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…
You've Got Mail is a loose remake of this simple cute movie.
Pretty standard film altogether but it's greatly enriched by unusually witty and good writing and Jimmy Stewart's usual low-key charm - which really is not me putting down Jimmy Stewart, because I love that man and will watch anything he is in - but it's elevated by this almost proto-Altman-esque pre-occupation with the shop that these two employees (Sullavan and Stewart) work at and the live's of the owner and co-workers.
Υπέροχο romcom! ♥ ♥ ♥
I never realized that romantic comedies with godly camerawork existed. Though this film lacks profundity, Lubitsch compromises by creating a soul-rending community of complex characters, as well as a multi-faceted plot which only partially revolves around the romantic tension between Novak and Kralik.
Lubitsch's ability to tease the audience complements the structure of this film perfectly. Though the audience is aware of the secret discussion via letter, Kralik finds out a third of the way through the film, and even then the secret isn't slipped for a very long time after this. The anticipation and distress Novak feels can be easily understood, and thus we feel connected to the film, creating a dimension of empathy which is a very difficult concept to achieve, particularly within this genre. Arguably one of the greatest rom-coms of all time.
"I think people who like to smoke candy
and listen to cigarettes will love it."
Where 'You've Got Mail' was a beloved favorite of mine from an early age, its predecessor didn't cross my path until five or six years ago. Instantly this Lubitsch joint has catapulted up to one of my favorites.
Jimmy Stewart & Margaret Sullavan work perfectly together. They frazzle and disarm each other with great wit and comedic timing. They're rounded out by a great ensemble cast as well.
Two Ernst Lubitsch films in and he's fast becoming a favorite of the 40s for me. Stewart is, as always, the perfect Everyman--here a kind but businesslike shop worker who thinks he's found love with a penpal--and his chemistry with Sullavan is pretty solid. The film has a couple twists that surprised me for a 40s film too, though that's no real surprise after seeing To Be or Not to Be--Lubitsch is always a little ahead of the times in terms of content.
Two other keys to the film: the supporting cast. Mr. Matuschek and Pirovitch are particularly nice supporting characters, and Matuschek's moment with Rudy at the end of the film, standing in the snow, is really a sweet…
Clerks: Christmas in Hungary Edition
Sencilla, divertida, casi utilizaría encantadora y, para que negarlo, algo ingenua. Bien interpretada, excelentemente rodada, no se aleja de algunos clichés y consigue que te de igual... la capacidad de Lubitsch para hacer grandes las cosas pequeñas.
The Shop Around the Corner is so damn likable that it's almost impossible not to love. You know exactly where it's going once it starts, but Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan captivate the audience with ease and make you just accept the cliches.
Sullavan is particularly great here. She has that movie-star quality found in very few actors that makes it impossible for the audience to not sympathize with her on some level. Her character is actually fairly unlikable, but I still found it so easy to root for her. The same could be said about Stewart's character, who was kind of a dick, but Stewart is hugely charismatic. Still, his performance here isn't much different from his other famous…
An ordered list of Sight and Sound's Top 250 Greatest Films of All Time