The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930's. When the Nazi's come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is... See full summary »
In Budapest, Hungary, the Matuschek and Company store is owned by Mr. Hugo Matuschek and the bachelor Alfred Kralik is his best and most experienced salesman. When Klara Novak seeks a job position of saleswoman in the store, Matuschek hires her but Kralik and she do not tolerate each other. Meanwhile the lonely and dedicated Kralik has an unknown pen pal that he intends to propose very soon; however, he is fired without explanation by Matuschek in the night that he is going to meet his secret love. He goes to the bar where they have scheduled their meeting with his colleague Pirovitch and he surprisingly finds that Klara is his correspondent; however, ashamed with the unemployment, he does not disclose his identity to her. When Matuschek discovers that he had misjudged Kralik and committed a mistake, he hires him again for the position of manager. But Klara is still fascinated with her future fiancé and does not pay much attention to Kralik. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to the Book "Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise", 'The Shop Around the Corner' is the most meaningful tribute possible to the owner and employees of the long vanished Berlin clothing firm of S. Lubitsch. See more »
Before they leave the store room Alfred takes 5 boxes and Klara 4. In the next cut, suddenly Klara carries 5 boxes and Alfred has 4. See more »
[asking Pirovitch about cost of living for married couple]
Suppose a fellow gets an apartment with three rooms. Dining room, bedroom, living room.
What do you need three rooms for? You live in the bedroom.
Where do you eat?
In the kitchen. You get a nice big kitchen.
Where do you entertain?
Entertain? What are you, an embassador? Who do you want to entertain? Listen listen, if someone is really your friend, he comes after dinner.
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With a very good cast, a nice blend of wit and sentiment, and many other pluses, this classic remains as enjoyable and charming as ever. The fluffy but pleasant story benefits greatly from the Lubitsch touch, since he had the knack of giving significance to little things without taking them or himself too seriously. Presenting his characters honestly yet sympathetically, he makes the somewhat contrived situation seem believable and worth caring about. Its appeal comes across as almost effortless, but you only have to compare it with the less effective 90's remake to see how important the right touch is with this kind of story.
The atmosphere of life in the Budapest shop is set up efficiently and convincingly, and the cast all settle into their roles seamlessly. As the leads, Jimmy Stewart works perfectly, of course, and Margaret Sullavan conveys the right balance of spunkiness and vulnerability. Felix Bressart is invaluable, giving perhaps the finest performance among his many character roles. In some of his scenes, he barely has to say a word to make you smile. Frank Morgan is surprisingly good in a role rather different than usual for him, Joseph Schildkraut is effectively oily as the deceitful Vadas, and the others all help out, too. Lubitsch gives all of the characters a chance to come to life without pretense, just by using simple details effectively.
It all fits together very well, moves at just the right pace, and makes you a part of the characters' world. It makes for a very enjoyable movie that holds up very well even after several viewings.
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