This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Shop Around the Corner
Quiet, Unassuming, Perfect
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.
I met my wife, Lise, through correspondence. Over 100 pages of e.mails through the entire month of August, 1999, before we finally met up on August 31st.
After our first perfunctory exchanges about who we were and what we liked, .. me: bands, biking, mixtapes and movies … Lise: bookcases, throw pillows, dogs and cats, and, amongst a list much longer than mine … ‘talking about movies’. Bingo.
Our next set of letters was all about the movies.
My top 10:
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Deer Hunter
The Great Santini
One From the Heart
Bonus pick – Joe Versus the Volcano
Lise’s Top 10:
I went into screenwriter mode about 30 minutes into the film. I could predict where it was going and how it was going to get there. I was enjoying it, but I knew where it was headed.
HA! I said.
I've never been so happy to be so wrong, and JHC was I proved wrong. Every friggin' 10 minutes Lubitsch and the screenwriter and the playwright were giving me the middle finger salute and I was loving it. The writing would come at me sideways, I would adjust my expectations and then get hit from the other side 10 minutes later. On and on it went, and I was lapping it up laughing out loud with a smile wider…
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.
Decades Project: 3/4 of the 40's
"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."
Growing up in the 90's, there were a lot of bad rom-coms in my house, and while they all became increasingly grating over time, there was always something effective about You've Got Mail. Don't get me wrong, it's not a great movie, but there are these moments where Tom Hanks knows that his business rival Meg Ryan is also his secret romantic pen pal which build tension in an almost Hitchcockian way (show…
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…
He passed the bow leg test.
Two coworkers repeatedly antagonize each other, not realizing that they have been anonymously falling in love with each other via letters. This is the original screen version of the story, which would be remade with Judy Garland as "In the Good Old Summertime" and later with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as "You've Got Mail".
James Stewart is less "aww shucks"-y than usual in this one - his character is even kind of mean. He does a good job playing a multi-dimensional, believable character. Margaret Sullavan was also good. Her weird behavior ended up making sense in the end - rather than just being a portrayal of a silly woman she was a complex (and also sort of silly) character.
Also obviously this was good because Lubitsch directed it. Real funny with real emotions.
Is this possibly THE perfect romantic movie? Recommended without hesitation.
And, for heavens sake, ignore the awful You've Got Mail remake.
I so badly want to watch Mia Hansen-Løve's Eden, but God apparently doesn't think I'm ready. My local rental place doesn't have it, the excuse for Netflix we have here in SA only stocks a few seasons of NCIS, Casablanca and a documentary about ice hockey, I tried downloading it, but ended up with a some other movie named Eden from 2014, which I started watching and soon stopped. Then I downloaded the right movie, but spent an evening sourcing every srt, sub, sbv, mpsub, lrc, stl, ssf and idx file on the internet and they were all about a half an hour off sync. So I gave up and rewatched this. And it's perfect and everything, but Eden looks so cool! Such struggles. Thanks for listening.
A lovely, witty, whip-smart romantic comedy that takes place in 1940's Budapest - without, you know, the Second World War. If you watch it, and have a weird deja vu where you start to see Tom Hanks' face instead of Jimmy Stewart, that's not a coincidence - let's just say, you don't need modern technology, as in, e-mails, to fall in love with a pen pal whom you fight with in real life.
As long as you're not bowlegged
OMG... I haven't noticed Ernst Lubitsch works till now. He is perfect and thoughtful. My rating will speak about this movie. Especially,i loved the acting of William Tracy in this movie.
Set in a small leather goods store in Hungary, although it could just as well be Main Street, Ernst Lubitsch's often-imitated, never-duplicated 1940 gem The Shop Around the Corner succeeds on every level. It's been remade several times (In the Good Old Summertime, You've Got Mail, among others), but the remakes focus more heavily on the mistaken identity love story about pen pals than on the rich human dramas playing out in this little shop.
Early in the film, characters debate the advisability of ordering a new musical cigarette box to sell in their store. It's a quaint little leather box that plays Russian folksong Ochi Chernye when opened. The owner likes the box, but his head saleman (James Stewart)…
Read Notes to see episode number.
Note: some films were reviewed twice, once at a film festival and then were…
From his book Essential Cinema.
A huge thanks to everyone who added films, helped me find films with alternate titles,…