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Romantic comedy from legendary director Ernst Lubitsch, starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan as bickering co-workers who are (unbeknown to them) pen pals in love. Set in Budapest, Hungary, since it was based on the play Parfumerie by Hungarian author Miklós László.
Remade in 1948 as In The Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland, but set in The Gay Nineties. Remade again in 1998 as You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, with that newfangled technology like email and instant messaging.
This film features examples of:
- But He Sounds Handsome: Subverted. Kralik pretends that he met Miss Novak's "Dear Friend," and insults him. before The Reveal. She admits then she'd long hoped it would be him.
- Dramatic Irony: From the point Kralik knows who his "Dear Friend" is, and Miss Novak doesn't.
- Fake Nationality: The Hungarian characters are played by American, Austrian and German actors.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: Mrs. Matuschek.
- Hidden Depths
- Hot and Cold: Klara to Alfred. One of the most well known early examples of Tsundere in fiction (Type 2 to be exact), Lampshaded when she said she read a book that tells her that if you treat a man like a dog he'll be eating out of your hand but all he did was return the favor.
- Internal Reveal
- Interrupted Suicide: Mr. Matuschek with a gun (interrupted by Pepi) when he finds out his wife has been cheating on him with Mr. Vadas instead of Mr. Kralik (as he originally suspected); his attempt is, arguably, out of guilt of false accusation and firing of his best employee more than the infidelity itself.
- Last-Name Basis: The shop workers all address each other as "Mr. _____" or "Miss _____". Kralik does start privately calling Miss Novak "Klara" once he begins to care for her, though.
- Living with the Villain
- Mistaken for Cheating: Inverted; Mr. Matuschek knows that his wife is cheating with one of his employees and comes to the conclusion that it is Mr. Kralik. It's really Mr. Vadas.
- Romantic Comedy
- Stood Up: Alfred didn't intend to stand Klara up--but he loses his job. And then she's particularly cruel to him at the restaurant after he comes in and sits at her table. So he goes home without revealing himself. Klara takes being Stood Up very badly.
- The Thirties: Technically from 1940, but the feeling is much more Depression-era 30s than WWII era 40s.
- Translation Convention: They are Hungarian, after all.
- True Companions: Mr. Matuschek says that Kralik is like a son to him. Also, he takes the new delivery boy home for Christmas Eve dinner after discovering that both of them are spending the holiday alone.
- Two-Person Love Triangle