Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Review - Shop Around the Corner

Hi, this is Luke again. This time I thought I would review one of my favourite movies: The Shop around the Corner, which is one of the great romantic comedies of the golden era of Hollywood.
The Shop Around the Corner, which came out in 1940, stars the inimitable James Stewart, along with Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan. This film is rather unique among the Hollywood romances of its day in that it's not set in the USA or Paris. Rather, the story takes place in Budapest, Hungary. This is because the script was based on the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László.

The story goes like this: Kralik (Stewart) is the head salesman at the leather goods shop owned by Mr Matuschek (Morgan). When a new girl named Klara (Sullavan) starts work, she and Kralik immediately take a strong dislike to each other. At the same time, both of them are falling for anonymous "pen friends" with whom they are corresponding by post. And the twist is... you guessed it... the anonymous friends are actually Kralik and Klara themselves. I won't spoil the movie by telling you how it turns out; you'll have to watch it yourself.

The Shop Around the Corner is ranked #28 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions, and is listed in Time's All-Time 100 Movies. It led to a 1949 musical remake called In the Good Old Summertime, starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson (which sacrifices a lot of the depth of the original for feel-good enthusiasm). Many of you will know You've Got Mail, another variation on this story, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the entangled protagonists. All the remakes borrow shamelessly from the original, but none can match its intelligent wit, superb characterisation, and amazing acting.

And now for some pictures:

Kralik: [asking Pirovitch about cost of living for married couple] Suppose a fellow gets an apartment with three rooms. Dining room, bedroom, living room.
Pirovitch: What do you need three rooms for? You live in the bedroom.
Alfred Kralik: Where do you eat?
Pirovitch: In the kitchen. You get a nice big kitchen.
Alfred Kralik: Where do you entertain?
Pirovitch: Entertain? What are you, an ambassador? Who do you want to entertain? Listen, listen, if someone is really your friend, he comes after dinner.

You may recognise Mr Matuschek as the Wizard of Oz.

Kralik: There might be a lot we don't know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.  
Klara: 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.

Kralik finds out Klara is his mysterious pen friend.

Here is the trailer for your enjoyment:

Now go watch it!

No comments:

Post a Comment