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)
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

Taglines:

Just LOOK at WHO GET THAT SLY "LUBITSCH TOUCH" NOW! (Print Ad- Philadelphia Inquirer, ((Philadelphia, Penna.)) 10 January 1940)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At first, European actress Dolly Haas was pencilled in for the female lead, but Ernst Lubitsch had second thoughts about casting an unknown actress for American audiences. See more »

Goofs

When Klara hurries out of the back room with her hat and coat she rushes past the rest of the employees as they enter the room in a group. Flora is the second-to-last person in the line and she is clearly inside the room before Klara runs past. In the next cut showing Klara hurrying through the store, Flora is the last person in line and is still in the doorway. See more »

Quotes

Hugo Matuschek: It took me a whole hour to decide that I like this box.
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Crazy Credits

Opening Card: This is the story of Matuschek and Company - of Mr. Matuschek and the people who work for him. It is just around the corner from Andrassy Street - on Balta Strreet, in Budapest, Hungary. See more »

Alternate Versions

Has been broadcast in a colorized version. 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
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User Reviews

Very Enjoyable
8 January 2003 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

With a very good cast, a nice blend of wit and sentiment, and many other pluses, this classic remains as enjoyable and charming as ever. The fluffy but pleasant story benefits greatly from the Lubitsch touch, since he had the knack of giving significance to little things without taking them or himself too seriously. Presenting his characters honestly yet sympathetically, he makes the somewhat contrived situation seem believable and worth caring about. Its appeal comes across as almost effortless, but you only have to compare it with the less effective 90's remake to see how important the right touch is with this kind of story.

The atmosphere of life in the Budapest shop is set up efficiently and convincingly, and the cast all settle into their roles seamlessly. As the leads, Jimmy Stewart works perfectly, of course, and Margaret Sullavan conveys the right balance of spunkiness and vulnerability. Felix Bressart is invaluable, giving perhaps the finest performance among his many character roles. In some of his scenes, he barely has to say a word to make you smile. Frank Morgan is surprisingly good in a role rather different than usual for him, Joseph Schildkraut is effectively oily as the deceitful Vadas, and the others all help out, too. Lubitsch gives all of the characters a chance to come to life without pretense, just by using simple details effectively.

It all fits together very well, moves at just the right pace, and makes you a part of the characters' world. It makes for a very enjoyable movie that holds up very well even after several viewings.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,368
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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