The Shop Around the Corner

Director:  Ernst Lubtsch

Writers:  Samson Raphaelson (screenplay), Miklós László (based on a play by) (as Nikolaus Laszlo) 

Stars:  Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan. Joseph Schildkraut

Type: Romance/Drama/Inspirational

Violence: One push..   Sex: Nope Drugs/Alcohol: Nope

Year:  1940

Notes:  Black and White  Made in 28 days with a budget less than $500K. In one of the remakes of this film, “You’ve Got Mail” Meg Ryan’s character owns a bookstore named The Shop Around The Corner.  Film is based on the 1937 play “Illatszertár” (in English, titled “Parfumerie”) by the Hungarian writer Miklós László.

Description:  A Rom/Com with some drama



In Budapest, Hungary, the Matuschek and Company store is owned by Mr. Hugo Matuschek and the bachelor Alfred Kralik is his best and most experienced salesman. When Klara Novak seeks a job position of saleswoman in the store, Matuschek hires her but Kralik and she do not get along. (From

Remember the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie, “You’ve Got Mail”? This is the original, from 1940. It is a time many of us cannot imagine. People made careers our of working retail in large stores. This is back when most women raised their children, and organized and maintained the home. The man could work retail or any number of jobs and support the household. World War Two came, thwe Korean War and then society changed oin a big way. Even up until the Carter Administration most women worked at home and the man could afford to feed and housed them. All of that changed and now it is nearly impossible for a family to survive on one income.

Anyway, James Stewart, one of my top five actors ever, has worked as a clerk in this store for nine years. However, he wants a raise because his pen pal girlfriend and he are going to meet and he expects to marry her. These are secret friends pen pals, so he has never seen her nor knows her name. They are to meet at a restaurant where she bring a book with a specific flower as a bookmark, an he would wear the same flower on his jacket.

Back in the store, a pretty woman comes in desperate for a job and Stewart’s character states there are no openings, but she tricks the owner in hiring her. Thus, they work together but squabble all the time. It appears neither can stand the other.

As in most Rom/Coms, predictability rules the day. They are the pen pals without knowing it,

I like this movie because it is a light shining on history and culture of that time period. It also demonstrates a theory I possess that people at work often have different personalities than in real life. I know for a fact that my “work personality” is substantial different than my real, natural personality. Since I spent my career being “The Boss”, whether it was in banking, Real Estate, Higher Education or that wacky church, all my jobs I had the power to fire and hire.

Of course, it is a love story too, I am a sucker for love stories. There is some drama added to the movie by the boss of the store who suspects  Stewart’s character cheating on his wife, but over all, it is very lovely and often humorous love story. And if I hadn’t mention before, I love love stories,

This film is considered by many to be one of the top 100 movies of all time. I suggest you check it out.