THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) B/W 99m dir: Ernst Lubitsch
w/James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, William Tracy, Inez Courtney, Charles Halton, Charles Smith
Lovely romantic comedy, set in Prague, about two shop assistants who fight in person but fall in love by mail. Stewart and Sullavan are charming together.
From The Movie Guide: "Delectable Hungarian pastry, served up by masters all around. This may be the best romantic comedy ever made. The great Ernst Lubitsch handles his 'small' theme brilliantly, bringing the lives of everyday people to the screen as he had never done before. ...
"While THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER lacks the immediate impact of the more spectacular TO BE OR NOT TO BE or HEAVEN CAN WAIT, this late entry from Lubitsch touches viewers deeply. The director renders a broad array of characters and emotions with a delicacy unusual even for him. Lubitsch said of the film, 'As for human comedy, I think I was never as good as in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. Never did I make a picture in which the atmosphere and the characters were truer than in this picture.'
"The film features a James Stewart many of us have forgotten once existed --- his touch is delicate and precise. He's perfectly matched by Sullavan, a forgotten genius who never gave a bad performance. And this is perhaps Morgan's finest portrayal. These three had also completed [Frank] Borzage's THE MORTAL STORM the same year. SHOP was later turned into a musical for Judy Garland and Van Johnson, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME --- one of Garland's most formulaic efforts."