Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Shop Around the Corner

Ernst Lubitsch, 1940 (8.0*) bw
This is probably the most appealing and successful of famed director Ernst Lubitsch, who excelled in heart-warming comedies with original stories, which spawned generations of copycat plots. In fact Shop was remade first as In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland and Van Johnson (yet still took place in the holidays!), and recently as You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. None hold a candle to the original however, which also takes place at Christmas so this is actually another holiday film that is often overlooked.

James Stewart plays a clerk in a store in Budapest, Hungary (but they all speak perfect English!), working for Frank Morgan (he was the ‘man behind the curtain’ in the Wizard of Oz, also the traveling salesman). Margaret Sullivan is hired in the shop and she and Stewart don’t get along in person. However, each one has a secret pen pal who stirs their hearts and imagination, but they’ve yet to meet in person, each lacking romantic self-confidence; and of course, they are really each other’s secret admirers, and that’s all just the beginning. Down one star for some serious stuff in the middle spoiling the comedic pace, but Stewart and Morgan excel in this. This screenplay and its execution are still more original and fresh today than the copycat remakes and Lubitsch was an early comedy master, so this is a must-see holiday movie.


Anonymous,  December 24, 2008 at 2:29 AM  

I like to collect latest musical DVDs... Thanks for the information!!

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