Believe it or not I started this review last December with the intent of publishing it before Christmas, but I ran out of time. You see because my posts must languish in the drafts for at least a few weeks before showing themselves to the world, and in this case Christmas came upon us too quickly to make that possible. So it languished for a year instead.
But now at last I'm taking it out and dusting it off, and I hope very much it will be worth the read. (Because if it isn't, it wouldn't have been worth the writing and then I would have wasted a good deal of my time. Which would be sad, ya know?)
Without further ado...
The Shop Around the Corner
I love this movie, friends. It's fun, happy, and touching...all rolled up into a warm Christmas-y feel-good bundle. And the setting couldn't be more deliciously cozy. (I mean, that adorable little shop! Me wants it.)
There are eight workers employed at Matuscheck and Company, and every morning they stand outside the shop waiting for their employer, Mr. Matuscheck, to come and unlock the front door so the business of the day can begin.
While waiting these eight employees indulge in friendly (and not so friendly) little chats; all about Ilona's new scarf, or Kralick's dinner last night with the boss, or Klara's yellow blouse with the light green dots (or was it a green blouse with light yellow dots?). Pepi, the errand boy, is sent off to fetch things for his fellow employees; and Mr. Vadas' jokes are received with the customary eye roll. (Everybody tolerates Mr. Vadas, but nobody really likes him...and with good reason. He's not a very likable fellow.)
But about the shop itself. It's small and has a very homey feel to it. With an office for the boss, a locker room for the employees to keep their coats and hats in, and a small spirally staircase (which proves to be an excellent escape route for Mr. Pirovitch whenever his honest opinion on a matter is called for). Then, too, there's the back store room, where Mr. Alfred Kralik first confides to Mr. Pirovitch that he's writing anonymous letters to a young lady.
I like that back store room. All the labeled boxes. And the step ladders to get up to the higher shelves. Seriously, people, I'd love to work in a shop like that.
Alfred Kralick (played by Jimmy Stewart) is the hero of the story. He's been working for Matuscheck and Co. for nine years and is currently holding the position of first salesman. He and Mr. Matuscheck have always had a good relationship, almost like a father and son, but when the story opens it's obvious that there is something bothering Mr. Matuscheck. He is now forever finding fault with Kralick, and constantly irritated by him, for no apparent reason. Kralick is at a loss to understand the change in him. (And if you've never seen the movie, you'll have to be at a loss, too, because I'm not going to tell you. You'll just have to watch it and find out for yourself! Heehee.)
Then there's Miss Novak. A new employee, she seems to have it in for Kralick from the start, making fun of him in the locker room and just generally picking fights with him.
Needless to say, they don't get along too well.
Which makes it all the more ironic when it turns out she's the very girl Kralick has been corresponding with (and, in fact, falling in love with through letters). Once Kralick realizes who Miss Novak is it's a lot of fun because she doesn't have a clue and it's so satisfactory to see him one step ahead of her. The scene where he sends her one of his anonymous letters and then shows up at her house just in time to be there when she reads it is hilarious. She actually shares part of the letter with him in order to prove to him how vastly different (and superior) her boyfriend is to him. (Oh! But it gives me a real feeling of satisfaction to see her so in the dark.)
Everything wraps up very nicely at the end, with a highly successful day of sales at the store on Christmas Eve...
|"We're going to make this the biggest day ever in the history of Matuscheck and Co."|
...followed by everyone rushing off to their prospective Christmas Eve festivities, amidst the glistening white of a beautiful Christmas snowfall. (And that last scene with Mr. Matuscheck and Rudy? Can all of you who've seen this movie please join me in a huge sigh of happiness? Because that scene is just too adorable.)
And the ending scene is pretty adorable, too. Not to mention hilarious. (Popkin indeed. Haha.)
Anyhow. All that to say. The Shop Around the Corner is a delightful movie, tinged with just the right amount of humor and pathos, and one that the whole family can enjoy. I highly recommend it. (Okay, so I hate writing reviews. What is one supposed to say in a review? You know?)
Have you seen this movie?
If so, what did you think of it?
If not, well then, my recommendation still stands. ;)