The combination of Coward's play and the adaptation by Hecht works surprisingly well and when you throw into the mix the talents of Lubitsch and the acting abilities of the leads, well, you're on to a sure-fire winner! Fred and Coop form a classy double act and Hopkins is a treasure as their female foil in a ménage-à-trois comedy which stretched to the limits what Hollywood could get away with in those pre-Code days!
This is about knowing exactly when a scene must start and when it must end, how to tell what has happened in an ellipsis, how to project thoughts and feelings into objects, and there are even some great bits of silent comedy. In a few words, Lubitsch and Hetch stick to a way of conveying things indirectly, but not too indirectly, and they make the most of it.
A tale of platonic love and art versus carnal desire and lust, revolving around Gilda, the mother of the arts, the heart of the love triangle. Although the plot seems rather superficial, it is very well written, including witty dialogues and clever symbolism. I am usually no fan of theatrical exaggerations, but here it's done so consistent and well that I was able to embrace it. A very charming and mature film.
Racy, sexy, and intelligent. Pre-Code is a wonderful era, and in a lot of ways Design for Living is an adept representation of it. The leads work well together (although Hopkins seems to outshine the rest) and the dialogue is good. I just wasn't a fan of the plot, but maybe that's due to the original play.
Cinematography by Victor Milner. "Desire" list: Gary Cooper, again - but Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins are amazing . "(...) I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,/None has understood you, but I understand you, /None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to/yourself,/None but has found you imperfect, I only find no/imperfection in you, (...) (Walt Whitman)
Fantastic wity dialogue throughout. I should like this more but whenever there's adultery, I think about emotions, melodrama and tears... My own fault that I can't give this five stars.Love the leads(even Gary Cooper) but Miriam Hopkins outshines everyone.
3.75 stars. I really like the play and this film is not the play but the spirit of the play is in the film. The four leads are great, the dialogue is witty, and the film is beautifully shot. I just love what this film stands for, which is amongst other things: freedom and fun!