Design for Living [Criterion Collection] [Blu-ray] [1933]

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Overview

Special Features

  • "The Clerk", starring Charles Laughton, director Ernst Lubitsch's segment of the 1932 omnibus film If I Had a Million
  • Selected-scene commentary by film scholar William Paul
  • British television production of the play Design for Living from 1964, introduced on camera by playwright Noël Coward
  • New interview with film scholar and screenwriter Joseph McBride on Lubitsch and screenwriter Ben Hecht's adaptation of the Coward play

Synopsis

Design for Living
Design for Living was based on the stage comedy by Noel Coward, though little of his dialogue actually made it to the screen. Playwright Fredric March and artist Gary Cooper both fall in love with Miriam Hopkins, an American living in Paris. Both men love the girl, and the girl can't make up her mind between the two men, so the threesome decide to move in together--strictly platonically, of course. As the men gain in success and prominence, the chasteness of the "menage a trois" begins to be threatened, and soon both March and Cooper clash over Hopkins. She reacts by marrying her wealthy but dull boss (Edward Everett Horton). Miriam is bored to tears until March and Cooper invade one of her husband's stuffy parties and chase the tiresome guests away. Miriam's husband huffily agrees to a divorce, and the girl returns to her unorthodox relationship with her two former suitors. The subtle homosexual implications of the Noel Coward stage original were dissipated by the presence of the aggressively masculine Gary Cooper and Fredric March in the film version of Design for Living. Replacing these implications were the equally subtle but more "mainstream" boudoir innuendos of director Ernst Lubitsch. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Fredric March
    Fredric March - Tom Chambers
  • Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper - George Curtis
  • Miriam Hopkins
    Miriam Hopkins - Gilda Farrell
  • Edward Everett Horton
    Edward Everett Horton - Max Plunkett
  • Franklin Pangborn
    Franklin Pangborn - Mr. Douglas
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