Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Shop Around the Corner

A top salesman (James Stewart) can't stand the upstart new hire (Margaret Sullivan) at his quaint little gift store in Budapest and pines for the embrace of his penpal, just as she despises her arrogant new colleague, the complete opposite of the proper romantic she's in touch with. Of course they are corresponding with each other. "The Shop Around the Corner" is a delightful adaptation by the incomparable Ernst Lubitsch of Miklos Laszlo's play which has been tinkered many times (most recently as "You've Got Mail"), but is done to a masterful and sublimely funny degree here, despite the fact you know how the story is going to end. Stewart turns in an unexpectedly melancholic, slightly angry performance as the bitter clerk and Sullivan is in fine form as his feisty rival/love interest. Frank Morgan as the store owner and Felix Bressart as another clerk offer very funny supporting performances.