For some reason I always think of this as a holiday movie…
First, it was a play written by Noel Coward, and let’s just say it was inspired by his relationship with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne (titans of American theater, notably they brought a modern naturalist style to acting on stage).
Here’s a picture of our trio – Lunt to the left, Fontanne in the center, Coward on the right:
Well, once upon a time after college, I moved into a house in the Hollywood Hills along with two other young people, both of them men, all of us were working in the film industry. One of them I married, and the other is my best friend. Why a holiday movie? At the time there was this television station called the “Z” channel – it was quirky – and very reflective of its owner. That’s a whole other story. But, the programming was unique. Sometimes “Z” would show contemporary Japanese films, and sometimes documentaries, indie and art house, and interspersed, always, were classic movies shown nowhere else but in film school classrooms.
“Design for Living” was broadcast sometime after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, and it was a Lubitsch revelation. Suddenly I had to see everything Lubitsch directed (“Trouble in Paradise”, “Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife”, “Ninotchka”, “The Shop Around the Corner”, “That Uncertain Feeling”, “To Be or Not to Be”, oh, and there are a lot more…) If that isn’t cinema Christmas I don’t know what is – I always watch Lubitsch comedies this time of year – and they make me feel all warm and sparkly.