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.
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…
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.
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…
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…
Two bickering rivals at a Hungarian gift shop unwittingly fall in love outside of work as pen pals. My absolute favorite Lubitsch film. The director's famous touch is in full effect here without all the seething sexuality that trademarked his pre-Code work. James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Felix Bressart, and Joseph Schildkraut all round out a well-oiled cast. The atmosphere they're able to create together and in small one-on-one scenes is rife with humor and heart. Frank Morgan gives ones of his best performances, in a career filled with them, as the shop owner who runs the gamut of emotions with many memorable scenes. The screenplay is sharp and timeless as evidenced by the many, many sequels. A joyous triumph - a movie I love revisiting.
The more James Stewart movies I see, the more credit I have to give him. He really was a great actor, and not just the same character in every movie. Cool to see a non-Oz Frank Morgan, too.
This was more than a romantic comedy when it came to the side plot between Stewart's character and the owner of the shop, that although I enjoyed kind of took away from the relationship aspect of the story and there was this weird gap that kind of skipped some development for some reason.
But when it comes to the writing, the comedy that was very funny, the great acting by Sullavan and Stewart and the great ending, this is still a good romantic comedy.
(Much better than You've Got Mail, although I enjoyed that movie as well, but haven't seen it in a while. lol )
I never really got the "Lubitsch touch" until this film. It's so good, so endearing that it makes me want to revisit all the Lubitsch films I've seen for a reevaluation. Just so heartwarming and well acted. Basically no complaints about this one other than the beginning took a bit for me to get involved. Once it had it's hooks in though I simply couldn't stop watching.
The only thing stopping this film from being 100% flawless, is a slightly miscast Margaret Sullavan as the leading actress. But that in no way interrupts the incredible charm, wit or the incredible performances by the rest of every single cast member.
Perfectly charming romantic comedy that has a fair amount of melodrama in the mix. As is often the case with such films, the actions of the characters would be somewhat reprehensible if this were real life. The scenario was remade as You've Got Mail.
I got a fever and the prescription is more cowbell Lubitsch! Yet AGAIN, demonstrating his range, Lubitsch impresses me with this lovely romantic comedy/drama about two people who hate each other by day and anonymously love each other through mails by night. Too bad that I have seen Ephron's stellar 2001 remake, You've Got Mail beforehand so the plot has been mostly spoiled for me by the time I saw it. In the rare Hollywood exception of remaking films, I believe You've Got Mail is a slightly better film (please don't ban me!) if only for how far Ephron takes the general premise. Lubitsch's film is different - it is much smaller scaled, the plot only spans weeks (maybe an entire month?). I still liked it though! How can I resist James Stewart's affable sensibilities? How could anyone? Margaret Sullivan, peeping through that mail hole was such a nice little moment. And the ending? Heartstring-pulling, tearjerking, and overall wonderful.
"I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it."
I am unable to detect any imperfections.
An ordered list of Sight and Sound's Top 250 Greatest Films of All Time