Design for Living (1933)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  29 December 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 3,532 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 46 critic

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



(play) (as Noel Coward) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
George Curtis
Max Plunkett
Mr. Douglas, Theatrical Producer
Plunkett's Stenographer
Curtis' Housekeeper
Wyndham Standing ...
Max's Butler


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 December 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Not Married  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Considerable censorship difficulties arose because of sexual discussions and innuendos, although the Hays Office eventually approved the film for release. However, it was banned by the Legion of Decency and was refused a certificate by the PCA for re-release in 1934, when the production code was more rigorously enforced. See more »


Camera shadow visible on window frame as Gilda sets the table. See more »


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.
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The Star Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Hummed by Gary Cooper and Fredric March
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User Reviews

Pre Code Elegance
17 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Delightful even if more Ben Hecht than Noel Coward. The "menage a trois" has real brains, wit and magic. All due to the sensational chemistry between Gary Cooper, Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins and, of course, the unmistakable Lubitch touch. I was going to say that the film seems written today but the sad truth is there is nobody today that could write with this extraordinary elegance. Frediric March is masculine and volcanic, Gary Cooper feminine and irresistible and Miriam Hopkins, a sensational modern comedienne. As if this wasn't enough, Edward Everett Horton as Mr Wrong. The scene in which Hopkins compares Cooper and March to hats is one of my all time favorites.

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