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The Apartment
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Romance at its most anti-romantic--that is the Billy Wilder stamp of genius, and this Best Picture Academy Award winner from 1960 is no exception. Set in a decidedly unsavory world of corporate climbing and philandering, the great filmmaker's trenchant, witty satire-melodrama takes the office politics of a corporation and plays them out in the apartment of lonely clerk C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon). By lending out his digs to the higher-ups for nightly extramarital flings with their secretaries, Baxter has managed to ascend the business ladder faster than even he imagined. The story turns even uglier, though, when Baxter's crush on the building's melancholy elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) runs up against her long-standing affair with the big boss (a superbly smarmy Fred MacMurray). The situation comes to a head when she tries to commit suicide in Baxter's apartment. Not the happiest or cleanest of scenarios, and one that earned the famously caustic and cynically humored Wilder his share of outraged responses, but looking at it now, it is a funny, startlingly clear-eyed vision of urban emptiness and is unfailingly understanding of the crazy decisions our hearts sometimes make. Lemmon and MacLaine are ideally matched, and while everyone cites Wilder's Some Like It Hot closing line "Nobody's perfect" as his best, MacLaine's no-nonsense final words--"Shut up and deal"--are every bit as memorable. Wilder won three Oscars for The Apartment, for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (cowritten with longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond). --Robert Abele

Customer Reviews:

  • Love's for Rent, Desire's for Hire, in Wilder Satire
    To avoid redundancy, I will not provide a comprehensive analysis of The Apartment (Collector's Edition). A great many reviewers here on already have written such excellent critiques of Billy Wilder's entertaining farce. My two cents, then, mostly will deal with the movie's portrayal of working women and its exploration of their inner lives.

    The Apartment was released in 1960, and in nearly half a century some things remain the same when it comes to matters of the heart. Well, when the four chambers belong to the female of the species, that is. Although we chicks have made head-turning advancements in the workplace, now and then smashing through the glass ceiling like the underpaid stuntwomen that we are, some broads (present company excepted) still fall for the tricky quick steps of boardroom merengue. Instead of acting as if they have two left feet, these sisters should be kneeing the bossman's twins and asking for a raise while he hits the highest note in his career. Forty-nine years after The Apartment: same dance, same aria.

    Thus, every time I watch the scenes of awkward intimacy between Shirley MacLaine's Miss Kubelik and Fred MacMurray's Mr. Sheldrake, I get onion eyes. And every time I listen to Edie Adams warn MacLaine -- secretary to elevator operator -- about those "ringydingdings," I get a lump in my throat as wide as a boulder blocking love's highway. Now, I have watched The Apartment more than 15 times since my first viewing on cable's TCM channel and subsequently on video, so those are a lot of lumps. But then something wonderful happens: Lovable, lonely loser C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon in impeccable form) lightens the mood with a spasmodic facial mannerism, piercing the air with his trademark cackle curtailed by his own hyperstressed pronouncements. Only then can I swallow, breathe and chuckle the hurt away.

    Such is the power of great acting and masterful direction, anchored by a superb script. Through Wilder's film lens, viewers get to study the contours of hearts that have been broken, barely mended, only to be fissured again. However, considering all of the impersonal technology in homes and offices today, who's to say that the alienation as personified by Fran Kubelik's and C.C. Baxter's circumstances is more profound? Suited saber-toothed tigers in fedoras carrying little black books have evolved into savvy Bluetoothed cybercats with mobile phones that have roaming charges and unlimited space for all those "purrsonal" contacts.

    Just as anti-corporate cynicism has endured into the 21st century, so has The Apartment -- easily one of Billy Wilder's finest satires. The movie should be required viewing at hedonistic office parties to remind everyone, especially the male of the species, about the tragic consequences of shredding business ethics for the purpose of getting down to business on a desktop or in a restroom stall. Or, could it be that the working stiff's lustful goals have turned so absurd that an accidentally flushed BlackBerry is considered more serious than a few *lodged* staples and paper clips? Oh my.

    Sexual pathos aside, the comedy of C.C. Baxter's apartment situation is first-rate. He's a lucky so-and-so to pay less than market rate (even for 1960!) for his immense square footage. Nevertheless, he has what we urbanites today call a revolving-door apartment. Only, he's the one who keeps leaving! As attached as I am to my apartment, I sense his misery each time he's forced to walk those posh Upper West Side streets. Poor old bast--er, Baxter. Well, that's how the luck turns, keywise. (That's an inside joke; only viewers of The Apartment would get it.) Yet another wild circumstance that this dark comedy-drama presents for viewers' critique and voyeuristic pleasure.

