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Who would have possibly realized in this bubbly and frothy romantic
comedy, behind the scenes was a looming tragedy. While shooting this
film with Gregory Peck by day, Lauren Bacall was nursing dying husband
Humphrey Bogart. It was quite an ordeal for her.
Fortunately she's called on to be a fashion designer, beautiful and
chic and Lauren Bacall can do that in her sleep. I'm sure working on
this film took her mind off what she was dealing with at home.
As has been said, this borrows heavily from Woman of the Year. And like
in Woman of the Year, the male lead is a sports columnist. He's also
doing a bit of crusading journalism going after racketeers in the
boxing game. Which, by the way, in real life was also going on, giving
Designing Woman a certain current topicality.
Gregory Peck may be reprising Spencer Tracy, but I think he's poaching
here on Rock Hudson's territory. Still he does have some good moments
as Mike Hagen, sportswriter and would-be Bob Woodward. His best moments
are with Dolores Gray, his jilted girlfriend who dumps a plate of
ravioli in his lap at a posh restaurant and later in her apartment
hiding from Bacall and wrestling with Gray's pink poodle for his shoe
which the dog appropriates for a chew toy.
The rest of the cast nicely fills out their roles. Two standouts for me
are Mickey Shaughnessy as a punch-drunk ex-pug who is Peck's appointed
bodyguard. It seems like Mickey Shaughnessy was in about every good
film in the 1950s and worked with everyone. The second is Jack Cole,
choreographer who plays a choreographer in a show Bacall is designing
We've certainly come a long way from 1957 when you had to hide the fact
a character was gay. If Designing Woman was made today Jack Cole would
be openly gay and no nonsense about it. Let us say his presence in the
mad finale is absolutely crucial to Peck's and Bacall's life and
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