“How is it you cannot stand the sight of blood on anyone except me?
A sports writer (Gregory Peck) and a fashion designer (Lauren Bacall) fall in love and marry in a hurry, but soon find their social circles aren’t exactly compatible.
Vincente Minnelli directed this colorful but dull romantic comedy a la Tracy-and-Hepburn’s Woman of the Year (1942). Perhaps not surprisingly, Designing Woman was conceived by fashion designer Helen Rose, whose marvelous costumes (a highlight) “included 132 gowns, an average of more than a-gown-a-minute for the 118-minute film!” Unfortunately, Peck and Bacall’s drunken meet-cute and ensuing marital problems don’t elicit much sympthy or interest, and the subplots — including Peck being hounded by the corrupt promoter (Edward Platt) of a punch-drunk fighter (Mickey Shaughnessy), and Bacall’s jealousy of Peck’s former curvy fling (Dolores Gray) — are simply insipid. Worst of all are the film’s dated notions of what a woman (even one as successful, independent, beautiful, and popular as Bacall) will do to snag and keep a man; the title is a not-too-subtle play on words (get it? designing woman?). It’s baffling that this screenplay won an Oscar.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine cinematography
- Helen Rose’s costumes
Nope; feel free to skip this one.