A classic holiday romcom with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes is available to stream now. James Stewart is a Christmas legend thanks to his starring role in festive fixture It’s a Wonderful Life, but the iconic actor also appeared in another acclaimed seasonal film that sadly hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of fame and enduring appeal as the aforementioned Frank Capra movie.
The movie in question is 1940’s The Shop Around The Corner. Though it’s set against the backdrop of pre-WW2 Hungary, the film skips over any real-world politics to tell a charming, funny, and moving tale about the employees of a leathergoods store in Budapest. Stewart plays Alfred Kralik, the store’s top salesman that’s falling in love with his mysterious pen pal. He has no idea his dream woman is really the store’s latest addition, Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan), who he constantly squabbles with.
Also featuring a terrific supporting turn from the Wizard of Oz himself Frank Morgan, The Shop Around the Corner is just one of those classics that can’t fail to win you over, as made clear by its 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes — not to mention a near-perfect 91% audience score. As the critical consensus reads: “Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.”
The movie is most remembered today as the source material for 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, which updated the story for the internet age. But the original really deserves your attention, too. Thankfully, there are various ways to catch The Shop Around The Corner this yuletide. You can rent or buy it from Vudu or Amazon, but the easiest method is to stream it on HBO Max.