    Speaking of pleasure, the adulterous fantasies played out in the film are darkly Wilder. Back in 1960, I wasn't yet a gleam in my father's eye. Come to think of it, with all the illicit fun folks seemed to be having back in the 1960s, perhaps I wasn't meant to be a gleam in my mother's eye, either.

    I couldn't more strongly recommend that you purchase The Apartment (Collector's Edition). After you have, please sit back and let Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's story unreel in black-and-white before your eyes. You'll see why The Apartment earned five Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture....more info
  • "Why do people have to love people anyway?"
    I've seen thousands of films, but have managed to miss some of the great ones. This was the case with "The Apartment" until recently. It won the 1960 Best Picture Oscar, and the reasons are evident even 45 years later.

    Jack Lemmon stars as C.C. Baxter, recently arrived in NYC from Cincinnati, a faceless insurance company drone trying to make his mark. He's got a hook; he loans his apartment to his superiors and their mistresses. This leads to some very funny moments as he often regrets allowing himself to be used like this, and has good reason to look down his nose at these middle-aged adolescents and their Clintonesque hijinx.

    Fred MacMurray costars as the head of personnel, who's become aware of Baxter thanks to the recommendations of promotion given him by said middle-aged adolescents. He smells a rat, and calls Baxter on the carpet for a very enlightening and confidential conversation. There's more than one rat, and more than a few middle-aged adolescents here, including those who won't spell it out.

    Shirley MacLaine costars as Fran, a pretty, young elevator operator with no apparent social life. The guys are all intrigued, especially Mr. Baxter. But "no apparent social life" does not equal "NO social life." And thereby hangs the tale.

    Writer/producer/director Billy Wilder had been successful in Hollywood for over two decades before this 1960 hit, having come to the US from Berlin when Hitler came to power in the early '30s when many European Jews wisely fled for freer pastures. He's at his very best here, with the laughs in the early part of the film being delivered with a jaded but not totally jaundiced eye, and the drama and true romance later in the film being delivered first with a few literal hard slaps in the face but then with a light but never schmaltzy hand.

    The film is over two hours, and not a wasted moment. Every performance seems totally natural. It's also a joy to see so many antique appliances functioning as they were created to; the ancient stoves and ovens, the record player, the '50s TV set, the telepones with dials instead of push buttons, the elevator operators and even their ground floor coordinator! It isn't self-conscious or self-congratulatory about any of these things or the characters who use them, either, so in 2005 it plays more like a period piece and not an outdated relic.

    "The Apartment" has my highest recommendation for anyone who hasn't seen it. You owe it to yourself to see this classic, although the American Film Institute really slights it by ranking it only #93 on their top 100 American films of all time. ("Giant" outranks this? Puh-leeze.....)...more info
  • Liberal 1950s New York Mores + Suicide
    This movie provides great sociological insight into 1950s liberal New York's sexual mores. It also features suicide attempts by the two protagonists. Shirley MacLaine's character takes an overdose of sleeping pills; Jack Lemmon's character admits he tried to shoot himself as a younger man.

    The suicide theme plays through to the very end, when MacLaine hears the "pop" of a champagne cork and thinks Lemmon has shot himself again.

    The movie is mostly about sexual mores, however.

    At the office Christmas party you see all sorts of couples making out (presumably they're not married couples), and one of the company's telephone operators does a great mock striptease with a long strand of pearls.

    The one time that the Jack Lemmon character "scores," it's with a married woman whose husband is away in Cuba. They're both drunk on Christmas Eve and she's looking for some action.

    Many of the female characters are chippies who get picked up by older married businessmen. Fred MacMurray, of the wholesome "My Three Sons" fame, is a total slimeball in this picture.

    The movie won a number of Oscars. I thought it was adapted from a Broadway play, but it wasn't.

