Posted December 10, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Films

Shop Around the Corner, The

When you think of two attractive leads who cannot stand the sight of
each other who are each hot for their relative penpals that they have
yet to meet but are unknowingly writing to each other, you immediately
hone in on the popular rom-com You Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Actually, the premise existed a lot earlier in the excellent The Shop Around The Corner, with Ernst Lubitsch at the helm, and the infectious Margaret Sullavan and the dashing James Stewart as the warring couple.

Working in Hugo Matuschek’s store, based in Budapest, Hungary, Alfred
Kralik (Stewart) excels at his job as a salesman. When his boss hires
the pretty but neurotic Klara Novak (Sullavan) as a saleswoman, she and
Kralik hate each other on sight.

Privately, Kralik intends to propose to his unknown pen pal but is
inexplicably fired on the very night he is suppose to meet with her.
Arriving at the café, he sees his much hated work colleague, only to
learn that she is his penpal. He refrains from revealing his identity,
ashamed of his unemployment. Matuschek later wises up to his mistake and
re-hires Kralik, promoting him to manager. He secretly yearns for Klara
but she’s hellbent on her ‘penpal’ to even be aware of her admirer.

A sharp script and an excellent cast, beats You Got Mail hands
down. As they say, they don’t make them like this anymore. The delivery
between Stewart and Sullavan (who had worked on several films together)
is pitch perfect. A Christmas treat.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.