The Shop Around the Corner (1940) - full transcript

In Budapest, Hungary, the Matuschek and Company store is owned by Mr. Hugo Matuschek and the bachelor Alfred Kralik is his best and most experienced salesman. When Klara Novak seeks a job position of saleswoman in the store, Matuschek hires her but Kralik and she do not get along. Meanwhile the lonely and dedicated Kralik has an unknown pen pal that he intends to propose very soon; however, he is fired without explanation by Matuschek on the night that he is going to meet his secret love. He goes to the bar where they have scheduled their meeting with his colleague Pirovitch and he surprisingly finds that Klara is his correspondent; however, ashamed After being let go he does not disclose his identity to her. When Matuschek discovers that he had misjudged Kralik and committed a mistake, he hires him again for the position of manager. But Klara is still fascinated with her correspondent and does not pay much attention to Alfred. Alfred works out a plan to reveal himself to Klara's who he is attracted to now that he sees past her attitude.

- 'Morning, Mr. Pirovitch.
- Good morning.

- Always the first one.
- It's none of your business.

Let me tell you,
it doesn't hurt to be too early.

What for and why? Who sees you? Me.
And who sees me? You.

What does it get us?
Can we give each other a raise? No.

What are you doing with that bicycle?
You can't take it.

Better not let Mr. Matuschek see.

Why don't you tell him?
It's all right with me.

You know where I was last night
while you were home soaking your feet?

Running my legs off for Mrs. Matuschek.

"Pepi, go to the dressmaker. "
And when I come back:

"Pepi, will you please pick up a package
at the drugstore?"

- Good morning.
- Good morning, Miss Kaczek.

Good morning.

- How's your boy?
- Much better, thanks.

- We called Dr. Hegedus.
- He's a very expensive doctor.

What can you do?

I thought I'd cut down on my cigars
for a few weeks.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, llona.

- That's a new silver fox! It's stunning!
- Thank you.

- It must have been pretty expensive.
- It was.

I hesitated a long time before I bought it.

I said, "No, I can't afford it. "
Still, I couldn't take my eyes off it.

- I said, "No, I have no right to... "
- And then he said, "Go on and take it. "

- Trying to be clever.
- Shut up.

Good morning.

Pepi, go to the drugstore
and get me a bicarbonate of soda.

- What's the matter?
- Do you feel well?

It's all right.

- Good morning, good morning.
- Good morning.

- Want to hear a joke?
- No.

What's the matter, folks?

Not awake yet? Look at me.
I bet I haven't slept half as much as you.

Friends, Romans, countrymen,
to tell you the truth...

...I had quite a time last night.

We don't want to hear the poor girl's name.

- Kralik, how was the dinner last night?
- Oh, yes, that's right.

Kralik had dinner with the boss last night.
How was it? Tell us all about it.

- Are you a partner now, Mr. Kralik?
- Don't be funny.

How was it?

It was a very nice evening,
and I enjoyed myself.

- I bet the food was good.
- You can imagine.

Tell me, is it true Mrs. Matuschek
had her face lifted?

How could I know that?

- How old did she look to you last night?
- Well, 40.

She had her face lifted.

I think Mrs. Matuschek
is a very charming woman.

- Who said she isn't?
- Don't try to make something out of it.

I didn't say Mrs. Matuschek
is not charming.

But I said she is. What's wrong with that?

So the food was good?

Seven courses,
not including the hors d'oeuvres.

- Were you sitting next to her?
- I was. What do you think of that?

- I bet you were brilliant.
- No, I kept still and tried to learn.

- Your bicarbonate, Mr. Kralik.
- Thanks, Pepi.

- Bicarbonate?
- I had a little too much goose liver.

What's the matter? Wasn't it any good?

Now, look here, vadas.
Just a minute. Folks, come over.

Did you hear... I want you to hear this.

Did I make any derogatory remark
about the goose liver?

- No, not any!
- Not one word!

I merely said
that I had too much goose liver.

- "A little too much goose liver. "
- That's right.

"A little too much goose liver. "
Not one word more, and not one less.

- Good morning, Mr. Matuschek.
- Yes, good morning.


- Good morning.
- Good morning, Mr. Matuschek.

Who put this 32.50 suitcase in the window?

I did, Mr. Matuschek.

- I guess it's all right.
- Thank you, Mr. Matuschek.

- Yeah. Pepi.
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

Go across the street to the drugstore,
and get me some bicarbonate of soda.

Yes, sir.

Allow me, Mr. Matuschek. May I help?

There we are, Mr. Matuschek.

- Pirovitch. Want to hear something nice?
- Yes. What is it?

A letter from a girl.

"My heart was trembling as I walked
into the post office...

"... and there you were, lying in box 237.

"I took you out of your envelope
and read you...

"... read you right there...

"... oh, my dear friend. "

- What is all this?
- You see, I wanted to buy an encyclopedia.

Encyclopedia? What're you talking about?

You come to a time in your life
when you get tired of going to cafés... halls every night,
and you want to improve yourself.

You want to study something about art...

...literature and history,
how people live in Brazil.

Tell me what has all this to do
with the letter?

You know I can't afford
a new encyclopedia... I was looking through the ads
in the paper...

...and I got on the wrong page,
and I came across this ad, and...

Wait a minute, I have it right here.
Here, read that.

"Modern girl wishes to correspond
on cultural subjects...

"... anonymously with intelligent,
sympathetic, young man.

"Address: Dear Friend,
Post Office 15, Box 237."

I know those ads.
The papers are full of them.

- How long has this been going on?
- We've exchanged four letters.

- Four letters?
- And she's no ordinary girl.

Now listen to this:

"Are you tall? Are you short?

"Are your eyes blue? Are they brown?
Don't tell me.

"What does it matter
so long as our minds meet?"

- That's beautiful.
- It is, isn't it?

Now, wait a minute.

"We have enough troubles
in our daily lives.

"There are so many great
and beautiful things...

"... to discuss in this world of ours...

"... it would be wasting precious moments...

"... if we told each other the vulgar details...

"... of how we earn our daily bread,
so don't let's do it. "

Mr. Kralik.

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

I can buy two dozen of
these cigarette boxes at Miklos Brothers.

What do you think of it?
I think it's great. Well, open it.

No, Mr. Matuschek, it's not for us.

But you haven't listened to it.
It plays Ochi Tchornya.

Even if it played Beethoven's
Ninth Symphony, I'd still say no.

I just don't like the idea.

It's wonderful how you make up
your mind so quickly.

I've been in this business for 35 years.

It took me a whole hour to decide
that I like this box.

But, of course, you're a genius.
You know so much more than I.

- Mr. vadas.
- Coming, Mr. Matuschek.

- Miss Novotni.
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek?

Look here, what do you think of this?

I want your honest opinion.
Don't let me influence you.

All I want is your honest opinion.

Well, Miss Novotni?

I think people who smoke cigarettes...

...and love to hear Ochi Tchornya
will like it.

I'd even go further.

I think it'll make music lovers
out of smokers...

...and smokers out of music lovers.
It's sensational!

Yes, well.
Mr. Kralik, have you thought it over?

Yes. I still think it's inadvisable.

Well, give me one reason.

Let's say that a man smokes
20 cigarettes a day.

That means that 20 times a day
he opens this box...

...and 20 times a day
he has to listen to Ochi Tchornya.

It's a perfectly terrible idea.

It's imitation leather, the glue's no good... two weeks it will fall apart,
and all you'll have is Ochi Tchornya.

You don't have to tell me
that it's imitation leather. I know that.

You sell things and let me do the buying.

- Excuse me, Mr. Matuschek.
- Yes?

Miklos Brothers is calling
about the cigarette box.

Miklos, yes.

Yes, Mr. Miklos.

Can I call you back in about five minutes?

I'd like a little more time to think about it.

No, no, it's not the price.

It's just that I'm not quite sure
about the whole idea.


Yes, Mr. Miklos.


You can't expect me
to make up my mind in five minutes!

If that's the case, then I'll have to say no.

I'm sorry.

- Good morning, madam.
- Good morning.

- A lovely bag, don't you think?
- Yes, very.

It's an imported model.

We have it in pigskin,
several different colors...

...and with or without fitted accessories.

- I really didn't come in to buy a bag.
- I beg your pardon. What can I show you?

To tell you the truth,
I really didn't come in to buy anything.

That's perfectly all right.

If you wish to look around,
make yourself at home.

Yes, thank you.

