“Design for Living” (1933)

I saw this sly, funny, and and maybe a BIT naughty (for its time) comic film recently on TCM.  It stars Gary Cooper (a TOTAL hottie as a young man- check it out), Fredric March, and Miriam Hopkins.  Two lifelong pals, a painter named George (Cooper) and a playwright named Tom (March), meet a pretty, charming blonde named Gilda (Hopkins) on a streetcar in Paris.  The buddies are BOTH instantly attracted to and intrigued by Gilda, who has a free-spirited and lively air. 

George and Tom separately get dates with Gilda, who lives in a spacious apartment and wears cute/stylish clothes.  It turns out that her former boss, the wealthy owner of an ad agency named Mr. Plunkett, is noticeably jealous of these guys.  After their respective dates, he lectures the wooers sternly.

Immorality may be fun, but it isn’t fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day.

Mr. Plunkett plays the role of Gilda’s “concerned friend and kind of protector,” but he’s just waiting (and spending his cash) hoping to win her himself.

George (the quick-tempered one) and Tom (the brainy one) quickly realize that they are BOTH in love with Gilda, putting their friendship at risk.  Can they just ingore her?  They try, but it DOES NOT work!   

Gilda comes over to their humble attic flat and admits that she likes them BOTH!  She can’t imagine one without the other being there, too.   

A thing happened to me that usually happens to men. You see, a man can meet two, three or four women and fall in love with all of them, and then, by a process of interesting elimination, he is able to decide which he prefers. But a woman must decide purely on instinct, guesswork, if she wants to be considered nice.

Gilda proposes a solution- they’ll live together platonically.  She can advise them about their work; she’s an art lover.  Comedy ensues out of this (unusual) relationship!

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