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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
To make sure his film was stripped of the glamor usually associated with him, Lubitsch went to such lengths as ordering that a dress Sullavan had purchased off the rack for $1.98 be left in the sun to bleach and altered to fit poorly. 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 »
[after Miss Novak sells one of the musical cigarette boxes]
Well, Mr. Kralik, what do you think now?
I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it.
See more »
The Stewart /Sullavan relationship and the warmth which flows on the screen are only one bend in a most extraordinary river.Although "extraordinary" is not the right word,because everything here is ordinary,no hero,no spectacular events and however,something happens.
The shop is a life microcosm,with its little quiet joys and its bitter disappointments,but,Lubitsch,here very close to Capra ,proves that virtuous gents like Stewart character can triumph in the end;and the final scene of the lovers is one of the wittier in the whole cinema.We seem to know all the clerks in the shop as if we've known them for years,and their everyday life is depicted with love and affection.The yuletide spirit is captured with a lot of emotion-check the scene between the boss and his new delivery boy Rudi and predates "it's a wonderful life" by five years.
The main topic is the fear of solitude.The shop is the place where everyone can feel he is part of a family,a family sometimes truer than the real one (see the boss's wife).And the director wants to make sure that ,when they leave their work on Xmas night,everyone is not on his own.A masterful conclusion.
The remake "you've got mail" featuring Ryan and Hanks is politically correct to a fault.All Lubitsch's movie charm and poetry seem to have been swallowed by the computers.
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