I wonder if I could see Mr. Matuschek.

Unfortunately, Mr. Matuschek is quite busy
at the moment.

- I could call him if you wanted.
- I'd appreciate it. Thank you.

If you tell me your wishes,
it's possible I could take care of them.

I noticed in your shop window
that you're having a summer sale.

Yes, everything in the shop
is marked down 25 percent...

...some articles even more.
Take for instance this compact.

Yesterday you couldn't get it
for a penny less than 3.90. Now it's 2.25.

- Yes, that's a wonderful bargain.
- Everything in the shop is a bargain today.

Yes, I imagine you'll be doing big business.

I have no doubt of it.
You were very wise to come early.

It'll be such a rush,
we won't be able to help the customers.

- Maybe you should take on extra help.
- We probably will.

Maybe you could use me.
I'm looking for a job.

That wasn't very nice,
letting me go through the whole routine.

I'm terribly sorry. I didn't mean to.
Could you help me get a job here?

I'd like to, but there's no opening.

But you just told me you'd need some
extra people because of the rush.

Look around for yourself.

You can see
what kind of business we're doing.

I beg your pardon.

Yes, madam?

How much is that belt in the window,
the one that says 2.95?

- 2.95.
- Oh, no.

- May I tell you my qualifications?
- Lf I could do anything for you, I'd do it.

I'm not inexperienced.

I know the situation, and there's no chance.

I worked for two years
at Blasek and Company...

...and 10 months at Latzki Brothers.

Even if you'd worked at Mintz and Kramer...

I did! I took care of the finest clientele.

We don't deal with that class here.
We have middle-class trade.

What trade do you think they have?

They'd take me back now.

- Why don't you go back?
- That's another story.

If it was up to me, I'd put you to work.
But I'm not the boss.

- Then why don't you let me see him?
- He's in sort of a bad mood today.

I'll take a chance.
Maybe I can cheer him up.

Young lady, I've been here for nine years,
and I know Mr. Matuschek inside out.

I can predict his every reaction.

I could tell you word for word
exactly what he'd say.

Mr. Kralik, I beg your pardon.

Just one moment, please.

It's all right.

So, you know every reaction of mine?

You know me inside out?

You know what I think,
even before I thought of it.

You're not only a genius,
you're a mind reader.

- Mr. Matuschek...
- Never mind.

Good morning, madam.
I am Mr. Matuschek.

- Good morning, Mr. Matuschek.
- Here, please, sit down.

I don't know what the difficulty is...

...but I can assure you,
that the word "impossible"... not in the vocabulary
of Matuschek and Company.

- I am so happy to hear you say that.
- I mean it.

- Mr. Matuschek.
- Yes, madam?

I was at Blasek and Company...

Oh, madam. I'm sure you'll find
much nicer things in my shop.

No, I mean, I worked there.
I'm looking for a job.

No, no, that's impossible.
It's out of the question.

- But...
- I have no time. I'm very busy.

I'm very sorry.
I'm afraid you're just wasting your time.

But I've got to have a job.

- Mr. Kralik.
- Just a moment, Mr. Matuschek.

- Have you tried Baum's Department Store?
- Every entrance.

I don't know what to tell you.
Maybe after inventory.

- When will that be?
- In a week or so.

- Kralik!
- Just a minute, Mr. Matuschek.

Please, may I leave my address?

If we need anybody, you'll be the first.

My name is Klara Novak, Duna Street, 42.

And if you need me in a hurry,
you can phone 246-422.

It's the grocery store downstairs.

Ask for Johanna,
and tell her you have a message for Klara.

"Business message for Klara. "
Yes, I have that.

- Yes, Mr. Matuschek?
- Close the door.

Why did you put me in that situation
in front of the whole shop?

I'm very sorry, sir, but it was not my fault.

- Whose fault was it? Mine?
- Yes.

What's the matter with you, Kralik?
You're my oldest employee.

I do everything I can
to show my appreciation.

I ask you to my house.

- I'm very grateful, sir.
- You have a funny way of showing it.

You know how much
I value your judgment...

...and on every occasion you contradict me.

Whatever I say, you say, "no. "

From now on, I say, "yes. "
Yes, Mr. Matuschek. Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

Certainly, Mr. Matuschek.
Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

- That was a nice party last night.
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

- Yes, I had a lot of fun, didn't you?
- Yes.

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself so much.

That little poem that you wrote
in Mrs. Matuschek's guest book...

...did you make that up yourself?

It's sort of half and half.

- How do you mean?
- Half Shakespeare and half me.

I just changed the lines around
to suit the occasion.

I made that last line rhyme
with Matuschek, that's all.

- Mrs. Matuschek liked it very much.
- Thank you.

You made a fine impression on her.

Mrs. Matuschek thinks a lot of you.

And you know,
I think a lot of Mrs. Matuschek.

- Mr. Matuschek?
- Yes?

I've found a customer for the cigarette box.
What price shall I quote?

Well, let me see.

It costs us 2.85,
and I think we get five percent...

Let me take care of this, Mr. Matuschek.

Look, there's no use waiting now.
Believe me.

If there's an opening, you'll be the first.

Just a moment.
Tell me, would you buy a box like this?

Mr. Matuschek,
I couldn't buy anything at the moment.

No, I want your opinion.
Your honest opinion.

Now, don't let me influence you.
I just want your opinion.

Do you like this box?

Yes, I do. I think it's lovely.

Yes. Why?


I think it's romantic.

What's romantic about it?

Well, cigarettes and music, I don't know.

It makes me think of moonlight and...

...cigarettes and music.

- There's the woman's point of view.
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

- Mr. Matuschek.
- Yes, Miss...


- How much are you selling it for?
- Let me see. 4.25.


Yes, 4.25.

That's a bargain! That's a real bargain!

Good morning, madam.
It's a lovely box, isn't it?

Oh, yes. It's a candy box, isn't it?

Yes, madam, a candy box,
and I should say, a very unusual one.

May I open it for you?

Yes, madam. That's Ochi Tchornya.
It's a very popular classic.

No, that would never do.
Where do people get ideas like that?

Imagine, every time you take
a piece of candy... have to listen to that song.
I couldn't buy a thing like that. Too silly.

I know just what you mean, madam.

Yet some customers like it
for the very thing you object to.

We've sold quite a few.

- Really?
- Yes, madam.

There's no denying that we all have
a weakness for candy.

I don't mean to say anything
against candy.

No, I only mean that sometimes
we are inclined to overdo it a little.

I suppose so.

Madam, have you any idea
how many pieces of candy you eat a day?

No, I never gave it a thought.

We pick up a piece of candy

...and then we take another piece.

Before we know it,
we've gained a few pounds.

That's when our troubles begin.
Massages, electric cabinets.

I know it.

Now, this little box makes you

That's what we designed it for.

Every time you open it,
the little tinkling song is a message to you.

"Too much candy, now be careful. "

How much is it?

It's 5.50, reduced from 6.95.
It's a real bargain.

- I'll take it.
- Thank you, madam.

What do you say now?

I think people who like to smoke candy
and listen to cigarettes will love it.

Don't let me influence you.

I want your opinion, your honest opinion,
that's all I want.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, sir.

- 'Morning.
- Good morning, Kralik.

I've got a big dinner date tonight.

- With the boss?
- No, he never invites me anymore.

How do you figure him out, anyway?

I give up. It's certainly very difficult
to get along with him these days.

He never talks to me anymore.

I hope he's feeling more cheerful today.

He better,
because I'm going to ask him for a raise.

A raise?

Do you mind
if I ask you a personal question?

- No, go ahead.
- It's confidential.

Yes, sure.

Suppose that a fellow like me
wants to get married.

That's wonderful! That's the best thing
that could happen. Who's the girl?

Wait a minute.
What did I say? I said, "suppose. "

I said, "a fellow like me. " I didn't say me.

How much does it cost you to live,
you and Mrs. Pirovitch?

- Leaving out the children.
- Why fool yourself?

Well, let's say temporarily.
How much does it cost?

- It can be done.
- Yeah?

Yes, and very nicely.
Naturally, you can't be extravagant.

Suppose a fellow gets
an apartment with three rooms.

Dining room, bedroom, living room.

What do you need three rooms for?
You live in the bedroom.

- Where do you eat?
- In the kitchen. You get a nice big kitchen.

Where do you entertain?

What are you, an ambassador?
Who do you want to entertain?

If someone is really your friend,
he comes after dinner.

