Best Movies by Farr
The Shop Around the Corner Poster
Released Runtime Category
1940 97 Comedy, Romance, The Essentials
Director Language
Ernst Lubitsch English
James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan

The Shop Around the Corner

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What's it About

When Klara Novak (Sullavan) uses her wily sales technique to impress Hugo (Morgan), a Budapest gift-store owner, she is hired to work alongside clerk Alfred Kralik (Stewart), but the two don't hit it off. No matter: Alfred is secretly hoping to meet a woman with whom he's had a promising written correspondence via the personals. Klara, meanwhile, begins to fall for an anonymous man she's been writing to as well. So it's a big surprise — to them, not to us — when they discover the true identities of their respective pen-pals.

Why we love it

They don't make romantic comedies like they used to, and no one made them quite like director Ernst Lubitsch, whose famed touch lights this wry, poignant, perennially charming film. Veteran players Stewart and Sullavan are a perfect match as comically antagonistic lonelyhearts, conveying their characters' vulnerabilities with a delicacy too often missing from the tepid Hanks-Ryan remake ("You've Got Mail"). Rich subplots involving the wonderful Frank Morgan and Joseph Schildkraut, who plays a scheming, boastful employee, let Lubitsch impart further nuance to this modest but wholly pleasing tale. A delight from start to finish, this is one "Shop" you'll want to dally in.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"