Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lubitsch: “The Shop Around the Corner”

"The Shop Around the Corner" is perhaps the best American romantic movie of the 1940s, if not the 20th century. It was based on Miklos Laszlo's play "Perfume"; the screenplay was written by Samson Raphaelson and the un-credited Ben Hecht (co-writer of the classic comedy, "The Front Page"). The film is preserved in the U.S. Film Registry by the Library of Congress because of its artistic significance. In “The Shop Around the Corner,” Lubitsch takes us to a world that's an idealized Budapest, where two normal working class people are looking for romance. In addition to Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart, the cast includes Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz himself) as Mr. Matuschek, the pitch-perfect Josef Schildkraut (later Anne Frank’s dad) as the fop Vadas and a young William Tracy as Pepi the errand boy. This link below is to a site of a reconsideration of "The Shop Around the Corner" as a better Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie than "It's a Wonderful Life."

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