Home » reviews & recommendations » classics » Shop Around the Corner: James Stewart v. Tom Hanks; Judy Garland v. Meg Ryan

Shop Around the Corner: James Stewart v. Tom Hanks; Judy Garland v. Meg Ryan

As my former roommates know, You’ve Got Mail is kind of a default movie for me. I was jazzed therefore to force the bear to watch the movie on which it’s based– The Shop Around the Corner (1940), starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. (It’s on our holiday list.)

The girl and boy are nemeses at work, but fall in love writing anonymous letters to each other.  One of them finds out, the other doesn’t know, hilarity ensues!  Based on the play by Miklos Laszlo (Hungarian!).  Megan M and Kelly J may especially like the original movie because of the setting in Budapest (which does not really affect anything in the story, at all).  Another musical version I’ve seen– In the Good Old Summertime— stars Judy Garland and is good (1949). 

My favorite is still probably Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  Have I lost my critical integrity?

Although I wouldn’t think of it as a holiday film, Shop Around the Corner was on our “top Christmas movies list” because it takes place during the Christmas season with the romantic finale on Christmas eve.

So this brings up a new subject– what makes something a Christmas movie?  My cousins Nate and Zach insist that Die Hard is one of the greatest holiday films of all time, and my mom disagrees (not on the grounds that it’s not the greatest, but because it can’t be truly classified as holiday).

What else falls into this gray area? You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle are both Nora Ephron/Hanks/Ryan romantic comedies that work around the calendar year, so Christmas is involved but not the centerpiece.  Holiday Inn also goes through a year’s worth of holidays, but it is considered a Christmas movie.  What are your favorites to watch with the fam during Christmas time?  Hands down, mine is White Christmas but maybe other families always watch a nice classic like Casablanca or Spies Like Us that are not actually holiday-related.  And perhaps these are more appropriate and heartwarming than Ernest Saves Christmas.  All are fine as long as people fall in love and hug!


5 thoughts on “Shop Around the Corner: James Stewart v. Tom Hanks; Judy Garland v. Meg Ryan

  1. Fools Rush In! This classic late 90s movie with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry falls in this “gray area.” Salma and Matthew (I forget their names in the film) fall in love a few days before Christmas. The proverbial Anglo-Latino cultural-clash-hilarity-ensuing makes a strong case to be considered being added on the netflix que this time of the year.

  2. Addendum!
    Mom points out: “And, of course, Zach and Ben were in the stage version of The Shop Around the Corner, She Loves Me, – which I think had NO Christmas references.”

    Bro and cuz, sorry for not making mention of that. Also sorry that my mom doesn’t know how to post a comment on the interweb!

    I was 14 hours away or I would’ve loved to see the stage musical– Zach was a zany, singing French waiter, which would be difficult to capture on film. And I’ll take Ben over Tom Hanks any day!

  3. After watching the trailer of “Nothing Like the Holidays,” I’m dying to see it.
    Also, I would like to add Elf to the list of Christmas movies. It’s amazing–we watched it the other night. Just enough of Will Ferrell to be funny but not too obnoxious. “You’re sitting on a throne of lies!”

  4. Pingback: Christmas Movie Battles: “Everything is Hunky Dunky” « tell me a story

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