    It was the last black-and-white film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, until Schindler's List (1993), Steven Spielberg's feel-good Holocaust flick.
    ...more info
  • Movie Review 'The Apartment'
    This movie, 'The Apartment' is an American Classic. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine at their best. A must for anyone who is a movie collector or anyone who just wants to see how romantic comedy was meant to be done. Surprise ending scare that can only leave you(and apropriately so) with 'Shut Up and Deal'....more info
  • One of my top ten films of all time...
    I have seen many great films during my days on this planet, by many great directors, writers, and/or producers. And I really can't remember when I first saw this 1960 "best picture" winner, since I was only five or six years old when it first came out. But over time, upon repeated viewings, I've come back to it with so much enjoyment and a warm feeling that this was (and is), truly one of my top ten Hollywood movies of all time. My "top ten" includes many great films (Close Encounters, the original Apocalypse Now, Titanic, 2001, Wizard of Oz, et al present day), but this will, I think, always remain very special. It's just so good. And all of it still rings true today. "The Apartment" offered and still does, a view of corporate America and the eventual evil of "greed" versus the good of self-integrity and love, boiled down to a few individuals, with both essential romantic and comedic aspects powerfully intact. In other words, this movie is still as timely and great today as it ever was.

    Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray turn in absolutely wonderful performances as the three main characters in this very believable, "love triangle," but this movie is just full of great efforts by so many others including Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Naomi Stevens, and Edie Adams. And legendary Billy Wilder, one of the greatest filmmakers ever, contributes here, writing and directing, cookie-wise, a second to none effort throughout. In retrospect, it's no wonder this film won best picture in its day, and I have loved it for several decades now, and always will. It's one of those movies that if you first see it and like it and understand it early on, upon further screenings, will only engender even more appreciation and love for it. This works from moment one to the classic final scene, as BOTH a comedy and a drama, and even as a seasonal Christmas/New Year's movie in some ways, and mixes all within a film without any serious or even minor flaws.

    Personally, I have been, can, and guess will always be able to identify with Jack Lemmon's character ("Bud or Buddy-Boy"), from beginning to end, which is that of the basic corporate/personal "nice guy" who has always struggled to only finish near the bottom, company-wise, and girl-wise, because of basic morals and ethics concerning both. Spoilers aside, this is really a movie with one of the most satisfying, albeit brief "happy endings" where the nice guy actually finishes gloriously first eventually, at least with the girl. Because while he does not get the higher pay scale corporate position he wants, he does eventually get what he REALLY wants, which of course is, the girl. And what else really matters? While lots of other cinematic efforts have tried to do what this movie does, none have ever really come close, and maybe none ever will.

    Jack Lemmon has always been and will always remain, one of my favorite actors. Around this time, he had already proven himself as a great actor with earlier Wilder and other comedic/dramatic efforts, especially with his genius performance in virtually the same year, in the brilliant "Days of Wine and Roses." Here he plays C.C. Baxter (corporate ladder-climbing, good-hearted nerd/stooge) in a lighter semi-dramatic/comedic role, in a film which still triumphs from start to finish within its central written cores and still resonates, to this day. with eternal, relevant characters and never-ending, compelling filmic themes.

    With a wonderful musical score by Adolph Deutsch (along with various other melodies scattered about, music-wise), this is, in my opinion, a virtually "perfect movie." In an early off-screen narrative at the beginning, written nearly half a century ago, our hero (Lemmon) states, "On November 1st, 1959, the population of New York City was 8,042,783. If you laid all these people end to end, figuring an average height of five feet six and a half inches, they would reach from Times Square to the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. I know facts like this because I work for an insurance company - Consolidated Life of New York. We're one of the top five companies in the country. Our home office has 31,259 employees, which is more than the entire population of uhh... Natchez, Mississippi. I work on the 19th floor. Ordinary Policy Department, Premium Accounting Division, Section W, desk number 861..."

    In the beginning, while more or less satisfied with his lot in life, C.C. Baxter had problems. One, his seemingly but not really comfy, average Manhattan west Central Park APARTMENT (circa-1960, which nobody but the ultra-rich could afford these days), and two, how he had rented the same off and on to a bunch of higher-up corporate co-workers of dubious moral fiber to fool around in, all in hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. When "Fran" (Shirley MacLaine, in her most adorable role ever, imho), the girl/woman he personally loves and wants, somehow, strangely enters the situation, it complicates everything. Because, "Mister Sheldrake" (Fred MacMurray as the main bad guy), who Fran seems to be having had a long-time affair with, is the very big "boss" which Baxter has to impress, corporate-wise. This whole triangle arrangement begins to fall through however, early on, within, and throughout the movie, where "business" morals eventually clash with our hero's personal feelings and his real life, outside "the office and the desire to get ahead in the business world."

