The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Critic Consensus: Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.
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as Klara Novak
as Alfred Kralik
as Hugo Matuschek
as Ferencz Vadas
as Pepi Katona
as Woman Customer
as Woman Customer
as Plump Woman
as Aunt Anna
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Critic Reviews for The Shop Around the Corner
As the plot has as many complications as characters, much of the fun comes in watching Scripter Samson Raphaelson neatly tangle and untangle them without tying himself in a hard knot.
Although picture carries the indelible stamp of Ernst Lubitsch at his best in generating humor and human interest from what might appear to be unimportant situations, it carries further to impress via the outstanding characterizations by Margaret Sullavan
This 1940 film is one of Ernst Lubitsch's finest and most enduring works, a romantic comedy of dazzling range.
Thoroughly different from To Be or Not To Be but just as exhilarating, it's one of the few films truly justifying Lubitsch's reputation for a 'touch.'
...a pretty kettle of bubbling brew it makes under Mr. Lubitsch's deft and tender management and with a genial company to play it gently, well this side of farce and well that side of utter seriousness.
Audience Reviews for The Shop Around the Corner
This romantic comedy, from legendary Ernst Lubitsch, was the original inspiration for the nauseatingly trite "You've Got Mail," but is centered on Budapest life rather than urban New York City. Lubitsch set the story in Budapest, his home town, and featured the likes of Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as beguiled co-workers, who aren't aware that they are each the other's anonymous pen pals. Throughout their strange courtship we find out about an affair between a co-worker and the shop's owner's wife, watch a Christmastime rush at the shop and a game that eventually unravels the truth. Besides the great performances from our two leads, all the supporting characters are kooky or sweet, and the antics within the store are just as interesting and entertaining to watch as the chemistry between Stewart and Sullavan. The small town charm of Budapest is also a central character, making this film an all-time romantic comedy classic.
A Hungarian clerk falls in love with a pen pal who turns out to be his co-worker, with whom he has an antagonistic relationship. A remarkably dark romantic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner falls well short of charming (any claim it has to that adjective comes in the person of the naturally delightful Jimmy Stewart). Instead subplots of infidelity and a failing business cloud whatever romantic juice can be squeezed out of the primary plotline. The film is not boring nor are the characters bland, but the heavy air of the Hungarian milieu and the heavier subplots bring the story to a slow climb toward nothing interesting. Overall, I suspect the modern You've Got Mail might have a better tone but less substance, and as a whole, this story feels too uneven.
Lubitsch lends his featherlight comic zest to that most claustrophobic of spaces: the workplace. In this case its a small leather goods retail store where the staff see each other monotonous day in and monotonous day out. The focus is on a young man who happens to be the senior clerk (nowadays that'd be "associate") who pines for a woman he's only written to, meeting her from an ad in the paper (nowadays that'd be Facebook or some such). The comedy happens that his love might be far different in person than on paper. Nobody's perfect in this souffle, which only adds to the taste as it rises.
The Shop Around the Corner Quotes
|Pirovitch:||Kralik, you'll get the wallet.|
|Klara Novak:||All my knowledge came from books, and I'd just finished a novel about a glamorous French actress from the Comedie Francaise. That's atheater in France. When she wanted to arouse a man's interest, she treated him like a dog.|
|Alfred Kralik:||Yes. Well... you treated me like a dog.|
|Klara Novak:||Yes. But instead of licking my hand... you barked.|
|Pepi Katena:||Doctor, do I call you a pill-peddler?|
|Pepi Katena:||Well Doctor, I would say it's a nervous breakdown. What do you think?|
|Doctor:||It appears to be an acute epileptoid manifestation and a pan phobic melancholiac with indication of a neurasthenia cordus.|
|Pepi Katena:||Is that more expensive than a nervous breakdown?|