Classic Film Review -The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

SUMMARY

Alfred Kralik is the longest serving employee at Matuschek and Company in Budapest, Hungary. Personally taken under the wing of Mr. Matuschek, Kralik has worked his way up the ladder to become the store’s top sales clerk. He is joined by his four other fellow employees Vadas, Flora, Ilona, his good friend Pirovitch and the errand boy Pepi who have all formed a special camaraderie with each other. They aren’t just co-workers but a family of sorts.

But things begin to change and upset Kralik’s life of routine. First, Matuschek hires the beautiful but snippy young Klara Novak. Kralik and Klara do not get along. She constantly challenges his authority and he resents her rudeness to him. Then, Kralik’s formerly close relationship with his employer shows some fractures. He cannot fathom why Mr. Matuschek is suddenly treating him so coldly. The one bright spot in Kralik’s life is his growing closeness with his anonymous female pen pal. Though he has never met her, he begins to fall for her, recognizing her as a kindred spirit. Just when Kralik believes he is getting a raise, he is unexpectedly fired instead. On the same night, he goes to meet his pen pal and discovers Klara waiting in the same restaurant. Things look pretty bleak for him. But Christmas is a time when anything can happen.

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Book Review -Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart

BACKGROUND

Henry Fonda and James Stewart are acting legends from Hollywood’s golden age. Today both men are still highly respected for their body of work and for careers which they managed to sustain for decades. But unbeknownst to many, they also maintained a lifelong friendship beginning prior to their years on the screen which spanned the course of their lives. This book explores that friendship as well as their personal lives and individual careers.

Due to their difference in politics, Stewart was a Republican and Fonda a lifelong Democrat and their onscreen personas some might be surprised that they were able to form such a close and lasting relationship. But at heart they were very similar and those similarities greatly outweighed their differences. Continue reading “Book Review -Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart”

Inspirational Heroes -Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

SUMMARY

Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is politically unknown when the governor of his state appoints him as a new senator. The governor’s powerful political backer Mr. Taylor(Edward Arnold) demands he appoint someone more amenable to their graft scheme, but Governor Hopper defies him at the behest of his sons, who sing Jeff’s praises. It turns out Jeff Smith is beloved, thanks to his work with the Boy Rangers and well respected by those who know him.

Jeff is honored and then humbled when he learns of his appointment. And even more so when he discovers that he will be working with his state’s other senator, Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), an old and revered friend of his late father’s. Continue reading “Inspirational Heroes -Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

Reel Infatuation -Crushing on Elwood P Dowd of Harvey (1950)

 

I can’t remember the first time I watched the fantasy comedy film Harvey. I first began watching classic films in the days before Turner Classic Movies made them readily available and easier to access.

But somehow I stumbled across Harvey, this film about Elwood P. Dowd and his pooka best friend, a very tall white and invisible rabbit. I watched it many times during my childhood and since. It has never failed to lose its’ wonder or to make me laugh. Part of the reason for that is an affinity for Elwood P, as he calls himself.

Every time I view this film, I am struck by how much I admire and in some ways even wish to be like the easy-going Elwood played by James Stewart. Even though he is a chronic drinker and his sister and niece wish to commit him to a sanitarium thanks to the havoc his friendship with the invisible Harvey causes them, still he has so many exemplary character traits.

Continue reading “Reel Infatuation -Crushing on Elwood P Dowd of Harvey (1950)”