IMDb > Design for Living (1933)
Design for Living
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Design for Living (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Design for Living -- Trailer for Design for Living

Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Noel Coward (play)
Ben Hecht (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Design for Living on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 December 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A Delight See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Fredric March ... Thomas B. 'Tom' Chambers

Gary Cooper ... George Curtis

Miriam Hopkins ... Gilda Farrell

Edward Everett Horton ... Max Plunkett
Franklin Pangborn ... Mr. Douglas, Theatrical Producer

Isabel Jewell ... Plunkett's Stenographer

Jane Darwell ... Curtis' Housekeeper
Wyndham Standing ... Max's Butler
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cosmo Kyrle Bellew ... Man (uncredited)
Lionel Belmore ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Thomas Braidon ... Douglas' Second Manager (uncredited)
Nora Cecil ... Tom's Secretary (uncredited)
Emile Chautard ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
Mathilde Comont ... Heavy Woman (uncredited)
Adrienne D'Ambricourt ... Cafe Proprietress (uncredited)
James Donlan ... Fat Man with Ring (uncredited)
Harry Dunkinson ... Mr. Egelbauer (uncredited)
Helena Phillips Evans ... Mrs. Egelbauer (uncredited)
Charles K. French ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Mary Gordon ... Theatre Chambermaid (uncredited)
Grace Hayle ... Woman on Staircase (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Englishman at Train (uncredited)
Armand Kaliz ... Mr. Burton (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
George Savidan ... Boy (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Bed Salesman (uncredited)

Vernon Steele ... Douglas' First Manager (uncredited)
Mrs. Treboal ... Gilda's Landlady (uncredited)
Barry Winton ... Man (uncredited)
William Worthington ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
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Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Noel Coward (play)

Ben Hecht (screenplay)

Samuel Hoffenstein  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Ernst Lubitsch .... producer
 
Original Music by
John Leipold (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Victor Milner 
 
Film Editing by
Frances Marsh (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Hippard .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
M.M. Paggi .... sound (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy Roe .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Nat W. Finston .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Gottfried Reinhardt .... assistant to mr. lubitsch (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
91 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Portugal:M/12 | USA:Approved | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 24 January 1933 and had 135 perfomancs. The 3 leads were played Noel Coward, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. There were 2 Broadway revivals, the last in 2001.See more »
Goofs:
Boom mic visible: Shadow of boom mic visible at train station.See more »
Quotes:
Max Plunkett:Do you love me?
Gilda Farrell:Oh, Max, people should not ask that question on their wedding night. It's either too late or too early.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Star Spangled BannerSee more »

FAQ

Is there a difference between the Criterion edition and the Gary Cooper Edition?
See more »
55 out of 59 people found the following review useful.
A Delight, 6 November 2000
Author: Capel Cleggs (capelcleggs@my-dejanews.com) from Nepean, Ontario, Canada

Few films have had as much nonsense written about them as Ernst Lubitsch's "Design For Living." From the moment it was released, it was criticized for rewriting Noel Coward's then-daring play (Ben Hecht, the screenwriter, said: "There's only one line of Coward's left in the picture--see if you can find it!"); for casting Americans in parts that had originally been played by Coward, Alfred Lunt, and Lynn Fontanne; for toning down the gay subtexts of Coward's play. All that is, of course, completely irrelevant; the question is not whether the play is faithful to the source material, but whether it's good. And it is, it is.

There are flaws in the film. This was one of the first times Lubitsch had made a movie with little or no music on the soundtrack; previously, in his musicals and his sublime "Trouble In Paradise," he had used background music to cover up potential dead spots and carry the film along. Here there is none of that, with the result that some of the early scenes seem oddly paced. But the wit of the script (written by Hecht but, as always with Lubitsch, carefully supervised and contributed to by the director himself) and the appeal of the performers (more about them later) pull the film through the occasional rough spots, and the second half of the movie is just about perfect.

Another idiotic thing that is often said about "Design For Living" is that Lubitsch and Hecht rewrote Coward due to fear of the censors. In fact, the censors must have had a heart attack when they saw "Design," for this is one of the most sexually frank of the pre-Code Hollywood movies; premarital sex, cohabitation, adultery and frigidity are all clearly portrayed-- but, as always with Lubitsch, they are implied rather than shown. Lubitsch's trademark door and blackout gags are here, and they are hilarious; again, it's not Noel Coward--it's Lubitsch, the cinema's greatest comic filmmaker at the peak of his powers.

But there's something else here that isn't found in most Lubitsch films, and it comes from Ben Hecht, whose cynical, fast-talking, very American style of writing gives the characters a flavor quite unlike the more Continental wit of Lubitsch's usual heroes. (This is also one of the few Lubitsch films where the lead characters are American rather than European.) Critics have sometimes complained that Hecht's somewhat inelegant style was unworthy of either Coward or Lubitsch. Again, I disagree; the moments of Hechtian farce (like the hilarious party scene) are beautifully handled by Lubitsch and turn the film into a forerunner of screwball comedy, the place where Continental charm and hard-driving Americanism meet.

Now to the actors. The "British is Better" attitude of many critics made it inevitable that Lubitsch's American cast would be pilloried. Again, this is not Noel Coward and a Noel Coward style of acting wouldn't work in this context. All the leading players are actually quite wonderful: Miriam Hopkins, one of Lubitsch's favorite actresses, has the best role and gives a marvelously energetic performance as the flighty, pretentious free spirit who tries to substitute art for sex; Gary Cooper is at the height of his youthful charm, with a surprisingly light comic touch and great teamwork with Fredric March. March, who can often be heavy-handed in film comedy, is here charming and funny; it's a tribute to Lubitsch that he got such a genial performance out of him. And, of course, there's Edward Everett Horton, one of Hollywood's finest character actors in one of his finest roles.

If you know and love the Noel Coward play, don't expect this movie to be a faithful adaptation. Think of it as an original work of comedic art that happens to utilize some of the story elements of Coward's play. It's not Noel Coward; it's a splendid romantic farce that, like all great comedies, has serious themes underneath the fun: Sexual freedom, male vs. female roles in society, art, love, friendship. So see it (if you can; it's not on video, alas). It's not Noel Coward, it's Ernst Lubitsch, and despite the occasional flaws, it's Lubitsch at his best.

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