The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  12 January 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 18,794 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 58 critic

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.



(screenplay), (based on a play by) (as Nikolaus Laszlo) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Sara Haden ...
Felix Bressart ...
William Tracy ...
Sarah Edwards ...
Woman Customer
Charles Smith ...


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rendez-vous  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The rights to the play on which this film was based were originally purchased by Ernst Lubitsch in 1938 with the intention to film it in an independent "share-the-profits" deal with Myron Selznick using his own company, Ernst Lubitsch Productions. Negotiations for the film's release were conducted with Paramount, RKO and United Artists, and Lubitsch planned to begin filming at the end of October 1938, but the deal failed to materialize, and when Lubitsch signed with MGM in January 1939, he included the story property in the deal with the proviso that he direct it. See more »


Pirovitch looks through the right side of the Cafe window from outside and tells Alfred he can't see Klara's face at first because she is sitting behind a coat rack. When Alfred joins Klara inside, she's sitting at the far end of the window with the coat rack well behind her. See more »


Pepi Katona: [leaving Mr.Matuschek's room in hospital] 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 Katona: Is that more expensive than a nervous breakdown?
See more »


Referenced in Porky's Poor Fish (1940) See more »


Ochi Tchornya (Dark Eyes)
Traditional Russian folk song
Played by the cigarette case and later by the string quartet at the cafe
See more »

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User Reviews

Pen pals in Budapest
19 December 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Ernst Lubitsch's contribution to the American cinema is enormous. His legacy is an outstanding group of movies that will live forever, as is the case with "The Shop Around the Corner". This film has been remade into other less distinguished movies and a musical play, without the charm or elegance of Mr. Lubitsch's own, and definite version.

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart worked in several films together. Their characters in this movie stand out as an example of how to be in a movie without almost appearing to be acting at all. Both stars are delightful as the pen pals that don't know of one another, but who fate had them working together in the same shop in Budapest.

The reason why these classic films worked so well is the amazing supporting casts the studios put together in picture after picture. In here, we have the wonderful Frank Morgan, playing the owner of the shop. Also, we see Joseph Schildkraut, Felix Bressart, William Tracy and Charles Smith, among others, doing impressive work in making us believe that yes, they are in Budapest.

That is why these films will live forever!

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