Oh, no.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, Miss Novak.

- How's your wife, Mr. Pirovitch?
- Oh, my goodness!

I forgot to call Dr. Hegedus.

- Something serious with your wife?
- No, she couldn't be better.

- Why do you want to call him?
- Lf I don't, he'll come.

Excuse me, I'd better telephone him.
I hope it isn't too late.

Miss Novak?

Yes, Mr. Kralik?

I noticed that you wore a yellow blouse
with light-green dots yesterday.

No, Mr. Kralik. As usual, you're mistaken.
It was green with light-yellow dots.

Everybody else thought
it was very becoming.

I don't remember remarking
about your neckties.

If you think I couldn't say anything
about your neckties...

...just ask Mr. vadas.
My blouse is none of your business.

I'm sorry. Mr. Matuschek seems
to think it is my business.

Yes, that's right. I'm working under you.

I'll call you every morning
and describe what I'm going to wear.

Before I select my next wardrobe,
my dressmaker will give you samples.

- Imagine you dictating what I should wear.
- I don't care what you wear.

For a circus pony, it's all right.

I have my own troubles
without your blouse...

...between Matuschek and me.

I sold as much yesterday as anybody else.

For a rainy Monday three weeks
before Christmas, 95.50 isn't bad.

- Did you tell Mr. Matuschek that?
- Yes.

And what did he say?

"Not to come in that blouse. "

- Tell him I won't.
- I will!

Good morning.

I caught him in time. Saves me five pengo,
and that counts when you're married.

- Is this tie all right to wear to work?
- Quite all right.

Tell me, who is the girl?

Well, you know that girl
I was corresponding with?

- Yes, about the cultural subjects.
- Yeah.

Well, after a while,
we got on the subject of love...

...naturally on a very cultural level.

What else can you do in a letter?

She is the most wonderful girl
in the world.

Is she pretty?

She has such ideals
and such a viewpoint on things...

...that she's so far above the girls
you meet today, there's no comparison.

- So she is not so very pretty?
- Don't say that.

I'm sorry.
The main thing is that you like her.

- Yeah, I hope I will.
- What do you mean?

You love a girl,
and you don't know if you like her?

Well, that's just the question.
I haven't met her yet.

- What? You haven't met her yet?
- No.

I keep postponing it and postponing it.

I'm scared.

This girl thinks I'm the most
wonderful person in the world.

And after all, there is a chance
she might be disappointed.

Yes, there is a chance.

- On the other hand...
- You might be disappointed, too.

And I don't dare think about it.

Pirovitch, did you ever get a bonus?

Yes, once.

Yeah, the boss hands you the envelope.

You wonder how much is in it,
and you don't want to open it.

As long as the envelope's closed,
you're a millionaire.

You keep postponing that moment and... can't postpone it forever.

I'm meeting her tonight, 8:30 in a café.

- A red carnation?
- Yeah.


She's using one for a bookmark
in a copy of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

I'm wearing one in my lapel.

I haven't slept for days.

I'm sure she'll be beautiful.

Not too beautiful.
What chance would a fellow like me...

- What do you want, a homely girl?
- No.

You knock on wood for me.

Just a lovely, average girl.

That's all I want.

Thank you, my good man.

'Morning, everybody.

Here, keep the change.
Send your boy through college.

Thank you, sir.

I see by the expression
on your underpaid faces... wonder where I get money.

No, Mr. vadas, I don't wonder.

- What do you mean?
- I mean, I don't wonder.

Good morning, Mr. Matuschek.

This window looks terrible.

There isn't a shop on the street
that doesn't look better.

It's a wonder we get any customers.

We'll stay tonight after closing hours
and redecorate it.

- I'll have to get out of it some way.
- Klara, you haven't got a chance.

I have an engagement tonight at 8:30.
I have to go home first. I have to change.

Ilona, did you notice the blouse
I wore yesterday, the green one?

With the light yellow dots?
I thought it was simply stunning.

I'm so glad.
I'm planning to wear it tonight.

Hello? Yeah, hello, darling.

Well, you were sleeping,
and I didn't want to disturb you.

You came home late last night.

I thought perhaps
you'd like to sleep a little longer.

No, I'm not angry.
Did you have a good time?

That's all that matters, isn't it?


1,000 pengo?

But, Emma, I don't understand it.
Only last Monday I gave you...

No, I'm not complaining.
It's quite a bit of money.

Yeah, all right.
I'll send it over as soon as possible.

Yeah, goodbye.

Come in.

- What is it?
- I'd like to talk to you for a moment.

- Is it important?
- It's important to me.

Is it important
to Matuschek and Company?

Not exactly, sir.

Well, then, I'm sorry. I'm busy.
You'll have to see me later.

- Pardon me, sir.
- What is it now?

Sir, for several days your attitude
toward me seems to have changed.

- Has it?
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek, it has.

Really, I'm completely at a loss
to understand it.

After all, I do my work.

And you get paid for it?

Yes, sir.

- Every month?
- Yes, sir.

Yes, everything seems to be all right then,
doesn't it?

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

Did you see him?

I'm not going
to stand for this much longer.

What does that man want of me?
Why does he always pick on me?

- You are his oldest employee.
- That's a fine reason.

He picks on me, too.
The other day he called me an idiot.

What could I do?
I said, "Yes, Mr. Matuschek, I'm an idiot. "

I'm no fool.

Listen, maybe he has business worries.

Or maybe he has some trouble
with his wife.

Is that true, Pirovitch?
Is he having trouble with his wife?

I don't know, it's none of my business.

I'm talking to Kralik. What do you want?
I don't know anything. Leave me alone.

Kralik, don't be impulsive,
not at a time like this.

Not when millions of people
are out of work.

- I can get a job anywhere.
- Can you? Let's be honest.

I'll take a chance. I'm no coward, you know.
I'm not afraid.

- I am. I have a family.
- Well, I haven't.

Think it over.

Those were nice letters, weren't they?

It's already been paid for.
Leave it downstairs at the desk.

Mr. Kralik, do you think I'll have
to work tonight? After all, I'm a child.

- No, you don't have to stay.
- Do you mean it?

- I'll straighten it out.
- Thanks, Mr. Kralik!

- May I help you?
- No, thank you.

I put all the imported bags over there
on the shelf. Is that how you wanted it?

I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me
if there's anything wrong.

Since when have you become interested
in my opinions?

I want to please you, Mr. Kralik.
I'm working under you.

- You don't have to keep harping on that.
- No, I didn't mean it that way at all.

Regardless of what I think of you...

...I believe that anybody
who works with you...

...and doesn't get a great deal out of it,
is just plain dumb.

Just what do you mean?
What do you think of me personally?

I mean, since you ask... matter what anybody else says,
I think you're a gentleman.

I try to be.

You have no idea
what that means to a working girl.

What a girl goes through in some shops.

Take for instance
when I was with Foeldes Brothers & Sons.

The sons were all right,
but the brothers, Mr. Kralik...

That's why I like it here so much.

When you say, "Miss Novak, let's go
in the back to put bags on the shelf"... really want
to put some bags on the shelf.

And that's my idea of gentleman.

I just don't believe
in mixing bags with pleasure.

Mr. Kralik.

- Yes, Miss Novak?
- About that blouse...

- I'm sorry, but I had to do that.
- I want to thank you. I'm glad you did it.

After thinking it all over, you're so right.

- That blouse was awful.
- Oh, no, not awful.

It was. I wouldn't admit it at the time,
but what woman would?

We hate to admit we are wrong.
That's why we are so feminine.

This is the first time
you've shown a little sense.

- Quite a change in you, Miss Novak.
- I know it, Mr. Kralik.

If you keep this up,
we'll get along much better.

- Thank you, Mr. Kralik.
- That's quite all right, Miss Novak.

I was planning to wear
that awful blouse tonight.

- I have a date with...
- Tonight?

Didn't you hear what Mr. Matuschek said?

We have to stay
and decorate the windows.

- I almost forgot.
- Yes.

Would it be possible,
do you think you could spare me tonight?

And then maybe Mr. Matuschek
would let me off.

So that's why I'm a gentleman.
That's why you've learned from me now?

- I don't understand.
- You want the night off?

- I have to, Mr. Kralik.
- You're out of luck.

That was such an obvious trick.
I almost fell for it, too.

I have to get off tonight.
It's terribly important.

For the last six months,
you've just antagonized me and...

You haven't been very nice to me either.

