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Designing Woman

Designing Woman(1957)


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George Wells was credited onscreen as follows: "written by George Wells Associate Producer." Following the opening credits, several of the lead characters give individual introductions to the story, addressing the camera directly. Intermittently throughout the film, actors Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall and Dolores Gray, provide voice-over narration. At the close of the film, several of the lead characters give story epilogues, directly addressing the camera. During the early scene in which "Mike Hagen" is hungover from a night of drinking, every noise is amplified, including the sound of a pin from a new shirt dropping into a wastebasket.
       July and August 1955 Hollywood Reporter news items state that Grace Kelly and James Stewart were originally considered for the film, but, according to modern sources, when Kelly refused the part due to her recent marriage, Stewart also declined the production. A March 13, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Cyd Charisse was then slated to star in the film, but was replaced by Bacall. According to a July 30, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, Peck completed the deal to star in the film with Bacall in return for the loan of M-G-M star Ava Gardner to appear in his own independent production Thieves' Market; however, that film was never made. A August 24, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item states that director Vincente Minnelli tested Jarma Lewis for a role in the film, but her appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Jesse White, Kip King, Lysa Baugher, Sheila Hackett, Roberta Leune, Edith Udane, Sallie Whalen and Bette Curtis to the cast; however, their appearance in the film has not been confirmed.
       Designing Woman was producer Dore Schary's first comedy and last film for M-G-M, the studio at which he had been head of production since the late 1940s. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA; Marineland, CA and in Hollywood, CA.
       Wells received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for his contribution to the film. According to a April 17, 1957 Los Angeles Times article, costume designer Helen Rose received a Golden Hatbox Award for her contribution. Although some modern sources claim that Designing Woman is a remake of the 1942 M-G-M film Woman of the Year and the films's characters and theme bear some similarities, the stories are different. Designing Woman marked the first acting role for choreographer Jack Cole, who had previously worked in film as as a choreographer or onscreen dancer.