Design for Living

Design for Living

DVD - 2011 | Two-DVD special ed.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A trio of Americans in Paris who enter into a very adult 'gentleman's' agreement, in this continental pre-Code comedy freely adapted by Ben Hecht (Notorious) from a play. A risque relationship comedy and a witty take on creative pursuits, it concerns a commercial artist unable, or unwilling, to choose between the equally dashing painter and playwright she meets on a train en route to the City of Light.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 12, 2018

I'm sure I would love this movie: I read about it, put it on hold, and saved it for a special evening...but it was in French. Nowhere on the DVD does it say it's in French (and not English -- not even with English subtitles nor does the on-screen menu give a choice for English subtitles). Even on this site, there's no mention that it's in French with no choice for English or subtitles. In fact, the movie has American actors and it's made by an American movie company -- so why the French? How disappointing! I hope the library has an English version.

Apr 27, 2018

i picked this movie up on a whim & ended up watching it at least three times. it's magnificent! now i want to see every ernst lubitsch film. (TROUBLE IN PARADISE is also top notch!) if you're a fan of romantic comedies, this is where it all began--& before "the code" which deemed what was acceptable/"decent" to see, hear, & explore in film. i especially appreciate how DESIGN FOR LIVING shines a light on the double standard of sexual conduct for men & women, & the layers of why we desire to be in relationships--all sorts of relationships. DESIGN FOR LIVING is gorgeous, hilarious, trend-setting, & ends...not tied up neatly with a bow.

Oct 01, 2015

This pre-code, 1930's, Screwball comedy (which was adapted from Noel Coward's stage play) was, for me, the absolute nadir of very-very-very tacky taste.

This film was a perfect example of a two-faced Hollywood trying to be oh-so sophisticated, yet, at the same time, riding the fence when it came to such a daring bit of subject matter as whorish, promiscuous sex.

What I'm talking about here is this - Even though the Gilda Farrell character was clearly nothing but a 3-timing slut, and a bigamist bitch, as well (who actually played 2 best friends against each other), this film's story went well out of its way to paint this despicable tramp (and her activities) as being so coy, so innocent, so cute, and yes, so dignified, to boot.

But, if you ask me, I think this witch was absolutely contemptible (not cute) the way she rubbed the men's faces right into the dirt. And the most sickening part of all of this was that these guys just kept coming back for more of the same crappy treatment, as though Gilda was the "be-all-and-end-all" of women.

Considering that this film is now 82 years old, I really did try to cut it some slack, but as its story quickly progressed into the revolting scenario that I've just described above, I was left with no choice but to give it a half-star rating..... And, that's that!

Gary Geiserman
Jan 22, 2015

Films exhibit one aspect of creativity: a very new and valuable impetus to status quo that then fades in impact as time passes because of it being dealt with, either with acceptance or rejection. A contrasting aspect is a revealing of more universal archetypical truths that last in impact. Both are creative and valuable; and rarely discerned in discourse. Many people have difficulty appreciating old classic films because of this confusion.

May 24, 2014

I loved this. I thought it very funny and witty. Very Lubitsch.

LDuke2012 Feb 27, 2013

Great movie, well acted, interesting to see Gary Cooper NOT in a western...this is one for is adults, although the innuendo would probably pass over most of today's kids heads.

Wonderful extras on disc 2 of the dvd, including a TV play based on the the play the movie was loosely based on.

Glencoe_Mike Nov 28, 2012

Wonderful 1933 adaptation of a Noel Coward comedy with Gary Cooper in a nontraditional role. Miriam Hopkins in particular stands out.

Apr 30, 2012

Definitely a Noel Coward story with its Cole Porter-like joie-de-vivre essence. My very first time to hear their names and watch Miriam Hopkins and Fredrich March on screen but I am just amazed how she can be so hilarious and he, confident and so natural! I have some reservation to the more popular Gary Cooper. He's still quite self-conscious and I guess, still new in this game called acting. Enjoyable!


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at HCPLC

To Top