Whatever I do, it's wrong.

If I wrap a package, it's not right.

If I make a suggestion,
and some of them are very good...

- Here.
... you don't listen.

Everything has to be done exactly
your way, and then you don't like it.

When I first came into this shop,
I was full of life and enthusiasm...

...and now I'm nothing.
You've taken my personality away.

You're a dictator, that's what you are.

Mr. Kralik, any day now
I may be in a position...

...where I don't have to work anymore.
Then I'll really tell you what I think.

As for that blouse, I think it's beautiful,
and I'm going to wear it tonight.

Mr. Kralik, I don't like you.

Mr. Matuschek,
may I speak to you for a moment?

What is it?

Do you think you could spare me tonight?

Let me see, we need three people,
to dress the "A" window.

- Mr. Kralik?
- Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

Can you get along
without Miss Novak tonight?

Mr. Matuschek,
I'd like to talk to you for a moment.

- You want to go, too?
- Yes, I'd appreciate it very much...

What is this? Does everybody want
to leave? Is this the interest you show?

- Once a year, I ask you to stay.
- I'm sorry, if I'd only known yesterday.

You want a special invitation. Next time,
I'll send you an engraved announcement.

I have talked everything over
with Mr. Kralik. I know his ideas.

Miss Novotni and I can manage
the novelty window by ourselves.

Did I ask you for your advice?

What do you mean you talked this over?
Who's shop is this?

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

So you want the evening off, Mr. Kralik?

That's all right. I think we can manage.

This is the first time in years
I have asked a favor.

I gave you the evening.
What more do you want?

- Do you want a brass band?
- You're being unjust.

I'm being unjust?

Once a year,
I ask six ladies and gentlemen...

...six, mind you, when next door,
a shop twice as big as mine...

...employs only four.

Good morning, madam.
Is there something I can show you?

Have you any traveling bags for men
with a zipper?

We have all types
of traveling bags for men with zippers.

Thank you very much. I'm doing some
window-shopping for my husband.

- He'll be here tomorrow.
- I'll be delighted to serve him, madam.

- Thank you. Good morning.
- Good morning, madam.

Six people who stand around here
for days telling jokes...

...and talking about the movies,
while I pay the gas and the rent...

...and the light, and the taxes,
and their salaries.

Good morning, Matuschek and Company.


Just a moment.

Mr. Pirovitch.

Yes? Mama, I called you.

We are decorating the window
after closing hours... we won't have to have dinner
with the Laszlos. Isn't that wonderful?

Yes, I knew you'd be glad.
Goodbye, Mama.

Six people I ask, one day a year,
to be so kind... to redecorate a window.

And you have the nerve, Mr. Kralik...

...the oldest employee in the place,
who should set an example.

You spoke like this to me yesterday.
What did I do then?

The whole week you've treated me
like this, and without any reason.

Without any reason?

Maybe I have more reason than you think.

It's obvious
that you're not satisfied with me.

You can draw your own conclusions.

In that case,
I think there's just one thing to do.

Perhaps we'd better call it a day.

Matuschek and Company.
Yes, Mrs. Matuschek, he's here.

Mrs. Matuschek on the telephone.

Hello, Emma.

No, I'm not coming home tonight.

All right.

All right, I'll send it right over.

Put 1,000 pengo in an envelope
and have Pepi take it to Mrs. Matuschek.

Pepi is out. He has quite a few deliveries,
and he won't be back until after lunch.

Mr. Kralik and I always have lunch
at Farago's.

It's only a few blocks from your home.
We can deliver it. Right, Mr. Kralik?


No, thank you, Mr. Kralik.

Mr. vadas.

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

I don't like to break in on your lunch hour.

It's perfectly all right. It'll be a pleasure.

Thank you, Mr. vadas.

Mr. Kralik...

...will you come to my office.
I'd like to talk to you.

Yes, sir.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Kralik...

...I've been thinking all day
about what you said this morning.

I'm sorry, Mr. Matuschek.
I'm afraid I lost my temper.

No, I think you were right.

I really believe that you'd be happier
somewhere else.

Do you think so, sir?

Yes, I'm sure of it.

I guess there's nothing more to be said.

No. Let me see.

You're naturally entitled to a month's pay.

That's 200 pengo.

- That's right, isn't it?
- Yes, sir.

Will you, please, sign this receipt.

And here's a letter...

...which certainly won't handicap you
in seeking employment.

Thank you, sir.

I guess we might as well say goodbye.

- Goodbye, Mr. Matuschek.
- Goodbye.


What happened?

"To whom it may concern:

"I wish to state that Mr. Alfred Kralik
leaves my employ of his own accord.

"Mr. Kralik started with Matuschek and
Company nine years ago as an apprentice.

"With diligence,
he advanced to the position of clerk.

"For the last five years,
he has been our first salesman.

"We have found him reliable,
efficient, resourceful.

"We can recommend him without reserve.

"He carries with him our best wishes
for his success in his future career.

"Hugo Matuschek. "

Kralik, I still can't believe it.
There's no reason.

The boss doesn't have to give you a reason.

That's one of the wonderful things
about being boss.

Well, I wanted to get off tonight.

I got off all right.

- Kralik, you're not going?
- No, I couldn't face her tonight.

This morning I had a position, a future.

I'm afraid I sort of exaggerated
in my letters.

I showed off a little, and she's expecting
to meet a pretty important man.

I'm in no mood to act important tonight.

Well, I...

My dear Kralik, I think I speak for all of us,
when I say this is a shock and a surprise.

We all feel we are losing
a splendid fellow worker...

...and we certainly wish you the luck
which you so rightfully deserve.

Now, Kralik,
we are going to see each other soon.

If you have an evening with nothing to do,
you know where we live.

- All right, Pirovitch. Goodbye.
- Goodbye, Kralik.

Ilona, I'm going to miss you.

I don't understand.

It's nothing unusual. It happens every day.
Somebody gets fired and...

- Goodbye, llona.
- Goodbye, Mr. Kralik.


Flora, you'll notice
when you look through my sales book...

...I cancelled slip number five,
but I deducted it from the total.


If I had anything to do with you
not getting the evening off, I'm sorry.

It's my fault that you got into this trouble.
Believe me, I'm sorry, too.

That's all right.

- It's true we didn't get along.
- No.

I guess we fought a lot,
but losing a job at a time like this... something you don't wish...
- On your worst enemy.

- I didn't say that, Mr. Kralik.
- Let's not quarrel anymore.

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye, Mr. Kralik.



Oh, you have.

How soon can you come over here?

Yes, well, come right away. I'll... Right.

I'll be waiting here.

You may all go home.
We'll finish the windows tomorrow.

- Excuse me. Good night.
- Good night.

Hello. Is this Mrs. Hojas?

This is Mr. Pirovitch, Mr. Kralik's friend.

Yes, I know he isn't there yet.
Will you, please, tell him when he comes...

...that we are not working tonight,
and I am coming over.

Yes. Thank you.

I hope you don't mind, Mr. Matuschek.

He probably feels pretty low tonight,
and I thought...

You don't have to explain. What you do
after working hours is your own business.

Thank you, sir.

You haven't changed your mind,
by any chance, Mr. Matuschek?

You've got the evening off, haven't you?
Well, go home.

He is the best man you had.
Why did you let him go?

I warn you, Mr. Pirovitch.

His whole life he lived in this shop.
He was almost like a son to you.

And you were so proud of him.

You invited him to your home
again and again.

Mr. Pirovitch, you want to keep your job,
don't you?

Yes, Mr. Matuschek. I have a family.

Two children.

In that case,
mind your own business and go home.

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Good night.

- Good night, Mr. Matuschek.
- Good night, vadas.

I beg your pardon.

I'm not quite certain
if I delivered Mrs. Matuschek's message.

She told me to remind you to call her
if you don't work tonight.

Yes, you told me, vadas.

Mr. Matuschek, the last time I had
the pleasure to be at your apartment...

...was several months ago
when you sent me after your briefcase.

Today I had a chance to get a glimpse
of your new dining room set.

It's exquisite, really.

I can imagine what it'll look like
with all the lights on at a dinner party.

- It must be simply stunning.
- Thank you, vadas.

- Good night, Mr. Matuschek.
- Good night, vadas.

- Good evening, Mr. Matuschek.
- Good evening.


- So it's true?
- I'm afraid so, Mr. Matuschek.

Here we have a complete record
from our operatives...

...two of our most reliable men.