    I really can't say that any other film I've ever seen deals so right-on with the undefined lines and eventual conflicts oftentimes inherent within conflicting corporate and real-life environments as far as business and personal romance/love possibilities go except perhaps for "Wall Street" by Oliver Stone (another of my favorite movies, but not a top ten). "The Apartment," released more than two and a half decades earlier, still packs a more powerful punch however, and probably always will, along the same general lines, and every shot, every scene, every line, every individual actor's performance, every situation, is a winner, with no filler. This is Billy Wilder at his best, and `nuff said...
    ...more info
  • An "Apartment" worth checking into!
    There is without a doubt this movie deserved the 1960 Best Picture award,not to mention the other Oscars that contributed to this movie's success. A great cast of Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray (hard to believe this was Fred before his My Three Sons and Disney family movies). This is a movie that has its humorous moments and serious. By the way,if I lived in New York, I would stay at this "apartment". The cost..67 dollars a month back then if you heard Jack Lemmon's dialogue in this movie. But...I am sure the price has jumped since the movie's release in 1960..we can dream can't we? Enjoy your time with Billy Wilder's "The Apartment...worth checking into!...more info
  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    Though probably not as shocking as it was in 1960, The Apartment is still an entertaining and amusing romantic comedy with a sharper edge than most in the genre; though it runs a bit long at 2 hours, the 1961 Best Picture winner is well worth a view....more info
  • OH NO....NOT COLORIZATION AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Shame on you MGM. If directer Billy Wilder wanted this film in color, HE WOULD HAVE SHOT IT IN COLOR. Who are you to change his vision ? Remember, one of the many awards this film won was for Best Photography, BEST BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY. And Best Art Direction, BLACK AND WHITE ART DIRECTION ! You would do best to buy the black and white print. STAY AWAY FROM "COLORIZED" prints. This is an insult to one of Hollywood's greatest directors. What next, a color print of "Some Like It Hot, or "Sunset Blvd". SHAME ON YOU MGM!!!!!!!! ...more info
  • The Apartment
    Great film, this is Shirley McLaine and Jack Lemmon at there best.We see two lonely people look for love in all the wrong places....more info
  • Liberal 1950s New York Mores + Suicide
    This movie provides great sociological insight into 1950s liberal New York's sexual mores. It also features suicide attempts by the two protagonists. Shirley MacLaine's character takes an overdose of sleeping pills; Jack Lemmon's character admits he tried to shoot himself as a younger man.

    The suicide theme plays through to the very end, when MacLaine hears the "pop" of a champagne cork and thinks Lemmon has shot himself again.

    The movie is mostly about sexual mores, however.

    At the office Christmas party you see all sorts of couples making out (presumably they're not married couples), and one of the company's telephone operators does a great mock striptease with a long strand of pearls.

    The one time that the Jack Lemmon character "scores," it's with a married woman whose husband is away in Cuba. They're both drunk on Christmas Eve and she's looking for some action.

    Many of the female characters are chippies who get picked up by older married businessmen. Fred MacMurray, of the wholesome "My Three Sons" fame, is a total slimeball in this picture.

    The movie won a number of Oscars. I thought it was adapted from a Broadway play, but it wasn't.

