Kenneth Turan's film pick of the week: Ernst Lubitsch's 'The Shop Around the Corner'
Billy Wilder liked to tell the story of walking back to his car with fellow director William Wyler after the funeral of their mentor, the great Ernst Lubitsch. "Finally I said, to break the silence, 'No more Lubitsch.' To which Wyler replied, 'Worse than that -- no more Lubitsch films.' "
Acting very much in that spirit, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is running an excellent Lubitsch retrospective at its Bing Theater called "Laughter In Paradise," and Saturday night features one of the best of the lot, 1940's sparkling "The Shop Around The Corner." There may not be a perfect romantic comedy, but this one certainly comes close.
Written by Samson Raphaelson and starring James Stewart and an incandescent Margaret Sullavan as fellow employees in a Budapest shop who have more in common than they imagine, this film, the inspiration for Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail," can be watched with complete delight no matter how many times you've seen it. With a delightful cast of supporting players, this is the indefinable "Lubitsch touch" at its best.
The screening will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
-- Kenneth Turan
Photo: Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart in "The Shop Around the Corner." Credit: LACMA