"Report on Mrs. Emma Matuschek.

"On December 6, Mrs. Matuschek
left her residence on vales Street, 23...

"... at 8:45 p. m.

"She walked two blocks up
to Karto Street where she engaged a taxi.

"At 9:03, the taxi stopped at the corner
of Trantor and Bralter Streets.

"There, Mrs. Matuschek was joined
by a young man. "

Mr. Matuschek, your suspicion was right.
It was one of your employees.

Both our operatives identified him later
as Mr. vadas.

- vadas?
- Yes.

Ferencz vadas. Danube Place, 56.

There is such a man in your employ,
isn't there?

Yes, yes.

Twenty-two years we've been married.

Twenty-two years I was proud of my wife.

Well, she...

...just didn't want to grow old with me.

If you'll send me your bill,
I'll take care of it immediately.

Thank you, Mr. Matuschek.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Good evening.


No, Mrs. Matuschek.
This is Miss Kaczek speaking.

Good evening. Who?

Pepi? No, Pepi isn't back yet.

I see, Mrs. Matuschek.
He did some errands for you.

Oh, you don't say!

He forgot to pick up a bottle of perfume
at Chabot's?

Isn't that too bad!

Yes, I'll give a good scolding
to the little rascal.

Have a good time, Mrs. Matuschek.
Good night.

- Mr. Matuschek! Don't do that!
- Go away! Go away!

No, Mr. Matuschek!

Why don't you go in, Kralik?

I really think you should go in
and keep your date.

Now, Pirovitch,
just do me a favor and deliver my note.

All right.

Pirovitch, I don't want to know
what she looks like.

If she's bad looking,
I've had enough bad news for today.

If she's lovely, it'll be more difficult,
so don't tell me.

No, I won't.
Now, what's the name of that book?

- Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy.
- Anna Karenina.

- And a red carnation as a bookmark.
- Red carnation.

Now, let me see. Just a minute.

- Do you see anything?
- Not yet.

- There's a beautiful girl!
- Really?

- very beautiful, but no book.
- No book.

- Wait a minute. I think I see it.
- Yeah?

Right here under the window. Yes.

- "Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. "
- That's right.

And a carnation.

I can't see her face.
She's sitting behind a clothes rack.

- There's a cup of coffee on the table.
- Yeah?

She's taking a piece of cake.

Kralik, she is dunking.

- Why shouldn't she dunk?
- All right.

- All right.
- All right.

She is leaning forward now. She...

- Can you see her?
- Yes.

- Is she pretty?
- very pretty.

She is?

I should say she looks...

She has a little of the coloring of Klara.

Klara? What, Miss Novak of the shop?

Now, Kralik, you must admit
Klara's a very good-looking girl.

Personally, I've always found her
a very likeable girl.

This is a fine time
to talk about Miss Novak. Now...

If you don't like Miss Novak,
I can tell you, you won't like that girl.

- Why?
- Because it is Miss Novak.


...shall I give the note to the waiter?
- No.

What do you want to do,
let the poor girl wait?

Why shouldn't Miss Novak wait?

For the last six months
she's fought with me every day.

But still, she wrote those letters, my friend.

I know. My misfortune.

- Goodbye, Pirovitch.
- Goodbye, Kralik.

Thank you.

- Excuse me, miss, could I have this chair?
- Oh, no! No, you can't!

I'm expecting somebody.
He should be here any minute.

That's all right. That's...

Carnation, huh?

A few nights ago we had a case with roses.
Turned out very nice, very nice.

But once, about three months ago,
we had a very sad case with gardenias.

She waited all evening and nobody came.

And when we cleaned the café,
underneath one of the tables...

...we found another gardenia.

Imagine, the man must've come in...

...taken one look at her, said, "Phooey,"
and threw away his gardenia.

Is your clock a little fast?
My own says 8:27 and yours says 8:31.

Listen, you have nothing to worry about,
a pretty girl like you.

If he doesn't come,
I'll put on a carnation myself.

- Waiter.
- Yes, sir.

- Hello, Miss Novak.
- Good evening, Mr. Kralik.

It's quite a coincidence.
I had an appointment here, too.

- You haven't seen Mr. Pirovitch by chance?
- No, no, I haven't.

All right. Well, I think I'll wait.

- Do you mind if I sit down?
- Yes, I do.

You know,
I have an appointment, too, Mr. Kralik.

Oh, yes, I remember. Yes.

- My, your friend seems to be a little late.
- And I'll thank you not to be sarcastic.

I know you've had a bad day,
and you feel very bitter.

- Still, that's no reason...
- Bitter? Me?

About leaving Matuschek and Company?

When I got home and sat at the phone... five minutes I had
what amounts to two offers.

I congratulate you. I wish you good luck.

I see you're reading
Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

Yes, do you mind?

No, no, I just didn't expect
to meet you in a café...

...with Tolstoy, that's all.
It's quite a surprise.

I didn't know you cared for high literature.

There are many things
you don't know about me, Mr. Kralik.

Have you read Crime and Punishment
by Dostoyevsky?

- No, I haven't.
- I have.

There are many things
you don't know about me, Miss Novak.

As a matter of fact...

...there might be a lot
we don't know about each other.

People seldom go to the trouble
of scratching the surface of things... find the inner truth.

I really wouldn't care
to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik...

...because I know exactly what I'd find.

Instead of a heart, a handbag.

Instead of a soul, a suitcase.

And instead of an intellect,
a cigarette lighter which doesn't work.

That's very nicely put.


Comparing my intellect
with a cigarette lighter that doesn't work.

Yeah, that's a very interesting mixture
of poetry and meanness.

Meanness? Let me...

Don't misunderstand me.
I'm only trying to pay you a compliment.

Mr. Kralik, please!
I told you I was expecting somebody.

Look, if your party doesn't show up,
would I...

Don't worry about that.
My party will show up.

So you don't have to entertain me.

- Have you read Zola's Madame Bovary?
- Madame Bovary is not by Zola.

Mr. Kralik, are you still here?

Are you deliberately trying
to spoil my evening?

Why do you want to do me harm?
Why do you hate me so?

- I don't.
- I suppose you love me.

Why should I?
What've you done to make me love you?

- I don't want you to love me.
- I don't!

Do you know
what that tune reminds me of?

Yes, thank you.
Two dozen unsold cigarette boxes.

No, no. Wrong again.

It reminds me of a girl out of a job.

- A very nice girl, too, I thought.
- You thought that. How you can lie!

But that was before you started
to make fun of me...

...and giving imitations of me
in the locker room.

And I'd like to take this opportunity,
Miss Novak... inform you that I don't walk
like a duck...

...and I'm not bowlegged.

- Aren't you?
- No, I'm not.

Well, I have information to the contrary.

Mr. vadas assured me that you have
your trousers specially made.

That's a lie!

- So that's the kind of a man you trust.
- No!

I've never been to a tailor in my life.

If you think I'm bowlegged,
I'll pull up my trousers.

Would you like it if made remarks
about your red hands?

- That's what you did.
- After you started making fun of my legs.

My hands aren't red at all!

No, after I called your attention to them.

Let me tell you something, Miss Novak.

You may have beautiful thoughts,
but you hide them.

As far as your actions,
you're cold and snippy like an old maid.

You'll have a tough time
getting a man to fall in love with you.

An old maid?
So, no man could fall in love with me?

Mr. Kralik, you're getting funnier
every minute.

I could show you letters
that would open your eyes.

No, you probably wouldn't understand
what's in them.

They're written by a type of man
so far superior to you it isn't even funny.

I have to laugh when I think of you
calling me an old maid.

You little insignificant clerk.

- Goodbye, Miss Novak.
- Goodbye, Mr. Kralik.

Doctor, I would say
it's a nervous breakdown.

What do you think?

It appears to be
an acute epileptoid manifestation...

...and a pan phobic melancholiac
with indication of a neurasthenia cordus.

Is that more expensive
than a nervous breakdown?

Pardon me, Mr. Katona.

Precisely what position do you hold
with Matuschek and Company?

I would describe myself as a contact man.

I keep contact between Matuschek
and the customers...

...on a bicycle.

Do you mean, an errand boy?

Doctor, did I call you a pill-peddler?

- Hello, Mr. Kralik.
- How is he?

I want to thank you
for your splendid reaction to my call.

- Is it serious?
- It was a terrible shock.

I have to get over it.

This thing must be kept in strict confidence
between the three of us.