    It was the last black-and-white film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, until Schindler's List (1993), Steven Spielberg's feel-good Holocaust flick.
    ...more info
  • Wait for a better release... whenever it comes.
    The video transfer is not that good, and no extras. This 5 star movie got a 1,5 star dvd. But deserves an AAA treatment instead. Too bad Jack Lemmon, Fred MacMurray and Billy Wilder are dead. But Shirley MacLaine is still there. I am sure we'll get the right DVD sooner or later. ...more info
    I am reviewing the new collector's edition DVD for this film. The film itself is a true classic and still holds up beautifully. Jack Lemmon is in fine form as well as the entire cast. The print looks great on this edition and there are a couple of very good extras. One about Jack Lemmon and another about the film itself. The film won the Academy Award for 'Best Picture ' in 1960 and if you haven't seen it, maybe it's time you did. A rare insightful film that manages to balance comedy and drama to perfection....more info
  • The definitive movie for the comedy/drama genre
    Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" is a film which can produce some of the biggest laughs and at the same time... can bring many viewers to tears, Billy Wilder's quaint little tale about everyday people who get tangled up in love, jealousy and infidelity boasts a top-notch cast led by the trio of Lemmon, MacLaine and MacMurray who are tremendous. The plot revolves around C.C. (Lemmon) who unknowingly makes the unethical attempt of climbing the corporate ladder by 'loaning' his apartment to members from his management chain to entertain their 'women on the side'. Given the change of circumstances, this premise certainly could even hit home in the current office environment. Although the office party and secretarial gossip scenes could be viewed as dated, the power and attitude of the corporate executive, Mr. Sheldrake (MacMurray) is certainly symbolic. The character of Fran (MacLaine) for today's standards of course seems too submissive and vulnerable but the reward of her finding true, admirable, unconditional companionship is quite enriching and fulfilling to any who see this memorable film....more info
  • Outstanding
    This was really a wonderful movie, the acting, the actors
    and the storyline. This movie, I think, would even make it
    with "todays audience".
    A very believable drama with great humor....more info
  • Enjoyable
    This movie deserved the Oscar for Best Picture in 1960. Loved the acting from Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. Don't be put off by the black-and-white. A good movie is a good movie regardless if it's not in color. A fun and charming romantic comedy....more info
  • Ah, insurance companies....
    Very, very good and a bit sad. And most frighteningly there is a scene early on in the movie that shows show Jack Lemmon working in an insurance company in a sea of desk. I would say "pre-cubicle days" but it was nearly duplicated at an insurance company in New York in real life around 1989. Had I seen the movie beforehand I would not have been able to work there without giggleing every time I entered that gigantic room.

    Fred MacMurray was wonderful, and in this movie I can really see what people saw in Shirley MacLaine. And it really started me off on watching more movies by Billy Wilder. Which are adult films in the right sense of the word. If you are 16, the odds really are that you are just going to "get it". There are things to laugh at, but the horror aspect of it all might not be apparent.

    The black and white film will put people off, but it suits it. It was the last black and white film to win "Best Picture" (at least I think so) and it deserved it....more info
  • Shut up and deal."
    Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, who is strongarmed by his executive bosses into letting them use his apartment for after-hours rendezvous with woman. Things get complicated when the big boss, played wonderfully by Fred MacMurray, wants to use it, too, only it's to use it with a girl that Lemmon likes also. Shirley Maclaine plays the girl, and she's never been better. The movie goes on too long, especially in the middle part when Maclaine is forced to stay with Lemmon after a suicide attempt after she learns that MacMurray is only stringing her along. But the movie has a great sophisticated feel about it, thanks to Billy Wilder's script and direction, and the great theme music. Quite a bit of the movie remains memorable long after viewing it. It won a bunch of Oscars and deservedly so. Definitely worth a watch....more info
  • The Apartment: Uplifting Rather than Funny
    There is no question that THE APARTMENT was a worthy winner as best picture in 1960. A question that does come to mind is whether it should have won as best drama rather than best comedy. More than a few viewers have asked whether it is a comedy with darkly dramatic overtones or simply the reverse. The answer is a function of how one sees it today and how audiences saw it back in 1960. When it was released, American corporate culture was marked by dehumanized masses of workers endlessly crushed together in football-sized fields of offices. To rise in the pecking order, one had to leapfrog over the shoulders of one's co-workers often using any means necessary. Director Billy Wilder took this as the film's basic subtext to create a flashpoint around which America could revolve to examine whether this kind of lifestyle had any lasting endurance. By the film's end, as Shirley MacLaine quipped "Deal the cards," she indicates that this culture of death was powerful indeed, but if one were willing to abandon it in favor of seeking the company of like minded individuals, then those like her and Jack Lemmon could survive and thrive in a much smaller world of human touch and feeling. The thrust of the film then was one of dark comedy leavened slightly by the over the top comic reactions of sexual predators who were predators more in their minds than in reality. Today, as we view THE APARTMENT, we do not have the same cultural blinders of a deadening sense of corporate dehumanization that was then relevant. We see the huge offices of worker drones and think no more of them than we do of similar cinematic subtexts from THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Instead we see more clearly the comic end. We laugh at the foolish sexual excesses of Lemmon's key borrowing friends who find out too late that the women whom they take to the apartment go there with eyes wide open and see these pathetic losers as one step upward on the ladder of corporate success. Further, we today find a strange mixture of amusement and anger in some of the film's less noted scenes. Remember when Lemmon tells MacLaine early on that he knows her address, her social security number, and other private data? She acts bemused, but now we call that sort of knowledge gathering as perilously close to stalking. Remember when MacMurray has his shoes shined by a black shoe shine man? That black man was very nearly the only Afro-American in the entire film and he was a shoe shine boy. It is quite clear that both scenes encapsulate cinematic subtexts that unconsciously mark the 60s as a given but today ring painfully clear that what passes for comedy or drama or race relations depends heavily on the mindset of the audience far more so than on that of the director or cast. We see THE APARTMENT as a brilliant expose of corporate America, we marvel at the superb acting of the entire cast, but for the definitive analysis we must ultimately look inward to see what we bring to the cinematic table....more info
  • Great movie to watch anytime!
    The movie was great! It's funny to see the same nonsense that happens nowadays being portrayed years ago. The more things change they definitely stay the same!...more info
    THE APARTMENT was a wonderful satirical harpooning of the corporate world in the sixties ( when I first saw it ),and it hasn't lost any of its 'edge' in the intervening decades. Although Billy Wilder's view of romance always seemed to be slightly askew, even with darker subject matter ( attempted suicide, as a for instance ) there was usually a current of hope beneath the ascerbic wit inherent in his films.

