The Shop Around the Corner

| 12+ 
Cautions: brief mild sensuality, some deceit, and brief emotional intensity

The Shop Around the Corner is a rare, funny, witty, endearing romantic comedy in which two co-workers, played by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, fall in love through anonymous letters and have to overcome personal friction to arrive at the humorous happy ending. The plot is subtle, with hints and ironies beyond the grasp of young children, making The Shop Around the Corner best suited for romance-, comedy- or classics-fans from older childhood and up.

1939 | Ernst Lubitsch | 129 min Watch Trailer

Brief Mild Sensuality
An engaged couple embrace and kiss.

There are very subtle hints that a man’s wife (who is never seen) is having an affair.   This is shown to be devastating.  A cocky young man tells the unfaithful wife over the phone that her husband is up in a balloon with two blondes (he is not).

Some Deceit
The main female character lies to a customer about an item’s popularity and intended purpose to get her to buy it. This is at the beginning of the film, and, because she later admits to having been a fool in other ways, is not necessarily positively portrayed.

The main character deceives the girl into thinking that the man to whom she has been writing is the opposite of what he truly is. This is, however, a temporary trick, intended to show the girl what her own feelings really are.

A young, foolish, but clever side character impersonates other people on the telephone, lying about other things as well.

The main character admits to having exaggerated in his correspondence with the girl, but this is negatively portrayed.

In two instances, positively-portrayed characters are either lying to someone or profiting by a technicality, and it is not made clear which it is.

Brief Emotional Intensity
Spoiler Warning - A man nearly commits suicide off screen, but is stopped just in time.

There are a number of quarrels between the two main characters, but they are resolved and repented of in the end.

Luck and knocking on wood are each brought up once, but without much significance.

The story centers on a romantic correspondence started by the girl advertising in the newspaper her wish to write letters to a young man on cultural subjects.

After learning that a trusted companion is a traitor and an adulterer, the main character shoves him and threatens him with a punch in the nose.

Characters are infrequently seen smoking cigars and cigarettes.  One of the shop’s products is a cigarette box which gets quite a bit of attention.  A character hypothesizes about the customer buying the cigarette box, saying that he would probably smoke twenty cigarettes a day.

“For heaven’s sake” is said once. “Shut up” is said once.

The word “psychologically” is used a number of times.

The shop features Christmas trees.

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