Me, Mr. Matuschek, and you. Here.

Thank you for coming, Kralik.

Sit down.

Do you remember the last time
you came to my house for dinner?

I said that if things go well,
I might take it easier...

...and maybe by Christmas
make you manager of the shop.

Now I have to take it easier.

Would you care to work for me again?

No, don't even think about it, sir.

Is it possible that I ever distrusted you?

I hated you.

I couldn't stand your presence any more.

That's how far jealousy can drive a man.

But that's all over now, sir.

When I first got that anonymous letter,
I laughed.

My wife having secret rendezvous
with one of my employees.

My wife!

But how could you suspect me, sir?

You see, you were the only one of
my employees who had been to my home...

...and you sent my wife flowers...
- But that was...

You don't have to tell me.

When that poison gets into a man's mind...

- Just try to understand.
- I do understand, sir.

Here are the keys
to Matuschek and Company.

Thank you, sir.

What shall I do about Mr...

vadas? I want him dismissed
as quietly as possible.

No scandal.

Don't even mention the subject to him.
We won't lower ourselves.

very good, sir.

This will be the biggest Christmas
in the history...

...of Matuschek and Company.

- I know it will.
- Yes, sir. Goodbye.

- Kralik?
- Yes, sir?

Now that you're the boss,
if you want to give yourself a raise...

I'll talk it over with myself,
and if I don't want too much money...

...I'll give it to myself. Thank you, sir!

- Congratulations!
- Thank you!

Goodbye, Mr. Matuschek.

Pepi, I don't know how to thank you.
You saved my life.

Don't mention it. It was a pleasure.

If you want anything else,
you know where to reach me.

I'm still nothing but an errand boy
at Matuschek and Company.

In other words, you'd like to be a clerk?

I wouldn't put it that brutally.

- When I get feeling better...
- But then you might change your mind.

Who knows how long
you'll have to stay here.

You're a pretty sick man, Mr. Matuschek.
This isn't just an ordinary breakdown.

All right, you're a clerk.
Now, get out of here!

Thanks, Mr. Matuschek!

Kralik, I think I speak for all of us
when I say heartiest congratulations.

What a load off my mind.
Now we're all one little happy family again.

Be assured of my cooperation
to the fullest extent.

I want you to be a great success.

From now on, you're going to the office,
aren't you?

That's right.

If anybody deserves it, it's you, my boy.

Nice little ring, isn't it?

I had a little luck last night, too.
Real diamond.

My grandma gave it to me.

That's what you get
when you're a good boy.

Some get apples, I get diamonds.

- Good one?
- Yeah.

By the way, I have some unusual ideas
for that window display.

Thank you, vadas.
The rest of us can take care of the windows.

Right now, I'd like you to go
into the stockroom...

...and you know those big suitcases
on the top shelf?

- The black ones?
- That's right, and the big brown suitcases.

- On the bottom shelf?
- On the bottom.

I want you to take all
the big black suitcases from the top shelf...

...and move them to the bottom,
and the big brown ones...

...from the bottom shelf
and move them to the top shelf.

- You don't want to do it?
- I didn't say that. Of course I'll do it.

- I'm a good soldier.
- All right, do it right away.

Thank you.

312-683, please.

Is this the Atlas Employment Agency?

This is Mr. Katona
of Matuschek and Company speaking.

We have an opening for a new errand boy.
Now see here.

I want a educated, healthy boy,
good family and no bad habits.

Send me four or five. I'll look them over.
Right away, if you please.

Tell them to ask for Mr. Katona,
the sales department.

All right.

What's the matter,
didn't you ever see a clerk before?

- Who made you a clerk?
- Yes, who did this dreadful thing?

I can't give you the whole story.
I'm tied up with my word of honor.

If it hadn't been for me, this place would
be closed on account of suicide...

...and you'd all be out of a job.

Matuschek and Company, good morning.
Yes, Mrs. Matuschek.

Don't miss this, folks.

Hello, Mrs. Matuschek.

Yes, this is Pepi speaking.

That's right.

I didn't bring you that bottle of perfume?

Well, you're never going to get it!
What do you think of that?

Your perfume days are over, Mrs. M!

Yes! This is Pepi speaking.

You want to speak to Mr. Matuschek?
That's too bad.

At the moment he's up in a balloon
with two blondes.

Now watch this.

You wouldn't like to speak
by any chance to Mr. vadas?

That got her. Draw your own conclusions.

You sent for me, chief?

vadas, I'm a little worried about you.

Will you be comfortable
under a former, fellow clerk?

Working under a younger man?

Kralik, this is the age of youth,
and I always ride with the times.

You're a smart young man
and my hat's off to you.

Let's stop beating around the bush.
You and I never got along.

- You really think so?
- Admit it. You don't like me.

I don't? Wait a minute, Kralik.
You are the boss.

That's right,
but I'm not going to be a "yes" man.

You know what I'll do?
I'm going to contradict you.

I do like you!

- Anything else bothering you?
- Yes. I don't like you.

That's every man's privilege.
I thank you for being so frank.

Now I know my problem,
and it's up to me to change your mind.

I don't think it'll be so hard.

I heard the funniest joke.
Do you want to hear it?



Yes, this is Matuschek and Company.


You're calling for Miss Novak.

What's the matter with her?
I hope it's nothing serious.

Fine, I'm glad to hear that.
Tell her not to worry.

Unless she's absolutely all right,
tell her not to come today.

No, there's no hurry now.

Tell her to be sure and take good care
of herself. All right.

- Really, Kralik, that's a wonderful attitude.
- What's so wonderful about it?

I've been around, and I have my eyes open.

If anyone didn't agree with you here,
it was Miss Novak.

Just leave Miss Novak out of this.

Don't misunderstand.
I have nothing against Miss Novak.

On the contrary, she's a nice girl.
Only sometimes, she went too far.

Not another word about Miss Novak.
She's a fine girl and a hard worker...

...and she's a good salesgirl,
and you shut up!

You misunderstand me.
I didn't mean any offense.

- I was agreeing with you.
- I don't want you to agree with me!

You're fired.

You're fired. Get out of here,
you two-faced, double-crossing...

...two-timer! Go on. Get out of here!

Folks! Folks!


Did you hear what he called me?
Remember it on the witness stand.

He called me a double-crossing two-timer!

I told you to get out of here! Get out!

Don't you push. Don't you push!

What right have you got to fire me?
Does Mr. Matuschek know?

No! Mr. Matuschek doesn't know
anything about this.

I'm the manager,
and you don't work here anymore!

How do I know you're the manager?
Prove it to me in black and white.

You're going to get it in black and blue.

All right! Nice little case
of assault and battery.

You'll hear from my lawyer.
What about my salary?

Get the man's salary.

- Here it is, Mr. vadas.
- We have everything prepared.

- We don't want to waste any time.
- Pardon me, sir. Your garments.

I'm entitled to a letter of reference.

I forgot it. Flora, take a letter.

To whom it may concern:
Mr. vadas has been in the employ...

...of Matuschek and Company for two years
during which time he's been efficient... a stool pigeon,
a troublemaker, and a rat.

If he doesn't clear out,
he'll get a punch in the nose.

Truly, Alfred Kralik,
Manager of Matuschek and Company.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, Miss Novak.

I suppose you're surprised to see me back.

Naturally. I'm glad you have your
job back again. I congratulate you.

I hear you haven't been feeling well.

That's all right, thank you.
I wanted to see Mr. Matuschek.

Here he is. I'm Mr. Matuschek.

Mr. Kralik, don't make any jokes.
Not today.

Please, if you want to pick on me,
do it some other time.

I don't know what to say.

I'm trying to tell you that Mr. Matuschek
isn't here, and that I'm the manager.

Haven't you got any heart at all?
I'm not well, I can hardly see straight.

Everything is just going round and round.

I ask you a simple question and instead of
any consideration, you try to frighten me.

Excuse me.


Mr. Foeldes?

Hello, Mr. Foeldes.

Yes. Well, thank you very much.

Yes, it all happened this morning.

That's right, Mr. Foeldes.

No, Mr. Matuschek won't be with us
for a while.

Now, please, Mr. Foeldes.
I don't own the shop yet.

I'm only the manager.

Goodbye, Mr...

Miss Novak! Klara! Klara!

- Good evening, Miss Novak.
- Good evening, Mr. Kralik.

I hope you'll forgive this intrusion, but I...

Being in charge of the shop,
I feel like a father to our little family.

