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…
Wow this film is underrated. The Shop Around the Corner is in my opinion just as good as Rear Window, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, or any other of Stewart's work. The standout of the film are the performances. Like always Jimmy Stewart is amazing, no shock there, and Margaret Sullivan has great chemistry with Stewart. The standout was Frank Morgan. He became the character and was able to change attitude and emotion at the drop of a dime. Everyone did great as well. This is a character driven film. The film as a whole is simple but in the best way. After watching this I'm convinced Jimmy Stewart can't do any wrong.
Wow I've watched a lot of good movies lately.
Prolly the oldest "feel good" movie I've seen. Courtesy of 190
The struggles of working retail in one interaction:
Customer: (Opening shop door) I beg your pardon.
Sales Clerk: Yes, mam.
Customer: How much is that belt in the window? The one that says $2.95?
Sales Clerk: $2.95.
Customer: Oh no. (Walks away.)
My first lubitch film .. Love that dialogue with such finely sketched characters.. I love the edge underlying the plot of both the depression era nervous desperation but also the particular relationship of the two leads playing basically flawed characters trying to find their better halves. James Stewart is great and peppy steals the show !
Stories of seemingly incompatible people falling in love are everywhere; nevertheless, I was enchanted by The Shop around the Corner, and that’s because it’s exquisitely crafted in every respect. First and foremost, the story builds wonderfully, establishing the various personalities at Matuschek and Company and allowing them to play off one another constantly. I was surprised that, despite being the leads, James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan did not overwhelm the picture (as is typical with the leads of your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy). I loved that the supporting cast had a chance to sparkle at every turn, and this film really does boast an excellent cast. Frank Morgan, of course, I knew from The Wizard of Oz, but I also loved…
Still holds up.
It's easy to see romantic comedies containing ridiculous premises - we've had them now with Hollywood for decades - but like so much in cinema what has to work is the execution. You could have a meet cute that involves two people meeting by accidentally bumping into each other and striking up a conversation about their dogs in 2016 (sound familiar at all?) and it could be a terrific, entertaining, engaging and artistically driven film if there's some heart behind it, if we can get behind the characters, and the actors and director are sympatico with how to add some humanity to the situation. Ernst Lubitch and Margararet Sullivan and Jimmy Stewart have that with Shop Around the Corner, and…
While an entertaining film I wouldn't call it a favorite. I normally enjoy Jimmy Stewart's performance more then I did here... but to be fair this is one of his earlier films. Worth the time to watch. But not sure how much I would bother to rewatch this one.
Film #20 of Scavenger Hunt 15
Task #13: A film where characters write each other letters (snail mail, no e-mails)
This has been sitting unwatched in my collection for a number of years, and it was the first film that came to mind involving letters. It's a sweet little romance, with just enough bite and twist to keep you interested, even if you do know that they'll end up together in the end. With rom-coms it's the journey getting there that's the interesting part, and this film doesn't disappoint. Jimmy Stewart is always delightful to watch, even if I don't think this is his best work. I'm not as familiar with Margaret Sullavan, but she did a good job too.
Recommended for anyone who enjoys old-fashioned romantic comedies. This is a good one.
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
More Info to come