Everett Collection
Adam Markovitz
December 05, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

Based on a play by Noël Coward and directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Design for Living (1933, Not Rated, 1 hr., 31 mins.) doesn’t have the woozy romance of Coward’s Brief Encounter or the manic flash of Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be. But it charms anyway in its Criterion debut, thanks to twinkling star turns by Gary Cooper, Fredric March, and Miriam Hopkins as a love triangle of Americans in Paris. Their banter is so lighthearted the movie could almost float away — if not for racy, pre-Code moments that add a welcome dash of honesty. As March’s character says, ”Delicacy is the banana peel under the feet of truth.” B+

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