The Shop Around the Corner, 1940

This movie was based on a play by Nikolaus Laszlo, so it seems the play got a second chance at an audience when it was rewritten by Samson Raphaelson (and Ben Hecht) as a screenplay. And the Lubitsch-directed film got a second chance when it was remade as Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail.

It’s a story of two pen pals who don’t realize they know each other. While their relationship develops in secret, they find each other unpleasant in person. When he sees that she’s his pen pal, he has to make her like him in person before he reveals his secret.

I loved Frank Morgan as Hugo Matuschek and James Stewart as Alfred Kralik. Both actors have been in so many films I’ve liked. Their performances here are wonderful as well.

Why was this movie set in Hungary? This was a tribute to director Ernst Lubitsch’s father’s Berlin shop where he worked as a child. He also said he’d known a shop like it in Budapest.

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