Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realising that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.
Jimmy Stewart is perfect.
Film #5 of Project 40
”Well I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter... which doesn't work.”
A sweet and light-hearted romantic comedy from Ernst Lubitsch set in the pre-war Budapest. Lubitsch’s films are never complicated, the premise is simple, the milestones are quite predictable and after watching 10 minutes of the film it’s not hard to guess what’s going to happen in the end. Jaw-dropping surprises and twists are not part of Lubitsch’s universe, he only wants to use the magic of cinema to narrate a cheerful and riveting little…
So perfectly constructed it can be easy to initially overlook its feeling of spontaneity and human interaction. Even a suicide attempt, framed indirectly by the pop of a light bulb, plays less as black comedy than an impossibly optimistic show of human empathy and interdependence. That its revelation of lovers' identities to each other occurs after all the bright lights have been turned off around them seems so fitting for a film that subtly inverts everything you expect while producing a paragon of generic entertainment.
Have you ever had one of those films that you watch whenever you are feeling down and it automatically makes you feel better minutes within watching? "The Shop Around the Corner" is one of those films for me. I watched it a few years ago on TCM and was completely blown away by the simplicity of the plot but amazed by how much the film moved me. Even after watching it this time, which has to be around my seventh, I still laughed at most of the jokes and I fell in love with the charm of Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan yet again. The film makes me want to go out and find a pen pal to just talk…
I think I heard the name "Mr. Matuschek" one too many times. It's been running on a loop in my brain ever since, and not in a good way. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the film a great deal, as everything else really worked.
Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) work together at Matuschek & Co. gift shop. Alfred is Matuschek's most long-standing employee at 9+ years. Klara is hired under his supervision when she sold, at high cost, a musical cigarette box disguised as a candy box to a larger woman, with the music being a warning not to eat so much. As the days pass, the two begin to loathe one another at work - while at…
I feel like one of those old kooks, a man of the times from the old era of doing things in wanting to use the cliched phrase to begin this review:
"They don't make em' like they use to!"
Not because I am a man, but I have never been a big fan of the Romantic-Comedy sub genre or Rom-com's as they are now popular abbreviated into. The reason for this is about 90% of the ones you see today are nothing more than formulamatic trash that pump out the same cliche and predictable stories. Their only draw to bring in audiences is to always interchange the actors (more like celebrities as the more famous the better, talent not always…
A very charming and enjoyable film. Stewart was wonderful as always ( he is a personal fave). The supporting cast was very good and i was pleasantly surprised by their performances. A clever plot in its simplicity that keeps you attentive to the end.
The best pen pal of all time.
Wish they would've recast Klara, but everyone else is wonderful, especially Felix Bressart.
December 2014 Challenge – Film #9
Despite some pet-peeves that I have about this movie, this is becoming one of my favorite must-watch films during the Christmas season. However, let’s get some of the negatives out of the way.
Pet-peeve #1: Jimmy Stewart not speaking in a Hungarian accent. This comes pretty close to the travesty of Robert Redford not speaking in a British accent for Out of Africa . For a story that takes place in Budapest and a set design where signs in Hungarian are displayed all over the place, Stewart’s normal speaking voice is totally out of place.
Pet-peeve #2: Klara Novak’s (Margaret Sullavan) impulsiveness is grating on the nerves. To Lubitsch’s credit, the character…
Not all of it works but the interplay between the staff at the titular shop is Lubitsch at his best. The A-plot is sadly forgettable for how famously stolen it is. There's a gunshot that might be an all-timer.
Smart and witty comedy anchored by yet another great Jimmy Stewart performance. Margaret Sullavan matches him in one of their many collaborations.
Nice little Christmas touch at the end.
A perfect film.
"Have you read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment? Well I have!"
I always like Jimmy Stewart but Margret Sullavan's character didn't make sense or win any sympathy from me. I kept thinking "why does he like her?
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…