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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

James Stewart was at the top of Ernst Lubitsch's list to play the simple Alfred Kralik because the actor was "the antithesis of the old-time matinee idol; he holds his public by his very lack of a handsome face or suave manner." See more »

Goofs

When Kralik sets down his order book, we can see that "Matuschek & Co." has been embossed on it upside down. See more »

Quotes

Hugo Matuschek: [after Miss Novak sells one of the musical cigarette boxes] Well, Mr. Kralik, what do you think now?
Alfred Kralik: I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twice in a Lifetime: Matchmaker, Matchmaker (2000) 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

 
Quiet, Unassuming, Perfect
3 May 2002 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Much about love & life can be learned from watching the folks at THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER.

Ernst Lubitsch had another quiet triumph added to his credit with this lovely film. With sparkling dialogue (courtesy of his longtime collaborator Samson Raphaelson) and wonderful performances from a cast of abundantly talented performers, he created a truly memorable movie. Always believing in playing up to the intelligence of his viewers, and favoring sophistication over slapstick, the director concocted a scintillating cinematic repast seasoned with that elusive, enigmatic quality known as the ‘Lubitsch touch.'

Although the story is set in Budapest (and there is a jumble of accents among the players) this is of no consequence. The beautiful simplicity of the plot is that any great American city or small town could easily be the locus for the action.

Jimmy Stewart & Margaret Sullavan are wonderful as the clerks in love with romance and then with each other - without knowing it. Their dialogue - so adeptly handled as to seem utterly natural - perfectly conveys their confusion & quiet desperation as they seek for soul mates. Theirs is one of the classic love stories of the cinema.

Cherubic Frank Morgan has a more serious role than usual, that of a man whose transient importance in his little world is shattered when he finds himself to be a cuckold. An accomplished scene stealer, he allows no emotion to escape unvented. Additionally, Morgan provides the film with its most joyous few moments - near the end - when he determines that his store's newest employee, an impoverished youth, enjoys a memorable Christmas Eve.

Joseph Schildkraut adds another vivid depiction to his roster of screen portrayals, this time that of a toadying, sycophantic Lothario who thoroughly deserves the punishment eventually meted out to him. Gentle Felix Bressart has his finest film role as a family man who really can not afford to become involved in shop intrigues, yet remains a steadfast friend to Stewart.

Sara Haden graces the small role of a sales clerk. William Tracy is hilarious as the ambitious errand boy who takes advantage of unforeseen developments to leverage himself onto the sales force.

In tiny roles, Charles Halton plays a no-nonsense detective and Edwin Maxwell appears as a pompous doctor. Movie mavens will recognize Mary Carr & Mabel Colcord - both uncredited - in their single scene as Miss Sullavan's grandmother & aunt.


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