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The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 12 January 1940 (USA)
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Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Samson Raphaelson (screenplay), Miklós László (based on a play by) (as Nikolaus Laszlo)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret Sullavan ... Klara Novak
James Stewart ... Alfred Kralik
Frank Morgan ... Hugo Matuschek
Joseph Schildkraut ... Ferencz Vadas
Sara Haden ... Flora
Felix Bressart ... Pirovitch
William Tracy ... Pepi Katona
Inez Courtney ... Ilona
Sarah Edwards Sarah Edwards ... Woman Customer
Edwin Maxwell ... Doctor
Charles Halton ... Detective
Charles Smith ... Rudy
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shopworn Angel See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$203,300, 31 January 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All scenes were reportedly shot in sequence. See more »

Goofs

After dismissing his employees for the night, 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 »

Quotes

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.
See more »

Connections

Version of Illatszertár (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Ochi Tchornya (Dark Eyes)
(uncredited)
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

Romantic comedy perfection
3 May 2004 | by fwmurnauSee all my reviews

Lubitsch's charming masterpiece, so often imitated and re-adapted since it appeared in 1940, is one of the very few films that can be called perfect. There is not a shot, a line, a performance, or a moment in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER that isn't exactly right. Everything fits together and runs like a Swiss watch.

With its flawless screenplay and cast, it's the most subtle, discreet, and understated of romantic comedies. What other film manages to be so warm-hearted yet so rigorously unsentimental? What other movie story is so exquisitely planned and executed?

Margaret Sullaven isn't sexy, it's true, but this isn't a film about sex. It's about love in the human heart and mind. A sexier actress would have thrown things out-of-balance. As always, Lubitsch knew exactly what he was doing. Just as he knew ace comedian Frank Morgan (the WIZARD OF OZ's Wizard) had hidden depth, which this film so beautifully reveals.

They don't make them like this anymore -- they didn't make them like this back then, either. SHOP was under-rated in 1940, when it appeared. It's simply too subtle, too intelligent and disciplined for the average viewer or critic.

Nothing overdone or exaggerated. Nothing out-of-place. If Mozart had been a filmmaker, he would have made this one. Warm, charming, adult, quiet, intelligent, knowing, touching ... perfection.


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