5.0 out of 5 stars THE APARTMENT  [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
THE APARTMENT  [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Movie-wise, There Has Never Been Been Anything Like ‘The Apartment’
Winner of five 1960 Academy Awards® and including Best Picture* for ‘The Apartment’ and is by the legendary director Billy Wilder at his most scathing and satirical best. With audio commentary from film producer and AFI member...
Published 7 months ago by Andrew C. Miller
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A CINEMATIC TREASURE GETS LOWLY TREATMENT ON DVD
Legendary director, Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" is one of those little jabs of tawdry pleasure that crop up every once in a while. It's the tale of an overworked office jockey, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) who wants so desperately to gain access to the executive suite that he starts renting out his apartment to company executives that are having affairs with...
Published on April 20 2003 by Nix Pix
Most Helpful First | Newest First
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A CINEMATIC TREASURE GETS LOWLY TREATMENT ON DVD,
Legendary director, Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" is one of those little jabs of tawdry pleasure that crop up every once in a while. It's the tale of an overworked office jockey, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) who wants so desperately to gain access to the executive suite that he starts renting out his apartment to company executives that are having affairs with their secretaries. Baxter's shy repartee with elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) seems promising enough for an office romance of his own. That is, until Baxter learns that Fran is in love with his boss, Jeff Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). However, when Fran accepts that her affair with Jeff can go nowhere because he refuses to divorce his wife, she begins to realize her night in shining armor might not come with a key to the executive washroom, but is genuine and good for her nevertheless.
MGM DVD has done a below average job of remastering this DVD. The 2:35:1 anamorphic picture exhibits overly harsh, digital characteristics that are wholly unflattering. Though the gray scale is well balanced, offering fine detail, there are excessive amounts of shimmering, edge enhancement and aliasing throughout. Shadow delineation and contrast levels during the night scenes are poorly rendered. The soundtrack is mono and strident. There are no extras.
5.0 out of 5 stars THE APARTMENT  [Blu-ray] [UK Release],
This review is from: Apartment [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)
THE APARTMENT  [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Movie-wise, There Has Never Been Been Anything Like ‘The Apartment’
Winner of five 1960 Academy Awards® and including Best Picture* for ‘The Apartment’ and is by the legendary director Billy Wilder at his most scathing and satirical best. With audio commentary from film producer and AFI member Bruce Block and two documentaries, including a loving tribute to actor Jack Lemmon.
Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter [Jack Lemmon] knows the way to success in business...it’s through the door of his apartment. By providing a perfect hideaway for philandering bosses, the ambitious young employee reaps a series of undeserved promotions. But when Bud lends the key to big boss J.D. Sheldrake [Fred MacMurray], he not only advances his career, but his own love life as well. For Sheldrake’s mistress is the lovely Fran Kubelik [Shirley MacLaine], elevator girl and angel of Bud’s dreams. Convinced that he is the only man for Fran, Bud must make the most important executive decision of his career: lose the girl...or his job.
FILM FACT: ‘The Apartment’ received 10 Academy Award nominations and won 5 Academy Awards at the 1960 33rd Academy Awards Oscars® and they were: Best Picture (Billy Wilder). Best Director (Billy Wilder). Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond). Best Film Editing (Daniel Mandell). Best Art Direction and Set Directing (Black-and-White) (Alexandre Trauner and Edward G. Boyle). Nominated: Best Actor (Jack Lemmon). Best Actress )Shirley MacLaine). Best Supporting Actor (Jack Kruschen). Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (Joseph LaShelle). Best Sound (Gordon E. Sawyer). ‘The Apartment’ also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film for Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine and also both won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe each for their performances.
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Hope Holiday, Joan Shawlee, Naomi Stevens, Johnny Seven, Joyce Jameson, Hal Smith, Willard Waterman, David White and Edie Adams
Director: Billy Wilder
Producer: Billy Wilder
Screenplay: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Composer: Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle
Video Resolution: 1080p [Black and White]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Anamorphic]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 120 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: While it may be hard to imagine now, ‘The Apartment’  actually shocked some moviegoers upon its initial release. The problem wasn't the central premise - an ambitious office worker performs dubious favours in exchange for career advancement, but the actual treatment of it. In the hands of writer-director Billy Wilder and his collaborator I. A. L. Diamond, ‘The Apartment’ became a razor-sharp farce that equated corporate success with immorality. Actually, filmmakers in communist Russia viewed it as an indictment against capitalism. The central character, Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter, is actually little more than a pimp for upper management while the girl of his dreams, elevator-operator Fran Kubelik, is a demoralised working girl whose solution to a failed love affair is to commit suicide. These are not the most wholesome characters in the world and we're talking about the hero and heroine! However, as played by Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Bud and Fran not only win the audience's sympathy but also charm them in the process. The most astonishing thing about The Apartment is how Billy Wilder manages to keep the tone light and playful while exposing the worst aspects of Manhattan corporate life, from the drunken office parties to the casual adultery committed by married employees. Despite these controversial elements, the film racked up ten Oscar nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director of 1960.
