Although the store has no current positions, she gets a job by selling a ludicrous cigarette box that plays “Ochi Chërnye” every time it’s opened, which Kralick had been against carrying in the store. Kralick, accordingly, is suddenly hit from two sides, with the slowly growing irritation by his boss and the boiling hostility of his new co-worker.
Again taking time with the plot, the writers focus on the snippy relationship of the two salespeople while gradually revealing the reasons for Matuschek’s growing anger. This allows time for great conversations between the kind and gentle Pirovitch (more mean-spirited in the original) and Kralick about the latter’s increasing love of an unseen pen pal. Although we certainly suspect that Klara and Kralick’s mysterious lover are one and the same, the film withholds that revelation as long as possible, the discovery revealed only to Kralick at the very moment he is fired, so that the one new dilemma of his life is counterbalanced with the astonishment of the new facts.
Everything is nearly perfect with this gentle comedy—except, strangely enough, for Stewart’s slightly boisterous acting. While the others, even the sometimes hammy Morgan, have toned down their American accents, suggesting—if not actually achieving—a somewhat old-world sensibility, Stewart whips through his performance with a “hee-haw-like” small town American accent that he would trot out again, more appropriately, six years later in his performance in It’s Wonderful Life.