Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Stories: Designing Woman (1957)

Designing Woman (1957). Romantic/comedy. Director: Vincente Minnelli. Cast: Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck.

After a night of drinking, sports writer Mike Hagen, cannot remember writing his assignment until fashion designer Marilla comes over to his apartment to inform him that they wrote the story together. He suggests that they take a trip to California. While there, they decide to marry and when they return to New York, they move into Marilla's beautiful East Side apartment. Back at the newspaper office, editor Hammerstein warns Mike that crooked boxing promoter Martin J. Daylor is threatening Mike's life because of the articles he has written about Daylor. In one of the funnest scenes in the movie, Mike is having dinner with his ex-girlfriend to break off their relationship. She dumps a plate of pasta in his lap, after which Marilla walks in as she is running out. After dinner, Mike and Marilla return to their apartment, where they walk into a surprise wedding shower.

After a couple of weeks, they fall into a comfortable routine, keeping their professional worlds apart. Then one night, Marilla, wanting to spend more time with her husband, attends a boxing match with Mike, where she finds herself overwhelmed by it all. The following week, Mike and his friends meet at their apartment for the guys' weekly poker game. In another room, Marilla holds a rehearsal for Zachary's musical, for which she has been chosen to design the costumes. The evening turns into a disaster.

Marilla becomes suspicious of Mike's ex-girlfriend when he tries to hide from her their former relationship. Complicating their relationship even further is Mike's relationship with the crooked boxing promoter Martin Daylor. Mike's life is in real danger, but he hides that from her too. What happens next is a series of misadventures.

I have a huge soft spot for fluffy romance films. Bacall and Peck have great chemistry as newlyweds who have several differences to work out. Bacall is funny and stylish in her beautiful gowns and Peck is funny as a rough around the edges sports writer.
Designing Woman (1957) movie trailer.


  1. Dawn, I joined this movie in progress one night and therefore have only seen part of it. Indeed, Gregory Peck had a nice comedic touch that he didn't get to display often. Based on your recommendation, I'm looking forward to DESIGNING WOMAN popping up on TCM again!

  2. Wonderful review, Dawn. Thanks! You say you have a huge soft spot for romance films like this. Well, I have a soft spot for Lauren Bacall, which would make this movie recommended viewing!

  3. Dawn, I haven't seen this but I am quite fond of Gregory Peck. I really enjoyed the picture you posted. I, too, have a soft spot for a sweet romance. Your recommendation makes this a perfect "must see" film for me. Thank you!

  4. Dawn, This was the first film Lauren did after Boggie's passing. She has said that Gregory was wonderful to her through the making of the film and a friendship developed, which I think you can see on the screen. And I agree that Gregory should have done more of this type of film.

  5. Rick, I saw Designing Woman for the first time a couple of months ago. As always Bacall and Peck were wonderful.

    Sark, I'm also a huge fan of Lauren Bacall. I do not think I have seen her in a bad movie. She is too funny when she attends the boxing match.

    Toto, It is fun to see Gregory Peck in a comedy. When his ex-girl friend dumps a plate of pasta in his lap, the look on his face is priceless.

    Paul, Thank you for adding the fun facts. I'm glad that they became friends. You can see the wonderful on screen chemistry.