New Release: Design for Living DVD and Blu-ray

Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Design for Living movie scene

Fredric March (l.), Miriam Hopkins and Gary Cooper hit a bump in the road in their Design for Living.

Gary Cooper (High Noon), Fredric March (The Best Years of Our Lives) and Miriam Hopkins (Trouble in Paradise) play a trio of Americans in Paris who enter into a very adult “gentleman’s” agree­ment in the 1933 classic comedy film Design for Living.

A risqué relationship movie (made before the Motion Picture Production Code began being enforced in 1934) and a witty take on creative pursuits, Design for Living was directed by Ernst Lubitsch (To Be or Not To Be) and freely adapted by Ben Hecht (Notorious) from a play by Noël Coward (Brief Encounter).

At once a debonair and racy adult entertainment, the movie concerns a commercial artist (Hopkins) unable — or unwilling — to choose between the equally dashing painter (Cooper) and playwright (March) she meets on a train en route to Paris.

The film has been available on DVD previously as part of Universal’s The Gary Cooper Collection, released back in 2005.

Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray releases offer the film with a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition, along with the following special features:

  • “The Clerk,” starring Charles Laughton, director Ernst Lubitsch’s segment of the 1932 film If I Had a Million, which he made just before Design for Living
  • Selected-scene commentary by film professor William Paul
  • Play of the Week: A Choice of Coward, a 1964 British television production of the play Design for Living, introduced on camera by playwright Noël Coward
  • New interview with film scholar and screenwriter Joseph McBride on Lubitsch and Ben Hecht’s screen adaptation of the Coward play
  • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kim Morgan
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.