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20 The Shop Around the Corner Trivia Questions & Answers

Shop Around the Corner, The
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There are 20 questions on this topic. Last updated Jan 28 2023.
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1 What was the subject of the film "The Shop Around the Corner"?
Answer: A shop and its employees

As the title suggests, the film "The Shop Around the Corner" told the story of a shop and its workers and the type of life they were leading. It was such a simple plot, yet it was told very well. As regards the two World Wars, the First World War was long over by the time this film was released. The film was released when the Second World War was still going on, but the film did not even make a casual mention of these two wars, since it was not a war film. The Great Depression occurred during the late 1920s and early 1930s and affected many parts of the world, but the film was not about the Great Depression either. The film was a Christmas movie and romantic comedy. Throughout the film, it was shown how the employees of the shop were busy in making preparations for Christmas and how everyone was leading their lives. It was a romantic comedy since it showed how the lead pair of the film fell in love as the story developed.
2 'The Shop Around the Corner' is not set in the English speaking world, but rather the story comes to us from a capital city in eastern Europe. In what city and country does the action in this lovely film take place?
Answer: Budapest, Hungary

'The Shop Around the Corner' was based on a 1937 play entitled 'Parfumerie' by Hungarian playwright Miklós László. All the events took place during the pre-World War II era in Hungary, during which time the economy was depressed.

Interesting fact: The 1998 movie 'You've Got Mail' was a remake of this film!
3 Where was the film "The Shop Around the Corner" set?
Answer: Budapest, Hungary

The film "The Shop Around the Corner" was set in Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary as well as its largest city. Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Budapest serves as Hungary's political, financial and industrial center. It is a beautiful city.

Budapest had considerable significance in the film "The Shop Around the Corner". The film was set in this city and the entire story of the film took place in Budapest. All the main characters of the story were living in Budapest. The shop Matuschek and Company, where all the main characters were working, was located in this city. The lead pair of the film, Alfred Kralik and Klara Novak, ended up working together in the same shop and dealt with each other on a regular basis despite disliking each other, and their friendship and romantic story was shown to have developed in Budapest. No where in the film was it shown that any of the characters left Budapest, even temporarily, for a vacation or professional reasons. Alfred and Klara remained in Budapest throughout the film and even at the end of the movie, after they guessed each other's identity and fell in love with each other, they didn't go abroad to get married, or for any other reasons. Thus, Budapest had a very significant role in this film, since it was the place where the entire story is set and takes place.
4 The events of the film revolve around a small gift shop and the employees within. Beautifully filmed, and, for the most part set within the confines of the shop, who artfully directed this romantic comedy classic?
Answer: Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch was a German-born Jewish film director who started his movie career in Germany, but moved to Hollywood in the early 1920s. He is considered to be one of the greats of the 'screwball', romantic comedy genre. Some of his other films include 'Ninotchka', 'To Be or Not to Be' and 'Heaven Can Wait'.

Of his films that I have seen, this one is my favorite.
5 Who played the role of Mr. Matuschek?
Answer: Frank Morgan

Frank Morgan played the role of Mr. Matuschek, who was the owner of a leather goods shop called Matuschek and Company. His full name was Hugo Matuschek. He was a decent, straight-forward and fair minded employer. In fact, Hugo Matuschek, being the owner of the shop, was not only responsible for paying his employees, but he also used to pay the bills and expenses of the shop. He also employed more workers in his shop than his rival. Mr. Matuschek was one of the main characters of the film. Frank Morgan was a well known character actor of his time. He was the younger brother of actor Ralph Morgan and acted in a number of films as a character actor. He began his film career during the silent film era. Some of his well known films were "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "The Affairs of Cellini" (1934), "Casanova Brown" (1944), "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940), "Broadway Serenade" (1939) and several other films.
6 What is the name of the gift shop at which all of the main characters of this film work?
Answer: Matuschek's

