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Not too funny and not believable enough to invest in, you can still enjoy the farce these three think they're putting over on us. The dialogue is, at times, witty, which aligns with March but is a strain with Cooper. Hopkins holds it together, while Horton really isn't needed at all. Script problems abound, but the pre-code possibilities of making this into something much better than it is are endless. Worth a watch.
The three main actors have a great chemistry together, which helps hold our attention for some nice time, but truth is, the script is pretty unfunny for a comedy and there is not enough here to engage us or make us care about anything that happens to the characters.
Design for Living is a frustrating movie because it is never great as it deserved to have been, but instead ended up being just good. All three of its great actors did a good job with Miriam Hopkins stealing the show completely. I loved the dialogue and the dynamic between these three and some scenes such as the opening and ending are unforgettable. But even though the film is bold in its ending and very brave and commendable for dealing with the subject of polygamy, it never made perfect use of it, the pacing is totally off and, for high screwball comedy standards, it is mostly devoid of true laughs.
cinegeek.de Eine oft gestellte Frage am Videotresen der Filmkunstbar Fitzcarraldo: "Heut mal was Leichtes, aber bitte nichts Blödes". Antwort: Ernst Lubitsch, das Gesamtwerk, vor allem aber seine Komödien der frühen 30er. Das ist die Phase, in der Hollywood noch nicht unter der Zensur litt und alles ging! Hier kommt das moralische Spiel mit der Unmoral! Eine Werbegrafikerin, ein Maler und ein Dramaturg (das tolle Trio Fredric March, Gary Cooper und Miriam Hopkins) gehen eine Liebe zu dritt ein. Doch auch die hats in sich und deshalb flüchtet Hopkins in eine bürgerliche Ehe. Aus der wird sie aber wiederum befreit durch die Serenade zu dritt! Niemand versteht es wie Lubitsch auf der Klaviatur der Mehrdeutugkeiten und Anspielungen zu spielen! Niemand bietet derartig geschliffene Dialoge! Niemand sprüht so über vor Ideen! Der Meister adaptierte das Bühnenstück Noel Cowards und verfilmte es in seiner gewohnt geistreichen Art. Ganz nebenbei setzt er dabei die Grundregel der romantischen Hollywood-Komödie ausser Kraft: Die der Monogamie. Normalerweise werden Treue und Vertrauen der Liebenden erprobt, um anschliessend eine Familie zu gründen. Wohl bemerkt: Lubitschs Zweifel an diesen Werten wirken dabei nie verletzend! Er belässt es bei uns, das alles zu hinterfragen, vor allem aber will er uns amüsieren. Lubitschs Dialoge wirken deshalb heute noch irritierend und man kann es sich bildlich vorstellen, wie sie erst 1933 provoziert haben mögen! Design For Living ist in Deutschland wenig bekannt. 1933 passte er natürlich nicht zur Komödienkultur des dritten Reiches und auch in den 50ern wirkte die Komödie deplaziert in der prüden Gesellschaft der Zeit. Und heute? Lubitsch ist immer noch nicht konform mit den Werten des deutschen Fernsehens! (Dazu gibts unsere Film List "Hollywoods wilde Jahre bis 1934" auf cinegeek.de
This is an amusing comedy from Ernst Lubitsch with Gary Cooper and Frederich March based on a Noel Coward play. It's pretty risque for 1933. Worth checking out for classic movie lovers.
The Lubitsch touch was a certain wink-wink naughtiness put forth in a sublime comic way that kept things elegant rather than crass or raunchy. Or at least that's my interpretation. Here, Gary Cooper and Frederic March are best friends, a painter and a playwright, who fall in love with Miriam Hopkins. However, she can't decide which she prefers and instead they decide to live together as a threesome - but no sex allowed. Of course, this doesn't quite work out (or does it?). Edward Everett Horton is the fuddy-duddy foil to the merry three -- although somehow he is less funny than in the Astaire/Rogers films. In fact, the whole package is somewhat less delicious than other Lubitsch hits (Trouble in Paradise, The Shop Around the Corner, Ninotchka, Heaven Can Wait, To Be or Not To Be) - this may be a result of the screenwriter, Ben Hecht, who excelled in a different kind of comedy (His Girl Friday, Nothing Sacred, Twentieth Century). Nevertheless, Design for Living crosses many lines in its review of the plausibility of the menage a trois (something the censor would never allow a few years later) and it has a distinct feminist flair with Hopkins definitely in control. Not quite a revelation but never less than enjoyable.
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.
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.
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.
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.