Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Film: The Shop Around the Corner (79/250) 
Critics Poll: 202nd 
Director's Poll: 322nd 
First Time/Rewatch: Rewatch

As if I needed an incentive to revisit this one! I happily watch this film every year around Christmastime. It has all the hallmarks of a great Ernst Lubitsch film: sparkling dialogue, wit, and a really well-rounded cast. I do have to point out that the female lead, Margaret Sullavan, is wholly unlikeable from beginning to end. BUT! The supporting cast, including Frank Morgan as the blustering shop owner Mr. Matuschek, Felix Bressart as the sweet Pirovitch, Joseph Schildkraut as the insufferably punchable Vadas, and William Tracy as the cheeky errand boy Pepi, all do an amazing job of creating this believable world inside this little shop in Budapest on Christmas. And Jimmy Stewart. Sweet, perfect Jimmy Stewart. He stars as Alfred Kralik, the store clerk who is fighting with his new coworker Klara (Sullavan), not realizing the two of them are falling in love through anonymous letters. They might not have the best chemistry, but he's so electric by himself that it doesn't even matter and I can't imagine anyone else in the role. I'm so pleased that it made Sight & Sound's top 250! If nothing else, it's a break from the Salos and the Texas Chainsaw Massacres on the list!

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