One of the real treats of this film is the fine performances of the supporting characters. In particular, a notable performance is submitted by Frank Morgan, who plays the owner of the shop, Mr. Matuschek. You may have heard of Frank Morgan before, perhaps, I don't know...from 'The Wizard of Oz'? He played the wizard himself!
7 Why was Alfred Kralik against the idea of selling the cigarette box which played "Ochi Chernye"?
Answer: He thought that no customer would be interested in buying such an item

Alfred Kralik was a sales person in Matuschek and Company in the film. The character was played by Jimmy Stewart. Alfred was one of the most trusted and well regarded employees of Mr. Matuschek who used to take his advice on many issues. When he wanted to sell the cigarette box, he asked Alfred for his opinion, and Alfred said that he thought it wasn't a good idea since he believed that no one would be interested in buying a cigarette box which played the song "Ochi Chernye" because a smoker would be more interested in using the box to keep cigarettes and would not really be interested in listening to the song on opening the box. Hence he opposed the idea of selling the cigarette box.

Jimmy Stewart was one of Hollywood's major stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood, which lasted from the 1930s to the 1960s. His full name was James Maitland Stewart and he began his film career in the 1930s and did about a hundred films and TV productions in his career. Some of his well known films other than "The Shop Around the Corner" are "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), "Made For Each Other" (1939), "Pot O' Gold", (1941), "You Can't Take It With You" (1938), "Its A Wonderful Life" (1946) and "Rear Window" (1954).
8 Among the employees at the gift shop, none works harder than Alfred Kralik, a young man who has worked himself up from clerk to lead salesman. What classic Hollywood icon plays the part of young Mr. Kralik?
Answer: Jimmy Stewart

One of the all-time greats, Jimmy Stewart could play it both serious and screwball. Within a two year period (1939-1940), Stewart made such classic films as 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington', 'Destry Rides Again', 'The Shop Around the Corner' and 'The Philadelphia Story'. He would then take leave from Hollywood after the following year to serve in World War II. He returned in 1946 to do a little film called 'It's a Wonderful Life', and continued to make fantastic films until the late 1970s (though he did return one more time to voice Wylie Burp in 1991's 'An American Tail: Fievel Goes West').
9 Why was Mr. Matuschek irritated with his employees when Christmas was around the corner?
Answer: He was having problems in his personal life

Mr. Matuschek wasn't in a good mood even though it was the festive season. He was getting irritated with some of his employees over minor issues and his employees knew that he was in a bad mood, but none of them knew the reason for this. In fact, Mr. Matuschek had been in a bad mood for many months and he used to snap at his employees at the slightest provocation or simply ignore them and remain quiet. He was particularly angry with Alfred and used to criticize him from time to time, and used to get angry if he asked him for some help or favor, even if the demand was a reasonable one. For example, he got angry with Alfred Kralik when he asked for leave early, since he had an appointment with his pen pal that evening. Mr. Matuschek was irritated because he was having problems in his personal life, but none of his employees were aware of this, although at one point in the story, Alfred and his friend Pirovitch did feel that the cause of his behavior and bad mood might be some personal problems he was experiencing, but they were not aware that this was actually the case, and Mr. Matuschek never confided in anyone. Alfred himself wasn't aware why Mr. Matuschek was angry with him, because as far as he knew, he had not done anything which he felt might have displeased Mr. Matuschek.
10 The 'leading lady' in this film, namely Miss Novak, is played by Margaret Sullavan. What is the first name of this delicate but occasionally cantankerous character?
Answer: Klara

Margaret Sullavan short but interesting Hollywood career. A rising star in the 1930s, she appeared in such films as 'Only Yesterday' and 'The Mortan Storm'. After failed marriages with Henry Fonda and director William Wyler, Sullavan was married to agent Leland Hayward and had several children. She essentially dropped out of Hollywood in the early 1940s. Here's a quote from the ill-fated actress: 'Perhaps I'll get used to this bizarre place called Hollywood, but I doubt it.' Sadly, she committed suicide in 1960 after a longtime battle with a mental disorder.
11 Why did Mr. Matuschek dismiss Alfred Kralik from his job?
Answer: He suspected that Alfred was having an affair with his wife

