by Jim Ridley
The Shop Around the Corner
Where: The Belcourt
When: 7:05 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31
Romantic comedies that hinge upon some kind of secret-identity misunderstanding can get annoying fast — the movie would typically resolve in five minutes if two people actually had a conversation. Not Ernst Lubitsch’s near-perfect 1940 film about two clerks in a Budapest perfumerie who bicker and feud, unaware that they’re wooing each other secretly by letter. (If that sounds vaguely familiar, the movie’s been remade at least twice, most recently as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan vehicle You’ve Got Mail — but the wry, worldly romanticism and tender irony could only be Lubitsch’s.)
James Stewart, all gangly charm, and Margaret Sullavan, a radiant and underrated comedienne, play the unknowing lovebirds. Their boss, in an infidelity subplot that gives the film its lingering bittersweetness, is none other than Frank Morgan, the Wizard of Oz. Tonight's the last night for this at The Belcourt as part of its ongoing series of screen romances. Next week: one of our favorites, John Ford's The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.