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The Shop On Main Street (The Criterion Collection) (1966)

Ida Kaminska , Jozef Kroner , Elmar Klos , Ján Kadár  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ida Kaminska, Jozef Kroner, Hana Slivková, Martin Hollý, Adam Matejka
  • Directors: Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár
  • Writers: Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár, Ladislav Grosman
  • Producers: Jaromír Lukás, Milos Broz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NFZD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Shop On Main Street (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer
  • New & improved English subtitle translation

Editorial Reviews

An inept Czech peasant is torn between greed and guilt when the Nazi-backed bosses of his town appoint him "Aryan controller" of an old Jewish widow's button shop. Humor and tragedy fuse in this scathing exploration of one cowardly man's complicity in the horrors of a totalitarian regime. Made near the height of Soviet oppression in Czechoslovakia, The Shop on Main Street features intense editing and camera work which won it the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film in 1965.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most moving films ever made August 17, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
"The Shop on Main Street" is one of the five best movies I have ever seen. This masterpiece from Czechoslovakia is one of the most humanistic films of all time, telling the epic story of the Nazi holocaust through two beautifully developed characters. This extraordinary film relies on understatement to chronicle an event that, when visualized fully, often becomes too unbearable to watch. Instead, the filmmakers concentrate on the conflict that develops when a well-meaning but timid carpenter must protect an elderly Jewish shopkeeper from persecution. This ingeniously worked out situation leads to a final half hour that is, perhaps, the most intensely dramatic and emotionally wrenching sequence in film history. The performances of Josef Kroner and Ida Kaminska are without peer and the eerie and haunting musical score lingers with the viewer long after this great film has ended. This film is the definition of great cinematic art!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but poorly translated April 7, 2002
By A Customer
This movie rightfuly deserves all the praise and accolades given. The acting, camera work and editing are excellent and sadly, it's also historicaly accurate.
Aside from the title sequence the spoken language is all Slovak and not Czech or any other form of convoluted Czech-Slovak dialect. Considering most Czechs were expelled from Slovakia during this period, it would be inconceivable for the director to have the actors speak Czech --the domestic audience would have never tolerated that. The english subtitles, however, contain many errors and poorly translated passages which detract from fully understanding the humour, sarcasm and even some events. There is some profanity, which is also translated into more tempered english terms.
Here a two examples:
In the subtitles, Tono's friend and neighbour Piti is refered to as Piti Batchi, which should be 'baci', the Hungarian word for 'uncle', that many south eastern Slovaks use as a term of endearment and respect. In one scene Tono calls Imro Kuchar --- Kuchar baci.
The term Pan, which translates into Mr. --has a double meaning. Historically, it meant someone of nobility, a baron or a land holder. On two occasions Tono is refered to as "pan Brtko" but in a very sarcastic way. Once by Katz, the barber, while packing and later by the Hlinka Guard Luetenant Martin in the pub. I think Tono understands the ridicule, but doesn't understand why yet.
The DVD should have included some historical background, as I believe many viewers will not be familiar with the history of the region during this period. This may confuse some viewers who may not understand the many references or the regalia displayed in the film.
The movie is also a metaphor for life under Stalinism.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Waiting For January 28, 2006
I had heard of "The Shop on Main Street" years ago but never had the chance to see it until tonight. I even bought and read the book by Ladislaw Grosman 17 years ago in anticipation of seeing the movie some day. I must admit that the book was impressive but not THAT impressive and so I worried that the movie might be anticlimatical. It wasn't. The book was a long short story, a novella, if you will. It laid out the story clearly enough but it was the movie that brought all of the characters to life and created the gradual development of the impending crisis. By the time we reached that crisis we had met a few jerks and unimpressive characters. However, we had also come to know and appreciate a number of people that we found endearing for different reasons. As events darken the scene, we suspect something bad is about to happen. I knew what it was going to be but it still had an impact for me.

The two main characters in "The Shop on Main Street" are an elderly Jewish woman, played outstandingly by Ida Kaminska, and a neer-do-well Slovakian carpenter, played impressively by Josef Kraner. The way these two come to interact with each other and the ebb and flo of their relationship is the heart of the movie. The picture gives a personal look at the Final Solution as it is played out in a small Czech village. The emotions that the director brings out on film is where the movie soars above the book.

Watching "The Shop on Main Street" is a moving experience. It challenges us and leaves us wondering where we would have fit into this cast of characters. In doing so, we may come to have a slightly better understanding of the incomprehensible. That oxymoron is worth the two hours spent watching "The Shop on Main Street". The raw emotions on display will stay with you long after.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Tragedy July 4, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is important to understand that this is a Slovak film and a Slovak story, not a Czech one. The importance of the distinction lies in the fact that, while the Czech lands of Bohemia-Moravia were occupied by the Germans and ruled (with an iron fist) by the SS during the war, Slovakia remained a nominally independent Nazi puppet regime under a dictator named Tiso. The story of the main character is thus really the story of a struggle for the soul of that country during a time when a toxic mix of anti-semitism and nationalism led so many Slovaks to collaborate with the expulsion of the Jews from their land. Especially poignant is the way that the story highlights one of the most enduring social pathologies of that region of the world: petty envy, and the foolishness and outright evil that it leads to.
This movie is so good that it's often difficult to watch. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking some insight into that part of history.
A must-see companion film is the more recent Czech production, "Divided We Fall" (available on DVD), which portrays the story of a couple in a Czech village who have to pretend to be collaborators in order to cover the fact that they are hiding a Jew in their apartment. Although what the main characters do is ultimately heroic, the movie is honest enough not to portray them as noble, but as frightened people who feel trapped into a terrible moral dilemma. Unlike "The Shop on High Street," "Divided We Fall" exhibits the uniquely Czech characteristic of being tragic and funny at the same time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film
Agreed with previous comments that Amazon should fix the errors in its Editorial Review and Product Details information for this film, which is set in a Slovakian small town, is... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Martin Kralik
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
this movie is as powerful today as it was when it was made. brilliant performances by ida kaminska dn the rest of the cast. highly recommend.
Published 15 months ago by A. Gelb
3.0 out of 5 stars Righteous Gentile's martyrdom may not ring true but chronicle of...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

'The Shop on Main Street' was co-directed by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Turfseer
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving and complex relationship during a scary time
If you don't know much about this movie, please realize that it is not a frightening Jewish holocaust film. Read more
Published on November 15, 2009 by  R I Z Z O 
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're Slovak, you want to see this film!!
If your parents or grandparents emigrated to the USA from Czechoslovakia, you will want to see this movie. It gives you a good picture of life in a small slovak village. Read more
Published on January 24, 2008 by Jake Maruschak
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Film in Every Way
This film, in my opinion, is one of the finest films ever made. The acting is beyond magnificent, and the filming and sound effects are wonderful. Read more
Published on October 22, 2007 by Thomas Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force ...
Antonin (the wonderful Jozef Kroner) is a willingly lazy carpenter who is leading a simple life in a small Czechoslovakia town. Read more
Published on August 28, 2007 by Sharad Yadav
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing movie!
great movie! unbelievable acting, and cinematography! i don't understand why more people haven't heard of this movie!
Published on August 17, 2007 by Andrew N
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shop on Main Street
A deserving winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1965, "Shop" is a haunting tale of the holocaust. Read more
Published on July 2, 2007 by John Farr
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject matter that takes a long time to build up any...
I have always been extremely interested in films about the WW2 Holocaust from the perspective of the different countries that were so effected by this tragedy. Read more
Published on June 12, 2007 by KerrLines
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