Design for Living (1933)

Design for Living (1933), directed by Ernst Lubitsch.


I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three?
-- David Crosby, "Triad"


Some girls are happy with
Just one!
They don't know what they're missing
They're not having any fun!
You're the two that I want.
-- The Roches, "You're the Two"

A painter and a playwright, "partners" for 11 years, fall in with a young woman who loves them both. Equally. She moves in with them with the understanding: "forget sex".

When one of the men has to take a trip, how long will that agreement last with the two who remain behind in Paris?

A pre-code romantic comedy, meaning the witty dialogue and sexual situations are more frank than would be allowed later. Even so this is still the era of funny and sexy suggestion rather than display.

Well-played by all involved:

Lovely cinematography by Victor Milner, unusually so for the early 1930s. Photography was starting to recover from the disruption sound inflicted on the silent age.

Screenplay by Ben Hecht from a Noel Coward play.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion. The source is in remarkably good shape. Some scenes have vertical scratches. I'm surprised there is no commentary track.