Monday, July 13, 2015

Mini-Review - "The Shop Around The Corner" (1940)


I can see why this film would eventually become a great stage play - most of this takes place in two or three locations, there is a great emotional pull-line throughout the film that leads to some witty banter and has a colorful cast of characters that add to the feeling of community.

Part of what makes this film internationally famous is that it takes place in Budapest, yet everyone speaks perfect english. Even the main stars, James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan seem like they fit in America, yet no one bothers to hide behind any sort of nationality.

One of the important points I found in "The Shop Around The Corner" was the key differences between the way men and women think. There is a key scene where the employees of the shop discuss an item they have an abundance of - a cigarette box that is also a music box. The men think it is a terrible idea, since if you smoke a lot, you must listen to that song a lot, whether you want to or not. While the women believe that others will find the tune enjoyable, and it'll make smokers into music lovers, and music lovers into smokers, which is great for business.

This comes into play throughout the entire film, as we see James Stewart be practical and logical, while Margaret Sullivan is emotional, honest and true to herself. The two constantly butt heads over their different perspectives, but there is a genuine need to care for one another. They hate one another, but they make each other better people.

"The Shop Around The Corner" is an emotional little slice of life that perfectly captures the comradery between fellow employees and the family that builds between them, while also giving us a neat perspective on the differences between the sexes, which was unheard of in the 1940s.

Final Grade: B+

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