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The Shop Around The Corner Blu-ray Review

“The Shop Around The Corner” should be more well known than it is. Blu

In 1940’s “The Shop Around The Corner,” the Budapest set story revolves around a gift shop worker (Alfred) and a new employee (Klara) who don’t get along initially. Alfred responds to a newspaper ad to a woman seeking correspondence and becomes pen pals with her. Unbeknownst to them both, Alfred and Klara are the pen pals. Will their connection on the page translate into person if they ever meet up? Elsewhere in the story, there are plots (and misunderstandings) involving Alfred’s Boss which complicates matters for Alfred. 

Written by Samson Raphaelson, “The Shop Around The Corner” is simply director Ernst Lubitsch’s best film. He definitely has the Lubitsch touch here to put it gently. Despite the rather antiquated plot (hence the release of a more modern version with “You’ve Got Mail”), it doesn’t take the away from the fact that ‘Shop’ is a charming romantic comedy that also doubles as a great Christmas movie (and one that deserves far more airplay than it gets). In addition to having an intimate emphasis on life within the shop that is filled with memorable characters, the main characters have a great deal of depth to them. It’s not a mere boy meets girl story like so many romantic comedies that are released. The story takes the time to get to know them as people. The script also has the perspective in which the audience knows what’s going on but the characters don’t which can put the viewers on edge as they hope things work out for the best. It adds another layer to an already layered movie.

I mentioned the film is littered with memorable characters and that is largely due to the performances. Naturally the leads James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan are the heart and soul of the film, but Frank Morgan, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart and Joseph Schildkraut all deliver fine supporting roles too. It’s a good old fashioned ensemble piece to a degree.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W classic gets a glorious transfer that offers great picture clarity.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Viewers can expect a clean audio experience for this talky rom-com.

Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* 2 radio drama adaptations- a 1940 Screen Guild Players Radio Broadcast and a 1941 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast. I love when Warner Archives includes these. Such a great art medium.
* “A New Romance Of Celluloid: The Miracle Of Sound”- An 11 minute short film about cinema sound.

December 4, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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