592 Design for Living

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 592 Design for Living

#26 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:10 pm

I read that -- but don't find it compelling. Not that the comment is necessarily wrong -- but I'm not a "golden eyes" viewer (my eyesight increasinly sucks, in fact). While some BRDs do look extraordinary (City Girl, for instance), most of the time I am pretty happy with the way my upscaled DVDs look on our 50" plasma.

Upgrading fron the abysmal Jalsaghar DVD was a no-brainer. But replacing good DVDs with only slightly better BRDs is way outside my budget these days.

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triodelover
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Re: 592 Design for Living

#27 Post by triodelover » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:24 pm

Didn't say it was compelling. It isn't. I pre-ordered long before the Beaver review because of the film itself. I don't upgrade everything to Blu (although it seems like it sometimes), but this is a fave.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#28 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:50 pm

This is a fave for me too -- but all the same.....

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triodelover
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Re: 592 Design for Living

#29 Post by triodelover » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:43 pm

Watched this tonight and did a brief comp to the Cooper box set version.

(1)PQ: No, this isn't at the level that we've seen in MoC's City Girl, the French Borzage's or any of the versions of M. It is cleaner, detail is sharper and contrast is better balanced. Difference was noticeable to my wife, who refrains from the more arcane arguments relating to these matters that her husband seems unable to avoid.

(2)Sound: For me, a huge difference. Greater clarity, consistent output levels, greater depth. I can watch comfortably without the HoH subs, which I cannot do on the SD version. There is, of course, some hiss and background noise but it isn't intrusive. All in all, the vastly improved audio (and the absence of the intrusive subtitles) justifies the purchase for me.

Have not delved into the extras, but I think the addition of the Coward play and the Lubitsch/Laughton collaboration from If I had a Million certainly is a plus.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#30 Post by The Narrator Returns » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:52 pm

Blu-Ray.com

According to both this and the Beaver review, the If I had a Million segment is only three minutes long. This is somewhat disappointing, though the Coward play makes up for it.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#31 Post by triodelover » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:02 pm

The Narrator Returns wrote:Blu-Ray.com

According to both this and the Beaver review, the If I had a Million segment is only three minutes long. This is somewhat disappointing, though the Coward play makes up for it.
I'm not sure why that's disappointing. It's a Lubitsch disc and that's the Lubitsch segment from the film. AFAIK, there's no DVD of the entire film, so I'm grateful to have that brief snippet. It's a nice cherry on the sundae. If they had included the whole film (assuming they could), someone would have bitched because it's upscaled to 1080i instead of a full HD resto.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#32 Post by knives » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:07 pm

triodelover wrote:AFAIK, there's no DVD of the entire film, so I'm grateful to have that brief snippet.
Now you know different.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#33 Post by triodelover » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:11 pm

knives wrote:
triodelover wrote:AFAIK, there's no DVD of the entire film, so I'm grateful to have that brief snippet.
Now you know different.
Ah well, yes. Thanks for correcting me, I guess.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#34 Post by knives » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:11 pm

You're welcome.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#35 Post by jouvet » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:54 pm

Just got hold of my Blu-Ray of this, and am a very happy Lubitsch fan indeed.

I have to speak up, though, about the quality of Kim Morgan's essay in the leaflet. It's really bad. I couldn't make it through the first two pages, and I love reading about Lubitsch. Much as I love building my Criterion collection, I really feel they need to go out recruiting some better writers for these booklets. The smug/glib/flippant tone is what especially grates.

Does anyone know how they actually *do* sign people up to do these things?

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#36 Post by david hare » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:05 am

Me too.

Sublime film, sublime transfer, sublime everything. And they had the good sense to do Joe McBride's piece as an extra not a damn commentary.

One of the discs of the year.


Eaglebauer! Eaglebauer!

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#37 Post by wllm995 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:45 pm

I just finished watching Design for Living; and came away disappointed with the experience.

As much as I adore Miriam Hopkins; she just didn't shine as much as she did in Trouble in Paradise (in which she was simply luminous!)

Could be that I hold every other Lubitch film up to the level of Trouble in Paradise; and have so far found all of his other works to be lacking.

My loss; no doubt - but it is what it is (as mentioned previously; perhaps the first Lubitch you see becomes the standard by which all subsequent movies by him are judged).

Here's hoping for an equivalent quality Blu-Ray release for Trouble in Paradise as for Design for Living; sooner rather than later.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#38 Post by movielocke » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:27 pm

Just watched this. I enjoyed it, though not quite as much as Trouble in Paradise or Shop Around the Corner. the latter was my first Lubitsch and I measure all his others against that--as noted above--and none seem to quite measure up to its perfection. ;) I was surprised at how good Gary Cooper's performance was, March & Horton didn't disappoint but I wasn't sold on Hopkins.

I sort of felt that the weakest point of the film was the script, it seemed uneven to me and the pacing felt a bit off, but that may just be Hopkins, whose character's theatricality seemed to clash too hard with the more natural Cooper and March, so her scenes and line readings seemed to play out longer, while the scenes with just the boys flew by. In particular I'm thinking of the scene where they discover she's been sleeping with both of them, the best part of the film, imo, culminating in the long shot framing them both in the window, with Coop in the far background, and then a dolly in on the window when Coop approaches March, masterful subtle camera direction there that beautifully underscores the emotional texts of the scene.

