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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Design For Living (1933)

Traveling to Paris by train, a struggling artist (Gary Cooper) and an as yet unpublished playwright (Fredric March) meet a girl (Miriam Hopkins) and the three become friends. However, when love enters the picture, the girl can't decide who she loves more and proposes they all live together! Barely based on the Noel Coward play (if you're a fan of the play, you won't recognize it), Coward's sophisticated wit has been replaced by Ben Hecht's less sophisticated but equally amusing wit. The great Ernst Lubitsch brings his elegant touch to the proceedings and his three leads are in grand form. I've never been a fan of the dramatic March, I much prefer him in his comedies like NOTHING SACRED, I MARRIED A WITCH and here, where he's never been so appealing. Cooper's playing seems less assured and awkward but his boyish charm goes a long way in compensating. Hopkins is perfection and looks great! Not quite the home run that is TROUBLE IN PARADISE, but since this is a pre-code film, the film doesn't shy away from the sexual roundelay aspect of the film. Hopkins is clearly having her cake and eating it too! With Edward Everett Horton, Jane Darwell, Isabel Jewell and Franklin Pangborn.

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