Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with ... 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
While directing this movie, Ernst Lubitsch drew upon his extensive experiences working in his father's Berlin shop as a young lad. At the film's January 25, 1940 premiere at Radio City Music Hall, Lubitsch remarked, "I have known just such a little shop in Budapest...The feeling between the boss and those who work for him is pretty much the same the world over, it seems to me. Everyone is afraid of losing his job and everyone knows how little human worries can affect his job. If the boss has a touch of dyspepsia, better be careful not to step on his toes; when things have gone well with him, the whole staff reflects his good humor. See more »
After dismissing his employees for the night and right before seeing the private detective, Mr. Matuschek sees Vadas leave the shop. As he watches him close the door, you can clearly hear off camera directions that sound like "turn" and "he's gone." See more »
Klara Novak (Miss Novak):
[In her letter to Alfred]
: Oh, my Dear Friend, my heart was trembling as I walked into the post office, and there you were, lying in Box 237. I took you out of your envelope and read you, read you right there.
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The cast really helps make this a pleasant surprise and a cut above the normal man-vs.-woman-argue-all-the-time-but-wind up-in love-type of Hollywood screwball romance/comedy.
I usually don't go for those type of films and that tiresome storyline but this one was refreshing, fun to watch, and oozes with charm.
Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan play off each other well and make a very handsome couple. The supporting cast is outstanding - from the always-likable Felix Bressart to the villain Joseph Schildkraut.
Frank Morgan also plays one of the most interesting characters I've ever seen him do in his career. He takes the film and turns it around into a whole different mood for awhile when something dramatic happens to him. That "twist" is another reason this film rises above others of its kind.
Once again, when a film has a good mix of categories, it usually succeeds. This is a great example of that. In this movie, it's romance, comedy and drama and it's well done. I'll take this over the re-make "You've Got Mail," any day. No comparison.
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