Movie Monday: Design For Living 1934

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Eighty-five years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was the menage a trois comedy Design For Living. Released on December 29, 1933, it starred Fredric March, Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins. It was based, loosely on a play written by Noël Coward in 1932. It was very risqué for its time and, was a pre-code movie produced and released before strict enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, the censorship guidelines demanded by American Roman Catholics. Interestingly, the critical response to the film was more about its gutting of the original material than of its questionable morality.

IMDB Summary:

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. 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?

Trivia Bits:
♦ Gary Cooper spoke fluent French and was able to use it for the first time in this film.
♦ Lubitsch [then] asked Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to play George, and he accepted but, he contracted pneumonia just before filming was to start and he was replaced by Gary Cooper.
♦ Writer Ben Hecht and producer-director Ernst Lubitsch retained only one line from the original play by Noël Coward: “For the good of our immortal souls!”
♦ 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.

American Film Institute (AFI) 100 Years…100 Passions
American Film Institute (AFI) 10 Top 10: Romantic Comedy

9 thoughts on “Movie Monday: Design For Living 1934

    badfinger20 said:
    January 7, 2019 at 10:27 PM

    Gary Cooper was great…but so was Fairbanks Sr and Jr.
    I’ve never seen this movie…Will have to watch. Whenever I see Cooper…I see Lou Gerhig.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 8, 2019 at 6:27 PM

      Sorry for the delay. Your comment wound up in spam. ???

      I didn’t know that Gary Cooper was fluent in French. Fairbanks would have been an interesting choice had he not gotten sick. When I see Cooper, I think cowboy.

      When I went looking for the trailer, the entire movie is on YouTube for free.

        badfinger20 said:
        January 8, 2019 at 7:51 PM

        I’m having many comments end up there that I will find a day or so later.
        I will cast it to my tv from youtube… I didn’t know that about Cooper either. I thought he was just raised a farm boy mostly….
        I know more about Fairbanks Sr than I do Jr but I’ve seen both in swashbuckler roles.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          January 8, 2019 at 9:28 PM

          WordPress is funky. At least the real spam doesn’t wind up in my regular list.

            badfinger20 said:
            January 8, 2019 at 9:40 PM

            Yes and that is what matters. That is what I tell our executives who bitch about emails being caught… well it’s better than bad ones getting through.

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    January 8, 2019 at 3:57 PM

    I’ve seen this a long time ago. It was ok. I think it was featured in an old movies series.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 8, 2019 at 6:31 PM

      Until I posted this, I hadn’t the first clue it existed.

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