Mr. Matuschek dismissed Alfred because he suspected that Alfred was having an affair with his wife and felt very uncomfortable working with him and having to deal with him. Therefore he decided to dismiss him. Hence, when Alfred came to talk to him and find out why he had been unhappy with him, he didn't tell him why he was unhappy or why he was dismissing him but merely told him that it would be better if he sought employment elsewhere. He gave Alfred a letter of recommendation and one month's salary and dismissed him. Alfred was surprised because he didn't expect this. Nor was he aware of the real reason behind his dismissal. His colleagues were equally puzzled at Mr. Matuschek's behavior and decision. Everyone, including Alfred himself, felt terrible. Even Klara, with whom Alfred didn't get along too well, felt terrible since she felt that Alfred had been dismissed due to her actions.
12 Miss Novak enters the shop one day looking for a job, but Alfred Kralik and the store's owner are very hesitant to hire her. What item is she cleverly able to sell to a customer that lands her a job?
Answer: Cigarette case

Mr. Matuschek discusses the cigarette case with Alfred prior to Miss Novak's entry into the store. Despite Matuschek's pleasure with the case, Alfred convinces him that it will never sell. Miss Novak, desperate for a job, shows off her salesmanship by unloading the cigarette case on a customer. Matuschek hires her after this impressive display!
13 How did Mr. Matuschek find out the truth about his suspicions?
Answer: He hired the services of a private detective

Mr. Matuschek found out the truth by hiring the services of a private detective who investigated the matter and gave him a report on what he found out. On Christmas Eve, some of his employees who had stayed back to complete the task of decorating the shop were doing the work they had been assigned. While the work was being done, Mr. Matuschek received a telephone call. He picked up the phone and answered the call, and then put the receiver back. Then he gave his employees leave and said that the work could be finished the next morning. Accordingly, everyone left. Shortly after this, the private detective came and informed Mr. Matuschek that his suspicion that his wife was having an affair with one of his employees was correct and the person with whom she was having an affair with was Ferencz Vadas, another employee of his, and not Alfred Kralik, as he had suspected. Mr. Matuschek realized his mistake and felt so devastated that he was about to commit suicide, but was saved by his errands boy, Pepi Katona, after which he was admitted to a hospital. William Tracy played the role of Pepi Katona in the film.

William Tracy was a character actor in Hollywood who began his career in 1938 with the film "Brother Rat". Apart from "The Shop Around the Corner", he acted in some famous classics such as "Angels With Dirty Faces" (1938), "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (1941), "Tobacco Road" (1941) and "Cadet Girl" (1941), among others.
14 What winner of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar plays Ferencz Vadas, an obsequious fop who gets himself into trouble after its discovered that he has been carousing with the shop-owner's wife?
Answer: Joseph Schildkraut

Joseph Schildkraut is only one among several great supporting actors in this film. I especially enjoyed the performance of Groucho Marx-lookalike Felix Bressart, who plays Alfred Kralik's closest confidant, the charming Pirovitch.

By the way, Schildkraut won his Oscar for the 1937 film 'The Life of Emile Zola', where he played Lt. Dreyfus.
15 How did Alfred's and Klara's meeting with their pen pals go?
Answer: It proved to be very disappointing for both Alfred and Klara

The meeting which Alfred and Klara had with their pen pals made both of them feel very disappointed. Both of them met each other at a cafe in the evening. Alfred was disappointed because he was in a bad mood the evening he met Klara since he had just lost his job that morning, and therefore he was certainly in no mood to meet Klara, with whom he didn't get along well. He was, in fact disappointed that his mystery woman was Klara Novak. Also, he wasn't aware at that time that Klara was his pen pal. Klara was in a similar situation. She disliked Alfred and was waiting for her pen pal, as she was also unaware that Alfred was her pen pal. As a result, both of them ended up insulting each other and Klara requested Alfred to leave her alone, which he did.

