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Design for Living (1933)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  29 December 1933 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 3,251 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 43 critic

A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship.

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Title: Design for Living (1933)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Thomas B. 'Tom' Chambers
...
George Curtis
...
...
Max Plunkett
...
Mr. Douglas, Theatrical Producer
...
Plunkett's Stenographer
...
Curtis' Housekeeper
Wyndham Standing ...
Max's Butler
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Storyline

Two Americans sharing a flat in Paris, playwright Tom Chambers and painter George Curtis, fall for free-spirited Gilda Farrell. When she can't make up her mind which one of them she prefers, she proposes a "gentleman's agreement": She will move in with them as a friend and critic of their work, but they will never have sex. But when Tom goes to London to supervise a production of one of his plays, leaving Gilda alone with George, how long will their gentleman's agreement last? Written by Capel Cleggs <capelcleggs@my-deja.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 December 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Not Married  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The preview time for the film was 105 minutes, so that 14 minutes were cut before the film's release. This may account for scenes with Helena Phillips Evans (Mrs. Egelbauer) and Armand Kaliz (Mr. Burton) being cut from the final release print. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of boom mic visible at train station. See more »

Quotes

Max Plunkett: I've come here to speak to you man to man.
Tom Chambers: My favorite type of conversation.
Max Plunkett: I wish to broach a rather delicate subject.
Tom Chambers: Oh, now don't let's be delicate, Mr. Plunkett. Let's be crude and objectionable, both of us. One of the greatest handicaps of civilization, and I may say to progress, is that people speak with ribbons on their tongues. Delicacy, as the philosophers point out, is the banana peel under the feet of truth.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Design for Leaving (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.64
(1844) (uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Excerpts from the second movement played as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Gary Cooper gets the Lubitsch touch with a flair for comedy...
14 December 2012 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

What really surprised me about DESIGN FOR LIVING was that Gary Cooper has fun with his role as a Bohemian artist involved in a three-way affair with roommates Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March. No surprise is that Miriam Hopkins is delightful as a free spirit who can't decide which man she loves most and that Fredric March is capable of switching to light comedy when the occasion demands it.

But it's Gary Cooper who had my attention in the kind of role he so seldom played and in a performance that's anything but deadpan, which is what his later career in westerns demanded. Under Ernst Lubitsch's direction, he allows himself to unbend and rid himself of any inhibitions, using facial expressions and body language that show he had a flair for comedy to match Hopkins and March.

The menage a trois angle is played up in this watered down version of the original Noel Coward play, but Ben Hecht's racy dialogue is evident in this pre-code era. Miriam Hopkins is perfect in the central role of the charming free spirited woman who falls in love with both men, but marries a stuffed shirt business man (Edward Everett Horton) when their relationship cools off. It's an unusual "straight" role for Horton usually assigned to someone like Ralph Bellamy who always played unlucky suitors.

Summing up: One of the most enjoyable pre-code romantic comedies from the '30s delivers wit and style and one of Gary Cooper's best early performances.


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