Shop Around the Corner/ You Got Mail

It’s time for another classic/remake post. This time I’m comparing the ‘Shop Around the Corner’ released in 1940, and ‘You’ve Got Mail’ from 1998.

Let’s start with the classic shall we?

Shop Around the Corner is set in Budapest, Hungary where James Stewart plays Alfred Kralik, the second in command at a small shop. From the moment Alfred and Klara (Margaret Sullivan) meet the tension/attraction is there.

Alfred answers an advertisement in the newspaper to write to a young woman and begins to fall for her. When Alfred finds out Klara is the one he’s writing to, he has to decide whether to go with what his head or his heart.

The Shop Around the Corner: Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart
The Shop Around the Corner: Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart

I love the dialogue from the last scene.

Klara Novak (Miss Novak): All my knowledge came from books, and I’d just finished a novel about a glamorous French actress from the Comedie Francaise. That’s the theater in France. When she wanted to arouse a man’s interest, she treated him like a dog.

Alfred Kralik: Yes, well, you treated me like a dog.

Klara Novak (Miss Novak): Yes, but instead of licking my hand, you barked.

You've Got Mail
You’ve Got Mail

What will NY 152 say today, I wonder? I turn on my computer, I wait impatiently as it connects, I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words, You’ve Got Mail. I hear nothing, not even the sounds on the streets of New York, just the beats of my own heart, I have mail from you.

That has to be one of my favorite quotes from the Nora Ephron film, You Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It  marked the second time the actors had played love interests in a Ephron film. (The first was in Sleepless in Seattle.)

The film was based off of both ‘Shop Around the Corner’ and the play Parfumerie. The setting New York City, and instead of both main characters working in the same shop, they were competing bookshops.

So which one comes out on top? I think in this case I’m going have to go with the remake, You Got Mail. The chemistry, the location, the books make it a clear winner in my err… book!


1 Comment

  • Reply Paul S June 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    “You’ve Got Mail” is the I-ching. “You’ve Got Mail” is the sum of all wisdom. “You’ve Got Mail” has the answer to any question.
    What should I get at Starbucks? “Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino”
    What should I say when I propose to somebody? “How about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?”
    The answer to your problem is: “You are a lone reed standing tall, waving boldly in the genius sands of YGM”
    Have I seen this movie too many times? Perhaps…

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