A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
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 get along. 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 on 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 After being let go 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 correspondent and does not pay much attention to Alfred. Alfred works out a plan to reveal himself to Klara's who ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
To make sure his film was stripped of the glamour usually associated with him, Ernst Lubitsch went to such lengths as ordering that a dress Margaret 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 »
[spying through the café window]
There is a cup of coffee on the table. She's taking a piece of cake. Kralik, she's dunking!
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A wonderful film, filled with great understated performance and sharp, intelligent dialogue. What really distinguishes the film, however, is that undercurrent of sadness throughout. The story is underscored by affairs, loneliness, suicide, disappointment, the fear of losing ones job in a world where that had disastrous consequences. Most of all it was set in a world that no longer existed, having been ripped apart by the beginning of World War II. In fact, the film is barely a comedy at all if you compare the percentage of serious scenes to the comic scenes. Yet funny it is--listen to Margaret Sullivan's harsh dismissal of Jimmy Stewart and watch his pained expression as he replies that her comments were a remarkable blend "of poetry and meanness". It's funny, pointed, and sad all at once. A remarkable achievement and one of the ten greatest screen comedies ever made.
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