“Design for Living” at the Cinematheque + A symposium dedicated to Kristin Thompson

Is that a mouthful of a title or is that a mouthful of a title?

Tomorrow night the Cinematheque will screen a restored print of Ernst Lubitsch’s “Design for Living” (1933), regarded by many as one of the high priest of classical Hollywood comedy’s greatest achievements. The film’s story is well-known and—dare I say it—timeless, following a woman (played by Miriam Hopkins) and two men (Gary Cooper and Frederic March, who happens to be the Play Circle’s namesake) who vow to “forget sex” and enter into a Platonic ménage à trois. As you might expect, hijinx ensue—“The Mother and the Whore” it ain’t. The screening will begin at 7:30 at Vilas Hall.

“Design for Living” was selected by former UW professor Kristin Thompson as the capstone for a symposium dedicated to her work entitled “Movies, Media, and Methods.” The scholarly festivities will begin tomorrow morning at 9 and will run practically all day long.

Thompson is, of course, the co-author of the film studies bible that is Film Art: An Introduction. Several of the papers scheduled to be delivered at the symposium sound very interesting—in particular, a paper by University of Chicago professor Yuri Tsivian entitled “Chaplin and the Russian Avant-Garde: The Law of Fortuity in Art” (10:45AM) and a paper by University of Texas-Austin professor Janet Staiger (who co-authored The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 with Thompson and David Bordwell) entitled “Nuking the Fridge: Great Expectations and Affective Reception” (1:15PM).

Who knows, you (and I) just might learn something.

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