High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
Design for Living
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?
The agency given to Miriam Hopkins' character seems downright miraculous when viewed through a lens of time spattered with manic pixie dream girls and selfless sacrificial muses. She's whimsical, sure, but she's driven by her own sexual and emotional desires. She's a real, thinking, feeling person that gets to act and react with the men. How much of that is directly from the Coward play or the Ben Hecht screenplay, I don't know, but there it is: Another sign of what could have been had the Hayes Code not stunted the dramatic growth of Hollywood for decades to come.
Noel Coward famously hated Ernst Lubitsch and Ben Hecht's free adaptation of his early play, complaining that the only line they retained from his original play was "Pass the mustard". As a result, the Coward estate has its face set very hard against revisionist interpretations of his work, which is a crying shame. Hecht's script makes a tremendously good fist of redressing Coward's plot, characters and themes in the drag of pre-Code Hollywood screwball, in the process demonstrating that there is an awful lot more to this writer than aristocrats in dressing gowns trading bons mot.
There's even room for some completely non-verbal comedy as Tom, George and Gilda meet on a train at the start. Today, the most famous…
Hilarious, frank, and opulent, Design for Living might take the easy way out with its two-lover problem, but the chemistry between the three leads guarantees a smile, and this comedy plays more like a fantasy picture anyways. I know we just met and all, but make mine Lubitsch.
Also, is it just me, or was Harry and Lloyd's fundraiser entrance from Dumb and Dumber ripped (nearly) straight from here?
David's Movie entry #4: March 17th, 2013
In Memory of David Eisen
Cooper, March, Hopkins, Lubitsch, Coward, and Hect. The opening credits ring off like a game of "20 questions" with the question being asked "What would be the perfect cast/crew for a pre-code comedy?". The two surprising crew roles that I did not have prior knowledge of before watching the film was its association to a Noel Coward play and Ben Hect being the screenwriter involved. Since watching it I have discovered that Coward's play did not necessarily have a big role for the film. Lubitsch took his story with the help of Hect and made it cinematic while making it in his own vision.
Ben Hect was a…
Don't know quite what went wrong here, as the film has the rhythm and sensibility of a droll comedy of manners yet is almost never even remotely funny. I'd like to blame Noel Coward, who (in spite of my passion for Brief Encounter) has always felt to me like Oscar Wilde Lite, retaining the color and texture but very little of the flavor; virtually none of Coward's dialogue was retained, though, by most reports, and it's not as if Ben Hecht didn't know his way around fast-paced dry wit. One might note with some justification that Gary Cooper seems ill-suited to the demands of urbane mock-sophistication, but he does hold his own in e.g. Ball of Fire. In any…
Oh that Gilda (Miriam Hopkins) – she knows a good thing when she sees one. Why settle for one man when you can have two? Or three if you throw in the crust - well a girl needs funds too, and Max (Edward Everett Horton) can provide access to the high life. America was in a Great Depression. What else is a gal to do?
Design for Living is a fun pre-code comedy from Ernst Lubitsch and the great screenwriter Ben Hecht. Whilst on a train to Paris Gilda meets two fellow travelers – the struggling artist George (Gary Cooper) and the down on his luck playwright Tom (Frederic March). Before you know it they are involved in a love…
another pre-code romantic triangle movie with a gr8 cast
Design for Living has the pedigree only the best pre-Codes accrue: directed by master of comedy, Ernst Lubitsch, it stars the leading lady of his last masterpiece (Miriam Hopkins in 1932’s Trouble in Paradise, and was prevented from receiving the Producer’s seal of approval when the Code took effect due to its salacious content. The premise certainly makes for some pearl-wringing moments, and the dialogue is franker than you expected, but this is a far cry from the comedic highs of Trouble in Paradise and that colored my overall enjoyment of the film.
This film would have been perfect if Gilda's personality wasn't near intolerable and frustrating
she was cute though
I love Gary Cooper too
I usually like Lubitsch, but while there’s some clever dialogue here and there, Design wasn’t really very funny. And I didn’t enjoy spending time with these shallow, immature dipshits. By the end, the movie became a chore to sit through.
Pretty racy for 1933
I will one day eventually come to a point where there will be no more Lubitsch films to see. That will be a sad day. This is another one of his delightful gems. Design for Living is based on a Noel Coward play about a woman (Miriam Hopkins) being pursued by two men (Gary Cooper, Fredric March) who turn out to be roommates. She can't decide between them so they come to a "Gentleman's Agreement" but that eventually gets complicated. The wit and decliate touch of Lubitsch is evident throughout this film. Hopkins is always a delight and Edward Everett Horton has a terrific turn as her longtime stuck up suitor.
How did they get away with this
I was surprised with just how uninteresting this film was, given how much I loved Lubitsch's other work, To Be or Not to Be. There were wonderfully witty moments, but I simply couldn't care less about any of the characters or the story.
gary cooper was gorgeous omg
UPDATED: October 21, 2016
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