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Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

#39 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:37 pm

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Gregory
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Re: Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

#40 Post by Gregory » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:50 pm

Well, I enjoyed seeing this again, but I'm not sure it's a film that would stand up to much of a critical viewing. Even evaluating it as no more than a breezy early '30s comedy, it could have been a lot cleverer. The main device of the film, the ménage a trois or "gentlemen's agreement," isn't even the fertile ground for entertaining situations that viewers may be inclined to expect. But I do love the wonderful pre-code film moment in which Hopkins reclines on a bed and announces that, "unfortunately, I'm no gentleman." I'd like to read the Coward play to see if the writing is wittier (which I'd predict it to be); I understand the play and the screenplay were pretty different. Cooper isn't bad but was arguably miscast. For excample, he seems really out of his element doing a funny-drunk bit.

One flaw, for me, is the way the film falls back on the common comedic premise of a division between the group and world of the fun, devil-may-care, attractive, romantic people (our main trio) vs. the group and world of the small-minded, boring, physically unattractive, conservative stuffed-shirts (Everett-Horton, the faceless Eaglebauer, etc.). This can be done well, but it's not necessarily a promising setup and is easy to write lazily. Many of those in the "fun" category in this film and many of the lesser screwballs strike me as simple archetypes rather than fully formed characters, yet are appealingly carefree and romantic, scoring points by tweaking the noses of the boring stuffed shirts, who seem to exist in Design for Living for only that purpose. I don't think for a second that Hopkins will really end up married to Everett-Horton.
And moreover, another problem, I'm not sure I care who she does end up with—Cooper or March, or both. They're written as kind of boring, unoriginal borderline cads who are interested in Hopkins for the fun of it and to have her as a muse, not to spend the rest of their life with her.
The ending is intriguingly against marriage as a teleology for all the story's interactions, as Hopkins gravitates away from her marriage back into the triad where she fits. Because this idea was unacceptable for its time that the story almost has to end as soon as it happens. The triad arrangement will likely lead to more conflict, uncertainly, and hurt feelings, but that doesn't even matter because boy, they sure showed that stuffy Eaglebauer and his ilk! And now the three are off to live on luck and their unbeatable artistic talents... what could possibly go wrong?

I've written this focusing on my doubts to see if anyone shares them or has thoughts on all this, but I don't mean to give the impression that I dislike the film; I don't, but it may be little more than an attractive Lubitsch comedy of its era that coasts on its charm too much.
Last edited by Gregory on Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

#41 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:28 pm

Not sure why, but I just found this more fun to watch than the much more acclaimed Trouble in Paradise. Probably not much substance here, other than the sort of naughtiness that would soon be squelched by kill-joys -- but coasting or not, its breezy charms (including the interplay of the characters) seemed delightful.

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Re: Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

#42 Post by Drucker » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:58 am

Gregory, in hindsight, I agree with most of your points, though it didn't bother me during the viewing. The movie perhaps did move a bit fast for me, and there were times I wish interactions and scenes lasted longer and developed more.

But what I did notice about the film this time around was how much more controlling Gilda was, and how she was making-up for the artistic life she had apparently left behind. If our male leads weren't exactly the most interesting characters, Gilda more than made up for it for me. Her monologues were wonderful. Her conflict is the primary one, the internal conflict about what kind of person she should be. And while she indicates she likes being monetarily compensated and secure at the first scene, she needs the artiste in her life, too. That she explicitly makes this clear, saying "Why do men get to have options" when a woman doesn't made me fall for her character, and root for her.

This is definitely not my favorite Lubitsch, but still a nice film with a good enough performance by Hopkins for me to revisit again.

Edit: forgot to add one point I also liked about Gilda. Her penchant for using creativity and "designing" in every day life, which I also missed the first time I watched this film. Being that she is no longer being "creative" professionally, she has to find other ways to create the world in an image, much like a painter or playwright would. There's probably more to be said about this throughout the film but I'll have to think about it for a day or so.

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Re: Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

#43 Post by Gregory » Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:47 pm

I'm with you in finding Gilda (Hopkins) a sympathetic center of the film, but, again, it seems to me that the film has to be evasive and hedging in its depiction of her figuring out whom she wants to be with due to the controversy—both of the living situation (even with "no sex") earlier in the film and also of the happy-ending couple seemingly turning out to be a (platonic?) threesome. When she says she's in love with two men, does that just mean that she's determined to choose between them or is what she wants actually a triad? The play and the film couldn't really get into that, though it was something that wasn't unheard of in some 20th century artist/writer enclaves (and even outside of them). Examples include the poet Paul Éluard, who was first involved in a triad with his wife Gala and Max Ernst, and then in another with Nusch Éluard and Pablo Picasso; and a more famous one was between Henry Miller, his wife June, and Anaïs Nin.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#44 Post by Xerxes23 » Sat May 16, 2020 1:29 pm

am I missing something or is there French Dialog on the blu-ray with no subtitles? there is only one audio and subtitle option. That seems scrappy from Criterion.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#45 Post by nitin » Sun May 17, 2020 5:40 am

Pretty sure that part is not meant to be subtitled.

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Re: 592 Design for Living

#46 Post by Xerxes23 » Sun May 17, 2020 6:39 am

Yeah, I was watching some of the supplements this morning and they mentioned something along those lines. It is strange though, because there is quite a lot of French dialog.

Unrelated, but I also got intermittent black screens between the 1:11 and 1:17 mark.

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