Designing Woman (1957)

VINCENTE MINNELLI

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBUSA, 1957Screenplay by , from a story by Cinematography by Produced by Music by . Production Design by , Costume Design by Helen Rose.  Film Editing by Academy Awards 1957.

Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall in Designing Woman.

Sports reporter Gregory Peck is on a bender when he meets glamorous fashion designer Lauren Bacall, two of them hitting it off and enjoying a weekend romance on the west coast that quickly becomes a wedding.  They head back to the east coast to live in his New York City apartment, but whatever hormones drew them to each other are now suspect when they realize that actually living together won’t be that easy:  she has an assortment of annoying friends who come over while she is working on a theatrical production that she is costuming, and he has obnoxious poker buddies who take up her space with their cigarettes and beer. When she discovers a woman from his past is still in touch with him, Bacall goes on a jealous rampage that nearly threatens to tear them apart as quickly as they got together, which is then made worse by his getting in trouble with a mobster and having to into hiding. This Vincente MInnelli comedy is as shallow as it is colourful and vibrant, benefiting greatly from the energy of its stars who manage to put over a lightweight version of Woman of the Year with their palpable chemistry. If it were only a bit wittier it could get away with being so flimsy, Minnelli’s effort in creating such unforgettably splashy imagery is at odds with a dull, inexplicably Oscar-winning script that plays its conflicts straight and, in pure fifties Hollywood mode, is rarely hinting at anything other than what is being shown on screen.

 

 

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