Movie Monday: January 7, 1934

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Design For Living Photo
Photo Credit: criterion.com

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.

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

15 thoughts on “Movie Monday: January 7, 1934

    badfinger20 said:
    2019-01-07 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.

    Liked by 1 person

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      2019-01-08 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.

      Liked by 2 people

        badfinger20 said:
        2019-01-08 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.

        Liked by 1 person

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          2019-01-08 at 9:28 PM

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

          Liked by 2 people

            badfinger20 said:
            2019-01-08 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.

            Liked by 1 person

    bottomlesscoffee007 said:
    2019-01-08 at 7:39 AM

    Wow, I never heard of that movie before. Perhaps our grandparents were perverts just like us!

    Liked by 1 person

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      2019-01-08 at 1:55 PM

      Heh. I’d never heard of it either. That’s why I like to do historical posts. Everyone might learn something new, including me.

      Please. Youth is youth & sex is sex. Do some research on Shakespeare’s time. LAWD.

      Better yet, read up on the Pagans. Incest was acceptable to them. That right there was one of the hardest things to accept in the Chris Thomas material. We are horrified by such a thing but, the Pagans…that was a normal practice. Most of what CT covers is more about brothers & sisters having children together. He never mentioned parents messing with their own kids. My guess is, even that was frowned upon.

      Liked by 2 people

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    2019-01-08 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    […] Movie Monday: January 7, 1934 on Cosmic Observation […]

    Liked by 2 people

    jmshistorycorner said:
    2019-01-11 at 9:01 PM

    Never heard of it.

    Like

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