Anyway, how are you, young lady?

I'll be all right, Mr. Kralik. Please sit down.

Thank you.

Christmas is coming, and we'll miss
a good worker like you in the shop.

So you better get well.

I'll be all right in a day or two.

That doesn't mean
that you should neglect yourself.

I'm very serious about this...

...because I feel responsible
for the whole thing.

- You?
- Yes.

Oh, no, Mr. Kralik.
I think I can relieve your mind.

It wasn't your fault at all.

No, there's a much bigger reason,

Shouldn't you call a doctor?

No, I don't need to see a doctor.

My trouble is what one might call...


It's my own personal problem,
and I'll come out of it.

I'm sorry.
It's a shame you have to go through all this.

As long as it's only psychological,
you won't...

Only psychological!

Mr. Kralik, it's true we're
in the same room...

...but we're not on the same planet.

Miss Novak, although I'm the victim
of your remark...

...I can't help but admire the exquisite way
you have of expressing yourself.

You certainly know how
to put a man in his planet.

Aunt Anna has something for you!

She has? Why doesn't she come in?
Come in, Aunt Anna!

This is Mr. Kralik
of Matuschek and Company.

- I'm glad to meet you.
- How do you do?

- I hope it's good news.
- I'll tell you later.

Mr. Kralik, it was kind of you to drop in.

I don't want to spoil your whole evening.

I have nothing to do.
Go ahead and read the letter.

Don't worry about me.

- Lf you don't mind.
- Not at all.

- Good news?
- very good news.

I can promise you I'll be back in the shop
tomorrow, and I'll be on my toes!

I'll sell more goods than ever before.

That's quite a change in you.
It's amazing what one letter can do.

If I weren't feeling so happy,
I'd be very annoyed with you.

With me? Why?

Why? Because you spoiled
my date last night.

I wasn't so wrong when I asked you
not to sit at my table.

This gentleman did come to the café.

He looked in the window,
saw us together, and misunderstood.

- He thought you and I were friends?
- He must have. Listen.

"Tell me and be frank.
I think you owe it to me.

"Who is this very attractive young man?
He's just the type women fall for. "

- I'm sorry I caused you so much trouble.
- It's all right. I'll straighten it out.

It won't hurt him to be a little jealous.

He doesn't seem to be much of a man,
this friend of yours.

I mean, he walks away.

He's afraid to come over to the table
when another man is there.

No, Mr. Kralik, he's wasn't afraid,
I can assure you.

He's tactful. He's sensitive.

He's not the type of man who would
walk up to a table uninvited.

It's difficult to explain a man like him
to a man like you.

Where you would say, "black,"
he would say, "white. "

Where you would say, "ugly,"
he says, "beautiful. "

And when you say, "old maid," he says:

"Eyes that sparkle with fire and mystery...


"Fascinating. "

I remind him of gypsy music.

Speaking of gypsy music,
we've had a lot of trouble...

...selling those Ochi Tchornya boxes,
haven't we?

- That doesn't make any difference.
- You can consider one box sold.

Yes. I've just had an inspiration.
I'll give one to my friend for Christmas.

Miss Novak, you're taking an awful chance.

Why don't you give him a wallet?
I'm sure he'd be crazy about it.

Any man would be. A wallet is practical.
Besides, we have those imported pigskins.

- I'm not interested.
- I'd make you a special price.

No, I'm sorry.

Besides being a practical thing...

...a wallet is quite romantic.

On one side he has your last letter,
on the other side, a picture of you.

When he opens it, there you are.

And that's all the music he wants.

Why, Mr. Kralik, you surprise me.

That's very well-expressed.

I must admit, that's very nice.

No, just the same,
I'm going to give him a cigarette box.

There's not much more I can say.

Except that I wish
both of you a Merry Christmas.

- Thank you, Mr. Kralik, good night.
- Good night, Miss Novak.

- Rudy!
- Yes, Mr. Katona?

Do you know what time it is?

- A few minutes after 8:00.
- And you're still here?

- Don't contradict me, just listen!
- Yes, Mr. Katona.

You have to be faster,
especially on Christmas Eve.

Am I asking too much?

- No, Mr. Katona.
- All right.

I have great news.

I talked to the hospital,
and Mr. Matuschek is much better.

- That's wonderful!
- Can we visit him?

Let's all get together
and buy him a nice Christmas present.

Let's get him a little Christmas tree
for his hospital room.

That's all very nice, but the best present
we could give him is a bare-looking shop...

...with nothing in it except money
in the cash register.

Now, come on, folks!

Let's make this the biggest Christmas Eve
in the history of Matuschek and Company.

Where's Klara! Klara! Miss Novak!

Coming! Yes, Mr. Kralik, what is it?

- How are you today?
- Fine.

Good. We're expecting terrific business
today. It's going to be tough.

But don't overdo it.

Miss Novak, may I ask a favor of you?

With pleasure, Mr. Pirovitch.

I wanted to buy one of those
Ochi Tchornya boxes, but Kralik tells me... took the only one that really works.

That's right. I bought it for my boyfriend.

He's coming tonight.
We're going to celebrate Christmas Eve.

- Mr. Pirovitch, can you keep a secret?
- On my word of honor.

When I come back Monday,
I might have a ring on my finger.

Maybe, you never know.

What? That's wonderful!

And that's the young man
who'll get the cigarette box?

Then let's drop the whole thing.

You see, I thought of giving it
to my wife's uncle for Christmas.

I'm sorry,
can't you give him something else?

It's not so easy. You see, I don't like him.

I hate to spend a nickel on him.
Still, I must give him a present.

I thought if I have to give him a present...

...I might as well give him something
he won't enjoy.

The box costs 2.29.

That's a lot of money, but it's worth it
to ruin my wife's uncle's Christmas.

I'm sorry, Miss Novak.
I forgot you always liked those.

No, no, Mr. Pirovitch. Speak freely.

If you were in my position...

...what would you give him?

That's hard to say.

What would you say to the idea of...

...let's say, maybe, a wallet?

That's an inspiration.

- One of those imported pigskins?
- That's what I was thinking of.

You can't miss.

If I would get such a wallet, I would be... of the happiest men in the world.

On one side... Here, I'll show you.

On one side, I put a picture of my wife...

...and on the other side, my little baby.

When I open it,
it says, "Papa" and not "Ochi Tchornya. "

Thank you, Mr. Pirovitch. I'll think it over.

Kralik, you'll get the wallet.

Mr. Matuschek, what are doing here?
Since when are you back?

I'm supposed to be a pretty sick man,
that's what my doctor tells me.

But after all, it's Christmas Eve.
I couldn't stay away any longer.

Can you imagine me,
over two weeks in the hospital...

...without seeing a single customer?

The only piece of leather goods
in the place was my nurse's handbag.

And where do you think she got it?
At Blasek and Company!

And they expect me to get well?

- Have you been by Blasek and Company?
- Oh, yes.

- What kind of business are they doing?
- They're busy, but no comparison with this.

Good. This is all right.

Mr. Matuschek, take it easy. Don't overdo.

No, I'm not, don't be. I'm not a fool.

I came around to find out
if the shop was still here. And then I go.

- Merry Christmas, Mr. Matuschek.
- Same to you.

- Do you think Eric would like that briefcase?
- I don't know. I'm not so sure.

Pardon me, ladies.
I can't see very well without my glasses.

Could you tell me the price
on that briefcase?


24.50! My, what values you get here.

I wonder how Matuschek and Company
can do it.

If you don't know, Mr. Matuschek,
who should?

How much is it?


That's wonderful.

That's the biggest day since '28.
You should be very proud.

I want to thank you
from the bottom of my heart.

Two hours ago when I walked in here,
I was a sick man.

But you, Kralik, and you, Pirovitch,
you're the best doctors.

And you, Klara and llona and Flora,
you're wonderful nurses.

Thank you.

Pepi, you know what I think about you.

Yes, sir.

This morning when I received
the little Christmas tree you all sent me...

...I was deeply moved.

I read your little note over and over.

And it made me very happy
that you missed me...

...and hoped that I'd be coming back home
soon again.

You're right, this is my home.

This is where I spent most of my life.

No Christmas is complete without a bonus.

- Kralik.
- Thank you, sir.


- Pepi.
- Thank you, sir.

Flora. Here.

- Ilona.
- Thank you, Mr. Matuschek.

And Pirovitch.

I've called you names on several occasions.

When you see the bonus,
you'll realize that I didn't mean it.