    Jack Lemmon's character, C.C. Baxter, has inadvertantly found his key to success, and oddly enough it happens to be the same one that opens his apartment door. He manages to get promoted several times by allowing his slimey bosses to use his apartment for a 'love nest,' even at the expense of his health. His own loneliness seems to be about to end when the lovely, Fran Kubelik ( Shirley McLaine, who is electric in this role ) agrees to a date, but stands him up after succumbing ( once again ) to the lines of the philandering director of the company Baxter works for. Baxter is promoted by J.D Sheldrake ( played to oily perfection by Fred MacMurray ), the aforementioned director, in return for access to his apartment.

    Then Fran tries to kill herself on Christmas Eve in Baxter's bedroom, while Baxter is on his drunken way home with the equally, intoxicated, wife of an incarcerated jockey.

    If you have not seen this movie you owe it to yourself to do so. It is at the top of the food chain comedy-wise.

    ...more info
  • Is this funny?
    That question has been asked since this movie was released. Is it a drama with comic undertones or a comedy with dramatic overtones? I don't know. I do know that the Academy "got it right" when they made this the Best Picture of 1960. Wilder's genius in seeing the humor of everyday life and how it helps us continue living is fully developed in this movie. The principals experience the triumph of humor over pain. While this may not be a feel good film, "Shut up and deal." is an excellent battle cry.
    How realistic is the movie? Very! The office is Met Life in New York. Yes, this is office work prior to the introduction of computers. No one thought the conditions were bad and Met Life was thought to be an excellent employer. There is no law about sexual harassment and the term MCP has not been coined. I say this to show how realistic the film is and how sure the portrayals are.
    The cast is great! Jack Lemmon is a sure-footed as ever. He is the rising young white-collar worker determined to secure every advantage and promotion. Smitten by Shirley MacLaine, Lemmon proceeds in a stumbling bumbling comic courtship of the unattainable. Fred MacMurray breaks out of his good guy image with an outstanding performance as a bully and womanizer.
    This is one of Wilder's best films and one of the few must see movies in existence. While not a funny comfortable film, it is thought provoking and enjoyable.
    ...more info
  • Delicious 'Lemmonaid'!
    It SHOULD be sufficient to report that Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine feature in this superb classic movie.

    These two superb actors, carry this brilliant story and script along, effortlessly. Supporting cast members also contribute although to be honest I, personally, have never liked Fred McMurray in 'bad guy' roles. This doesn't detract from his acting ability, though.

