the characters meet. I know it sounds like i dont know what im talking about. well i dont. It's hard to review old movies objectively or whatever. I really like mariam hopkins. She was adorable. But a little stuck up. March & Cooper i thought i gotta see more of their movies. Cooper is such a little boy in a giant mans body. It's interesting to see romance and flirting and sex and all that in those times. Ok heres my point. In the middle of the movie they have this pact "no sex" and that was that no montages or silly music. If it were made today it'd be all about 3 people..i dont know im gonna go have dinner.
October 20, 2014
As I was watching "Branded to Kill" I was shocked. I could not believe they were getting away with this kind of subject matter in 1933. The film was way ahead of its time... I mean if this movie came out today there is a good chance it would be rated R, with all of the sexual innuendoes. Don't misunderstand me the movie is great. I highly recommend it. Just know what your getting into and enjoy the movie. Also, if you are a film buff like me, read up on how the movie got past the censors of the time.
December 14, 2012
another romantic triangle given lubitsch treatment though based on a noel coward play little of his dialog made it 2 the screen.
January 16, 2009
I liked this movie, but it made me feel a bit awkward in spots. But then I think the awkwardness was part of why I liked it.

It's kind of like "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice" in that it's experimenting with the whole issue of monogamy, love and friendship, jealousy, emotional self control, what's open-minded versus what is kind of helplessly cruel. People struggling to balance passion and honesty with empathy and sensitivity.

So, I definitely liked it, but in an uncomfortable sort of way.
February 25, 2014
Funny, surprising and sophisticated. Even if the characters lack some depth and complexity, the chemistry between the lead actors is undeniable, and the dialogues are witty and clever. Very enjoyable.
April 12, 2012
Funny, romantic, and engaging. Proof that romantic comedies used to be both.
February 6, 2012
Comà (C)dia sobre um triângulo amoroso demora algum tempo a aquecer, mas, assim que descola, à (C) um festival de "lines" absolutamente memoráveis e palco para uma trama sexual muito à frente do seu tempo, em 1933. Custa atà (C) acreditar que um filme desse tempo seja muito mais sofisticado do que um monte de contemporâneos, no que tem a dizer sobre como os homens e as mulheres se relacionam. Clássico de alto valor acrescido pelo micro-crush com que fiquei Miriam Hopkins. 4/5
January 27, 2012
Fantastic precode comedy. It manages to be really dirty without actually saying anything. Something that is super rare for a 1930's film. Young Gary Cooper is good, and I couldn't help but love Miriam Hopkins. Its just a unique film for the time period and actually holds up really well today.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2011
"Design for Living" since It's inception has been dubbed a critical failure due to the time and Ernst Lubitsch changing all the original dialogue, save one line. Even though the film was made in 1933, it was very open and expressive in its sexual themes but in a way that it got around the censors. A mere few years later however, it didn't meet the guidelines on the censors and disappeared for quite some time. The film revolves around a sexually free woman and her trials involving two handsome men (played wonderfully by Fredric March and Gary Cooper) that she meets on a train. The two men fall for Gilda Farrell (played by a lovely and beautiful Miriam Hopkins) and she starts relationships with both. They quickly discover each others involvement with Gilda and jealously arises causing Gilda to leave both men for Mr. Plunkett with whom she marries. In the end both men come to terms that the three can work out their complicated relationship and all remain together. The miserable Gilda is saved from her misery by the two men and Mr. Pluckett agrees to a divorce (He's eluded to as being gay although it is never declared). The film pushed the boundaries and censors and that's to be respected in my opinion and the film is a fun and witty watch with hidden meanings to avoid censorship. Recommend!
½ September 15, 2011
Really good 1930's sex comedy about a menage a trois relationship (although not said very obviously applied) great performances by Fredic March and Miriam Hopkins and a suprisingly good comedic one by Gary Cooper. The only qualm is it feels rather stagey even for a film for the thirties but the lines are so funny and droll it really dosen't effect things too much although it ends like you'd think it would, but still an excellent comedy far superior to current ones that don't understand how to combine emotion and humor without making them into essentially melodramas.
August 1, 2010
Another Amusing Romantic Comedy directed by the Master Ernst Lubitsch about Fredric March & Gary Cooper as Two Writers who fall in Love with the same Woman played by the lovely Miriam Cooper who twist up their Heads and is torn between having Fun with them and marry a Solid Citizen to live a Sober Life. She is also critizing the Books of their Fellas in Love and always rate them Rotten.
½ October 23, 2005
AMUSING EARLY LUBITSH COMEDY, NICELY WRITTEN BUT IT'S A BIT TALKY. LIKABLE MALE LEADS (FREDRIC MARCH AND GARY COOPER). I HAVE NEVER CARED FOR MIRIAM HOPKINS. GOOD SUPPORT. GOOD, BUT NOT ONE OF LUBITSCH'S BEST.
June 7, 2005
Universal has just released The Gary Cooper Collection, a collection of 5 of Coop's films from the 30s, retailing for about $25 but available for $20 online. That's $4 a picture. Sweet.

Of the lot, I've only seen [i]Design for Living[/i], so I bought the set. I figure [i]Design for Living[/i] is worth twenty bucks and I got four free movies!!!!

[i]Design for Living[/i] is based on the Noel Coward play of the same name. Ben Hecht wrote the screenplay and apparently discarded all of Coward's work, retaining the basic concept: George, a painter, and Thomas, a playwright, are Americans sharing an apartment in Paris. They meet Gilda, who falls in love with both of them and moves in, acting as muse and critic to their respective arts, but with NO SEX.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch and featuring Coop, Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins and Edward Everett Horton (as George, Tommy, Gilda and Edward Everett Horton), [i]Design for Living[/i] is a very fun and very funny sex comedy that could only come from the early thirties. Gary Cooper isn't really remembered as a comedian, but he had a wonderfully droll way with a line. Frederic March subverts his usual stentorian self with an unexpected goofiness and appears in boxer shorts in one scene (March had terrifcally sexy legs. Check out his gladiator garb in [i]The Sign of the Cross[/i]. Woof!). Miriam Hopkins is sublime as Gilda; outside of [i]Becky Sharp[/i], she did her best work with Lubitsch and is in top sexy madcap form here.

Lotsa fun. The set also includes [i]Peter Ibbetson, The General Died at Dawn, Beau Geste[/i] and [i]The Lives of the Bengel Lancer[/i].
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