Thank you, Mr. Matuschek.

I guess that's about all.

Here, what's your name?


- Well, Rudy.
- Good boy.

Thank you, Mr. Matuschek.

It's all right, Rudy.

Too much.

We'll leave the shop just as it is
until after the holiday.

I want you all to go home now
and have a very Merry Christmas.

Thank you.

Well, Kralik...


That's wonderful.

Thank you, Flora.

Well, I think I'll have a...

...little dinner now,
and celebrate Christmas.

Have you ever been to Biro's?

No sir, I'm afraid that's way over my head.

Christmas only comes once a year.
How about joining me...

...and we'll break a bottle
of champagne together?

- Mr. Matuschek, I'd love nothing more...
- You have another engagement?

No, not another word.
I wanted to be sure that you weren't alone.

Have a wonderful time,
and Merry Christmas.

The same to you, sir.

Well, Pirovitch.

I presume you're going to have
a nice party at your house tonight.

Yes, I should say.

You probably have some guests?

No, just my wife, my boy,
and my little baby and myself.

That's all we want, and we are very happy.

- Well, Merry Christmas.
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Matuschek.

- Merry Christmas, Mr. Matuschek.
- Thank you, Flora.

- Please, give my regards to your mother.
- Thank you.

Still hanging around the shop,
Mr. Matuschek? Can't get away from here.

You'd better hurry home, son.

You're probably celebrating Christmas
with your family. Am I wrong?

Yes, Mr. Matuschek.
See that girl over there on the corner?

- Yeah.
- I'm her Santa Claus.

- Good night, Mr. Matuschek.
- Good night.

Mr. Matuschek, I don't know how
to thank you for that marvelous present.

After all, I'm only working here
a short time.

That's all right. What was your name?


- How old are you, Rudy?
- 17.

That's a wonderful age.
You've got your whole life ahead of you.

- It's up to you what you make of it.
- Yes, sir.

You better not squander that money.
Go home and give it to your mother.

- My people don't live here in town.
- Is that so?

- Have you no other relations here?
- No, Mr. Matuschek.

You're all alone in Budapest
on Christmas Eve?

That's right.

Rudy! Do you like chicken noodle soup?

I certainly do.

And what would you think of roast goose
stuffed with baked apples?

And fresh boiled potatoes and butter
and some red cabbage on the side?

I'd love it!

And then cucumber salad with sour cream?

Then a double order of apple strudel
with vanilla sauce.

Sounds wonderful!

You're going to have it, Rudy.
Come on. Here, taxi!

- It's lovely, I'm sure he'll like it.
- I think so, too.

Merry Christmas, Klara. I hope
it all turns out the way you want it to.

- Thanks, llona.
- Good night.

- I'm sorry, I'll be out in a second.
- That's all right, no hurry.

I decided to follow your advice after all.

Want to see something?

That's beautiful.

Why don't you try it on?

I'd like to see what it looks like on a girl.

- Are those real diamonds?
- They're pretty near.

I didn't know you had a girlfriend.

Yes, it probably isn't easy for you
to imagine anyone...

...could like a man of my type.

Let's not start all over again.

It's Christmas, and I'd like to be friends.
Beside, you're wrong.

- Do you mind if I tell you something?
- No, not at all.

When I first came to work here,
something very strange happened to me.

I got psychologically mixed up.

- You don't say?
- Yes.

I found myself looking at you
again and again.

I just couldn't take my eyes off of you.

I kept saying, "Klara Novak,
what on earth is the matter with you.

"This Kralik is not
a particularly attractive man. "

- I hope you don't mind.
- No, not at all.

Now, here comes the paradox.
I found myself falling for you.

- I can't believe it.
- Yes, and very much so.

- You certainly didn't show it.
- In those first few weeks...

I know you won't misconstrue
what I'm going to say to you.

After all, I'm happily engaged.
At least it looks that way.

Go on.

In those first few weeks,
there were moments in the stockroom...

...when you could have swept me
off of my feet.

Now I'm getting psychologically mixed up.

I was a different girl, then.
I was rather naive.

All my knowledge came from books,
and I'd just finished a novel...

...about a glamorous French actress
from the Comédie Française.

That's a theater in France.

When she wanted to arouse a man's
interest, she treated him like a dog.

Yes, you treated me like a dog.

But instead of licking my hand, you barked.

My mistake was I didn't realize that the
difference between this glamorous lady...

...and me was that she was with
the Comédie Française...

...and I was with Matuschek and Company.

Well, that's all forgotten now.

Now you're going to see your girlfriend.
By the way, is it serious?

Yes, very.

Maybe we'll both be engaged
Monday morning.

I think we will.

Don't misunderstand me.
I just said in my case, it might happen.

As a matter of fact,
I can tell you, it will happen.

How do you know?

We won't go into that.

Mr. Kralik, what do you mean you know?

I guess I might as well tell you.
He came to see me.

- Who?
- Your fiancée.

Yes, he came last night.
You shouldn't have told him who I am.

I spent an uncomfortable hour.

Apparently, he didn't believe it when
you wrote that I meant nothing to you.

I can't get it into my head.
Coming to see you?

- That doesn't sound like him at all.
- I've straightened everything out.

You don't have to worry.
In a little while you'll be Mrs. Popkin.

Mrs. Popkin?

That's the name, isn't it?
That's the name he gave me.

Oh, yes, that's right. Popkin. Popkin.

A very nice fellow. I congratulate you.

Thank you.

I think he's a very attractive man,
don't you?

Yes. For his type, I'd say yes.

You would classify him as a definite type?

Absolutely! And don't try to change him.

Don't put him on a diet.

- Would you call him fat?
- I wouldn't, but that's a matter of opinion.

I think that little stomach of his
gives him a nice, homey quality.

That's what you want in a husband, isn't it?

- Yes, that's what I want.
- And you're perfectly right.

If I were a girl and had to choose
between a young, good-for-nothing...

...with plenty of hair,
and a solid, mature citizen...

...I'd pick Mathias Popkin every time.

Anyway, he has a fine mind.

Didn't he impress you
as being rather witty?

He struck me as rather depressed,
but it's unfair to judge a man...

...when he's out of a job.

Out of a job! He never told me!

That shows you how sensitive he is.

You have nothing to worry about.

He feels that both of you
can live very nicely on your salary.

Did you tell him how much I make?

He's your fiancée, and he asked me.

When I told him what salary you made,
he was a little worried...

...but then I promised him you'd get a raise,
and he felt better about it.

Let me tell you, mentioning that bonus
didn't do you any harm at all.

This is terrible.

I'm outraged!
I had no idea he was materialistic like this.

If you could read his letters.
Such ideals, such a lofty point of view.

- I could quote you passages.
- For instance?

"True love is to be two, and yet one.

"A man and a woman blended as angels.

"Heaven itself. "
That's victor Hugo. He stole that.

I thought I was the inspiration
for all those beautiful thoughts.

Now I find he was just copying words
out of a book.

He probably didn't mean
a single one of them.

I'm sorry you feel this way about it.

I'd hate to think I'm spoiling
your Christmas.

I'd built up such an illusion about him.
I thought he was so perfect.

I had to come along and destroy it.

That's all right.

I guess I really ought to thank you.

Klara, if I'd only known in the beginning
how you felt about me...

...things would have been different.

We wouldn't have been fighting
all the time.

If we quarreled, it wouldn't have been
over suitcases and handbags...

...but over something like whether
your aunt or grandmother...

...should live with us or not.

It's sweet of you to try to cheer me up.

I think we'd better say good night.

You have an engagement and so have I,
and we shouldn't be late.

Do you know what I wish would happen?

When your bell rings at 8:30,
and you open the door...

...instead of Popkin, I come in.

Please, don't make it more difficult for me.

- I'd say, "Klara, darling"...
- No, you mustn't.

My dearest, sweetheart Klara,
I can't stand it any longer.

Take your key
and open post office box 237...

...and take me out of my envelope
and kiss me.

Mr. Kralik, you must...

Dear friend.


Dear friend?

Are you disappointed?

Psychologically, I'm very confused...

...but personally, I don't feel bad at all.


When you came to the café that night,
I was pretty rude, wasn't I?

- Oh, no. No.
- Yes, I was. Don't you remember?

Why, I called you bowlegged.

I was going to prove to you that I wasn't.

I was going to go out to the street
and pull up my trousers.

Would you mind very much
if I asked you to pull them up now?