    This is a super movie and there must, in all honesty, be something wrong with anyone who doesn't find it a rattling good tale - brilliantly acted and Directed throughout. ...more info
  • Two lonely people find each other
    I read the "'s critic Sarah Chauncey's review of this movie and I think she watched it with her eyes and ears closed. I don't know how old Sarah is, or maybe it's just sad that a younger audience dosen't appreciate gentle and sweet anymore. I saw this movie many years ago and I feel it has stood the test of time. What's changed in an office setting? Not much really. A few more woman have gotten executive positions, but it's still a man's world. What have woman really gotten from "woman's lib"? We do more work now than we ever did, we're exausted, our children aren't being raised by us anymore and are suffering dearly for it. Jack Lemmon was one of our best actors, Shirley MacLane is still wonderful, take a look at this movie I think you'll like it....more info
  • They don't make movies like this anymore
    Today's business culture and legal system being what they are, many younger people today are totally unaware of the prevalence of sexual harassment/domination in the workplace as it used to be. Using that theme as a backdrop, "The Apartment" is one of those rare movies that makes you happy, sad, happy, sad ... it's an emotional roller-coaster from start to finish. A great storyline and awesome cast (besides headliners Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine you have great supporting actors such as Fred McMurray, Ray Walston and Edie Adams) make this a genuine period classic that snapshots an era in American culture....more info
  • Superb Movie
    I bought this DVD for research purposes. I will be performing in "Promises, Promises" the musical based on "The Apartment". I am so glad I bought this DVD, as this is a great film. That's not just my opinion. "The Apartment" was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and won 5, including Best Picture and Best Director in 1960.

    This film will speak to you on many levels. On one level, it is an indictment of corporate politics and a condemnation of philandering executives. On another level, it is an examination of extramarital affairs, and the sometimes dire consequences. On another level, it is a love story where a damsel in distress literally meets her white knight. Then again, it is about people who fall into the abyss, only to find redemption and the happiness they deserve. It is about knowing what is right, and finally finding the courage to do what is right.

    The cinematography is great, as is the lighting. The setup is perfect. We are shown the enormity of a life insurance company, with its 31,000 employees in the Manhattan headquarters. The shots of the teeming, faceless humanity are fantastic. The long shots of the endless office are fabulous, and will make you appreciate black and white. Out of this morass, we are asked to get to know 3 people; C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), Fran Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine) and J.D. Sheldrake (Fred Macmurray). They are embroiled in a love triangle that will change all of their lives.

    The late, great, Jack Lemmon is a wonderful C.C. (Chuck) Baxter. Lemmon was a dapper 35 years of age when this film was made. He wants to get ahead, and he does so by selling himself out. He loans his apartment to senior executives for their extramarital assignations. They in turn promise to move him up the corporate ladder. There is humor in this, as Baxter trys to juggle "appointments" with 4 different execs. But, as in the rest of this film, there is a pathos to it.

    Chuck has quite a thing for cute elevator operator Fran, played by a 26 year old Shirley Maclaine. She returns his innocent flirtations, but for some reason keeps her distance. Maclaine is all sweetness and vulnerability. So, why won't she go out with Chuck?

    As it turns out, Fran has a boyfriend. That boyfriend is the Director of Personnel, J.D. Sheldrake. Sheldrake is quite married, and has slept with many women in the office, including his Secretary Peggy Olsen. Macmurray plays a wonderful cad. He is not sleazy or oily. He is able to continue stringing Fran along until one fateful Christmas Eve.

    I won't continue discussing the plot, as you need to experience it as it unfolds. While "what happens next" is not a huge leap of the imagination, the skill of the actors and the sensitive direction make for fascinating viewing. There are some great scenes in this film. The pivotal Christmas Eve scene with Sheldrake and Fran will get you at a visceral level. Macmurray and Maclaine shine here; her with vulnerability and his meeting her vulnerability with incredible insensitivity. Brilliant. Lemmon shines in the "discovery" scene when he figures out that Fran is involved with Sheldrake. Sheldrake had borrowed the apartment for a rendezvous with Fran, and Fran left her compact behind. The compact had a broken mirror. Chuck, not knowing who it belonged to, returned it to Sheldrake. Later, at a Christmas Eve party, Fran loans her mirror to Chuck, who recognizes it. Lemmon communicated so many emotions with his face, his voice, and his body. He was such an actor.

    This movie is listed among the Top 100 movies of all time, and it deserves a place on your shelf.

    Highly recommended. ...more info
  • A Mensch Is A Guy Named Billy Wilder
    Few Hollywood film-makers have been nominated for Oscars more times than Billy Wilder. In his stellar career Wilder recieved a total of twenty one nominations. He walked home with the coveted statue six times. And he's one of a very select group to have pulled off a "hat trick", by winning Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenwriter Oscars, all for the same film. The year was 1960 and the motion picture was The Apartment. In fact The Apartment was nomiated for ten awards and won a total of five Oscars.

