The Shop Around the Corner
d. Ernst Lubitsch / USA / 1940 / 99 mins
Viewed on: Turner Classic Movies (UK)

The Shop Around the Corner really is a delightful gem of a film, even director Ernst Lubitsch claimed it as his favourite! I tend to run out of superlatives when films are this great, as though simply describing these tales in the manner of a 1940s film trailer just doesn’t equate with the sheer joy of watching them unfold before your eyes.

Which brings me to a question that’s been troubling me for years: how can I be left in gleeful rapture by classic Hollywood romantic comedies of the 1930s and ’40s, yet feel utterly repulsed by their modern counterparts (even – nay, especially – when the modern ones are simply half-hearted rehashes of former Hollywood glories)?

I mean, how did we even get from something as glorious (and timeless) as The Shop Around the Corner, to something as horrifically bland (and now horribly dated) as You’ve Got Mail (1998)?

Perhaps it has something to do with the stars?

Or their sparkling chemistry?

Or maybe it has something to do with the way that each film captures its respective (mis)communicative zeitgeist?

Then again, it could have something to do with the typically lazy unoriginality of most modern attempts at ‘re-visioning’ past masters, even if it is usually passed off as an homage.

Maybe I simply have a bit of an ‘I like your old stuff better than your new stuff’ attitude towards Hollywood. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Ahh, who cares?

The Shop Around the Corner = good / You’ve Got Mail = bad.

That’s all you need to know folks!

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  1. Rose Mary Palmer says:

    I have to agree. The older ones are better. Can’t they (hollywood) think of something new. Always trying to double dip on the oldies.

  2. […] Stevenson-helmed Orson Welles-led version of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. And then, in a post about Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner, I was rather disparaging about the very concept of a Hollywood remake, […]

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