The role of Klara Novak was played by Margaret Sullavan, who was a famous stage and film actress during the 1930s and 1940s. She acted in 22 films and TV productions between 1933 and 1954. Some of her well known films were "Next Time We Love" (1936), "The Shopworn Angel" (1938), "The Shop Around the Corner"(1940), and "The Mortal Storm" (1940), all with Jimmy Stewart, "Back Street"(1941), and "So Ends Our Night"(1941), amongst others.
16 Despite his work as an exemplary employee at the shop, Alfred Kralik is summarily dismissed by the owner of the shop. Why has this happened?
Answer: The owner believes that Kralik has been having an affair with his wife

Alfred Kralik loses his job at Matuschek's with no explanation. Mr. Matuschek simply hands him his last month's worth of salary, provides him a with a glowing recommendation letter and dismisses him from his job. It turns out that Matuschek's wife has been having an affair, and Matuschek initially believes it to be with Kralik. As mentioned above, however, it turns out that this is just not true!
17 How did Mr. Matuschek celebrate Christmas?
Answer: He went for dinner with Rudy, the new errands boy

By the time Christmas Eve came, Mr. Matuschek had recovered, and he went to his shop on this occasion. All his employees were very happy to see him in the shop after such a long time. On Christmas Eve, his shop had achieved record sales and his employees informed him about this achievement when he asked them. As a result, Mr. Matuschek's mood improved and he felt very happy. Therefore, he gave all his employees, including his new errands boy Rudy, their Christmas bonuses and sent them home early. However, he was feeling lonely, and because it was Christmas, he wanted some one to come with him and have dinner. He asked his employees, but all of them had their own programs and plans for Christmas. Finally, he asked Rudy whether he would like to come with him for a Christmas dinner, and Rudy agreed, and told Mr. Matuschek that he was living alone in Budapest. Hence, Mr. Matuschek celebrated Christmas by having dinner with Rudy.
18 An important side plot revolves around a love affair that Kralik is having via the mail. He has met a woman through the local want ads, and they have been exchanging letters ever since. Kralik is finally able to have a meeting with this mystery woman at a local cafe. What book is she supposed to have set on her table to identify her?
Answer: Anna Karenina

Released from his job on the very day he is set to meet his mystery date, Kralik ends up going to the cafe, despite his reservations. There he is surprised to discover that the woman he has been corresponding with is his co-worker Klara Novak! He does not reveal to her at this time who he is, choosing instead to prod and poke her. She acts rather defensively and describes Kralik very unflatteringly. Needless to say, he walks away without having let on that he is her secret love.
19 How did the film end?
Answer: Alfred and Klara were reunited

The film "The Shop Around the Corner" had a happy ending. After everyone left, Alfred and Klara were alone in the shop together. Both of them told each other about their plans to go out with their respective dates, and Klara told Alfred that she began to like Alfred when they met each other for the first time, and Alfred told her that he met her "mystery correspondent" and that he found out that he was bald, overweight and unemployed. However, it was just an act he put up, and finally, he revealed to Klara that he himself was her "mystery correspondent" and her "dear friend" and her pen pal. They kissed each other, and the film ended. Thus the film had a happy ending.

As regards Barbara Stanwyck, she and Jimmy Stewart never worked together in any films or TV shows, even though they were almost contemporaries of each other. Even in "The Shop Around The Corner", Barbara Stanwyck didn't play any role in the movie, and Jimmy Stewart's character in the film, Alfred Kralik, didn't have any childhood friend whom he married at the end of the film.

As regards Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, they worked with Jimmy Stewart, but neither of them acted with Margaret Sullavan. The film in which Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn appeared together was "The Philadelphia Story", released in the same year as "The Shop Around the Corner". However, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn didn't make any guest appearance or special appearance in "The Shop Around the Corner", nor did they appear in the film as the second lead pair, or in supporting roles since the film was a solo starrer project.
20 At the end of the film, Alfred Kralik decides to reveal to Miss Novak that it is he who has been secretly correspondong to her by mail. Before doing so, he decides to tell her as a ruse that he met the man with whom she has been sending love letters. What name does he give her?
Answer: Mathias Popkin

Kralik is amusingly coy with Klara, leading her to believe that he has met her secret love and describing him as someone very undesirable. Finally, he reveals that he is her secret love, and they live happily ever after!