Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Shop Around The Corner

Trying to pick up The Shop Around The Corner
yesterday, I was informed by the clerk that it
had gone the DVD equivalent of "out of print."

This is quite surprising as its the perfect
Christmas movie for rough economic times.
For one thing it's the one holiday film which
is honest about the economics of Christmas.
The characters are living in a rough
environment, and they are depending on
good Christmas receipts to keep them all

Still, though seemingly sentimental in
spots, it's quite tough-minded.   The store
owner finding happiness on Christmas Eve
by befriending his poorest employee may be
a sentimental clichè, but comparing the encounter
to one between a rich man and a gold digger
is pure Lubitsch.

And no one from the Golden Era of Hollywood
moved the camera with greater ease and fluidity
than Lubitsch.  His camera and Jimmy Stewart's
performance function in perfect synchronicty with
each other.

Undergirding Stewart's fine and moving performance
is the fear voiced by Margaret Sullivan's Clara that
at bottom he is nothing but an insignificant clerk.
The look on his face after she calls hims such is
likely to haunt you for days, a perfect distillation
of the essence of film acting.

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