    Much has been made of the film being dated today. Of course, the corporate workplace of 1960 seems antiquated when compared to today's automated, computerized technology. But the same holds true of hospitals, colleges & universities and even your modern supermarket. If anything, there's a quaint charm in revisiting corporate America circa 1960. But have office politics changed in almost fifty years? Just because typewriters have been replaced by desk-top computers, has human nature changed? Is the skirt chasing executive, who goes home to wife and kids in the suburbs, a different breed today than he was back then? You know the answer.

    Billy Wilder's greatest asset as a film-maker was his keen understanding of human nature. Wilder, the director knew the characters up on the screen inside out...Why?...Because, as co-screenwriter, along with longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond, he not only put the words in their mouth, he had an innate knowledge of what made people tick. Wilder could size up situations and knew instinctively how to play them with the utmost dramatic effect. Yet he never overstates and in almost all situations he never looses his masterful comic touch.

    What makes this film so delightful for me is watching C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) make the transformation from "nebbish" to "mensch". For those who don't know, a nebbish is one who has no backbone. He will readily compromise his principles, in order to please those in a position of authority. A mensch, on the other hand will always stand up for what he believes in. He has deep convictions and he has a moral compass. A mensch will never alter his sense of right and wrong. So when C.C. Baxter hands over the key to the executive wash room to Mr. J.D. Sheldrake (Fred McMurry) he makes that miraculous transformation from nebbish to mensch.

    It's hard not to love this movie. It really has it all...The classic love triangle, corporate back-stabbing, near tragedy and loads of Wilder's unique brand of subtle humor. True, times have changed. There may not be anymore elevator operators, typists or junior executives....But a nebbish is still a nebbish and a mensch is a guy named Billy Wilder!

    ...more info
  • Surprisingly Poignant Dramedy Done in Classic Wilder Style
    Even though filmmaker Billy Wilder has made a number of masterpieces in different genres in a long career (e.g., "Double Indemnity", "Sunset Boulevard", "Some Like It Hot"), 1960's "The Apartment" still ranks as one of my favorites in his canon. The film has his trademark cynical humor (Wilder co-scripted with his longtime partner, I.A.L. Diamond), but it seems to have a deeper conscience and a more open heart than many of his other films. Even as a period piece, it is brimming with subtle observations about social mores and corporate culture in the early sixties. Very little has changed since then, which is why the movie doesn't seem as dated as others. In fact, the film seems to resonate even more today as a social commentary than the intended comedy it was supposed to be at the time. A very young and energetic Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, an ambitious insurance company desk jockey looking for his rung on the ladder. Toward that end, Baxter loans his apartment to sleazy, married executives at his office in need of a place to frolic with their mistresses. His novel way of networking does yield a promotion from the head of the company, J.D. Sheldrake (initials were big as "first" names back then), played to smarmy, hypocritical perfection by none other than Fred MacMurray, who was then mired in wholesome Disney films and soon "My Three Sons". He was a last-minute replacement for the great curmudgeon of a character actor, Paul Douglas, who died suddenly before production. Wilder wisely hired MacMurray, who had not tapped into his dark side since being duped by Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity".

    The complicating factor in Baxter's upward mobility is that Sheldrake's mistress is Fran Kubelik, the office elevator girl with whom Baxter is already smitten. Since Shirley MacLaine is still quite active in movies today, it's often hard to remember what a charming, effervescent gamine she was before she starred in her own elephantine movies in the sixties. As MacLaine still is, she can be a wonderful actress, and she plays Fran effectively as a beaten victim of unwise love with a palpable depth of self-loathing. It's a lovely, unassuming performance, and the first conversation between Baxter and Fran in the elevator is quite sweet. But it is Lemmon, who dominates the picture with his affable demeanor and ironic sincerity. In anybody else's hands, Baxter would have been a put-upon schnook who deserves being punished for facilitating extramarital affairs in his apartment. Instead, Lemmon injects so much of his innate humanism into Baxter that the slow recovery of his conscience in the face of Fran's suicide attempt makes you happy with the inevitable ending. He also gives the first indication of the fine dramatic actor he was to become in his subsequent heavier films, "Days of Wine and Roses" and "Save the Tiger". Comparatively speaking, it's a modest addition to the Wilder filmography but one that does pierce the heart unexpectedly while making you laugh....more info