The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
November 27, 2015 1:20 PM - Subscribe

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This film exemplifies the "Lubitsch touch" for me. Comic without being too flip and sweetly sexy.

Cinephiles might want to look at David Bordwell's comparison of editing and framing techniques in "Shop" and its reboot, "You've Got Mail".
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:22 PM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Our family finds this one odd in that the names of people and streets, etc. are all noticeably, recognizably Hungarian, even as Budapest mostly ends up coming off like a mid-sized town on the Atlantic seaboard.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:44 PM on November 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Love this movie. Margaret Sullivan is so funny, and Stewart too.
posted by TenaciousB at 4:02 PM on November 27, 2015

Thanks Sheydem-tants for posting that great piece of analysis.
posted by sardonyx at 7:14 PM on November 27, 2015

Who would give A Shop Around the Corner 3.5 stars? What is the other 0.5 even for? I can't imagine what could be added or taken away from the film as it stands. I love Stewart and Sullivan but I also really like the perfect little fishbowl of the shop and the dynamic between the different workers and Mr Matuschek - that group dynamic and the comedy coming out of it is one of many ways in which it's a much better movie than You've Got Mail.

Even looked at purely as a romance, I can't understand the You've Got Mail decision to take away the dimension of being coworkers, who see each other every day in claustrophobic proximity with lots of opportunity for mundane little conflicts, professional (those cigarette boxes) and personal (that blouse, imitations in the stockroom). Half the comedy, and the romance, is in watching them angrily edge around each other in the shop. Whereas Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail barely know each other in the first place, and certainly aren't integrated into each other's frustrating-normal life in a way that properly contrasts with the romantic correspondence. It's a weird decision to replace that normal workplace frustration and tension with a big "this millionaire is destroying my shop" conflict.
posted by Aravis76 at 9:21 PM on November 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

And it's not just You've Got Mail. TSATC was also remade as a film musical, In the Good Old Summertime (with Judy Garland every bit as good as Margaret Sullivan, and "Cuddles" Sakall possibly better than Frank Morgan, but alas with Van Johnson not nearly as good as James Stewart; however, totally worth seeing because of gags by and with Buster Keaton), and also a Broadway musical She Loves Me!, from the same team who would later create Fiddler on the Roof.
posted by ubiquity at 12:38 PM on November 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

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