To finish off the Christmas season, we are revisiting one of the greatest holiday films of all time and my personal favorite, The Shop Around the Corner. This 1940 holiday classic has spawned at least two remakes and is one of the first films to employ the trope enemies to lovers.
The film takes place in Budapest around Christmas time at a shop called Matuschek and Company and centers around coworkers Alfred Kralik and Klara Novak — played respectively by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Both characters immediately dislike each other when Klara convinces the owner of Mauscheck and Company, Hugo Matuscheck, to hire her against the advice of Kralik. Unbeknownst to either of them, the two are secretly pen pals, as Kralik had responded to an ad he came across in the newspaper. Watching these two characters bicker while slowly watching them fall in love with each other through their letters is fantastic.
The acting in The Shop Around the Corner is top-notch, especially Stewart, who is able to transition from dramatic to slap stick humor quickly. Each supporting character also has a moment to shine — notably Mr. Matuschek played by Frank Morgan, who has a subplot that tugs on everyone’s heart strings. By the end of the film, you are not just rooting for Klara and Kralik to realize their feelings for each other, but also hoping for Mr. Matuschek to get a happy ending as well.
The Shop Around the Corner is currently available to stream on HBO Max, so gather the family and enjoy this timeless film.