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 Bright Lights Film Journal website, When Kralik mentions "You read Zola's Madame Bovary," Klara immediately corrects him: "Madame Bovary is not by Zola," she snipes. The joke here is that though Klara knows who wrote Madame Bovary, she doesn't understand that she herself is living exclusively in Emma Bovary's world of impossible ideals. 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 »
[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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I have lost count of just how many times I have seen this movie - I probably know the entire dialog backwards - yet I am drawn to it time and again.
Set in Hungary, a young Jimmy Stewart plays the eligible bachelor "Kralik" who becomes the secret admirer of Margaret Sullavan's innocent "Klara". Kralik secretly becomes Klara's pen-friend, and at work together Klara confides in Kralik about the content of his (Kralik's) letters. Clearly Kralik is besotted with Klara - but is unable to make his feelings known whilst he is in competition with the "pen-friend". Confused? Well you wont be - this story has a sweet, almost sugary ending - but we all know it is the ending we all want.
Other characters worth mentioning are Frank Morgan playing his usual role, this time as the shop's owner "Hugo Matuschek", Felix Bressart as "Pirovitch", Kralik's confidant. Joseph Schildkraut as the womanising arrogant "Vadas" - so well played that you cannot help but hate him right from the beginning.
Finally William Tracy who manages to endear himself to us all with his over-confident upstart of a shop junior "Pepi Katona".
Recently re-made as "You've Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan for me is not as good as the original - although I suspect younger audiences would disagree.
If this film is on in your area over Christmas, I suggest you pour yourself a nice glass of wine, put a log on the fire and have a box of Kleenex handy.
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