‘The Apartment’ marked the first time Shirley MacLaine had worked with Billy Wilder and she quickly discovered that her habit of occasionally improvising or changing dialogue was not welcome. For example, she delivered a wonderful take of a scene set in the company elevator but it had to be re-shot when Wilder discovered she had omitted one word of dialogue. Still, Billy Wilder was sufficiently impressed with her acting to cast her in the lead role of ‘Irma la Douce’ . ‘The Apartment’ also won Shirley MacLaine her second Oscar nomination as Best Actress (the first time was for ‘Some Came Running’ in 1958).
Getting ahead in life can be rather difficult. With the business world seemingly rigged, many desperate individuals will try just about anything to catch a break or find a leg up, leading to some pretty creative strategies. The protagonist of Billy Wilder's 'The Apartment,' is one such desperate, but crafty individual, and in order to climb the professional ladder he resorts to some decidedly out-of-the-box thinking. A masterful blend of comedy and pathos, the film presents a charming, entertaining tale of romance that isn't afraid to tread into some surprisingly dark subject matter. Led by Jack Lemmon's effortless, everyman charisma, and Shirley MacLaine's heart-breaking allure, the film easily stands the test of time, putting most, similar modern efforts to shame.
Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter [Jack Lemmon] is a low level employee at a big insurance company who dreams of rising to the top of the corporate world. In order to make his ambitions a reality, he has devised a devious little scheme to win over the good graces of his superiors, by letting his bosses use his apartment for their various adulterous affairs. The plan works like a charm, and soon Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter [Jack Lemmon] is invited to meet with the company's head honcho, Jeff D. Sheldrake [Fred MacMurray]). It turns out Sheldrake wants to utilise Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter's unique services as well, and not wanting to pass up the potential for a big promotion, he seizes the opportunity. Unfortunately, the situation takes a dramatic turn when Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter discovers that Jeff D. Sheldrake's romantic partner is none other than the building's lovable elevator attendant, Fran Kubelik [Shirley MacLaine]. After he develops feelings for Ms. Fran Kubelik, and then Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter begins to rethink his strategies, and must ultimately choose between business and love.
The true genius of the film revolves around its perfect mixture of comedy and drama. The main plot features a delightfully subversive sense of humour that presents a cynical satire on corporate America. Highly influenced by the great Ernst Lubitsch, Wilder gives his characters playful, unique personalities and biting, memorable lines of dialogue. In sharp contrast to many modern comedies, the humour is given time to develop and breath, with Wilder often lingering on shots, letting Jack Lemmon draw out and build extra bits of amusement. While all of the comedy works brilliantly throughout, the movie actually takes a very dark turn at its half way point, and somehow Wilder is able to balance the tones without skipping a beat. In fact, not only does the drama not end up clashing with the comedy, it actually turns out to be incredibly effective and powerful. A certain downtrodden malaise casts over the second half, showering the proceedings in a sobering mist that draws some very realistic characterisations while still maintaining an ultimately life affirming charm. It's a truly remarkable juggling act, and Billy Wilder makes it all seem so easy.
One particular scene becomes a great example of the film's oscillating, but perfectly harmonious tones. At an office Christmas party, Ms. Fran Kubelik is given some bad news about her precarious relationship with Jeff D. Sheldrake. Depressed and sombre, she runs into Baxter who enthusiastically shows her his brand new office. Baxter carries on, trying on a silly hat with a playful smile while acting like a giddy fool. All the while, Fran Kubelik continues to wallow in sadness on the complete opposite end of the emotional spectrum. The manner in which the dialogue and interactions are written and performed almost makes it seem like the characters are in two completely different films. Jack Lemmon appears to be in a light-hearted comedy and Shirley MacLaine is clearly in a drama, but somehow they come together, and it works beautifully.
In the included special features, it's revealed that the director feared Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter might prove unlikeable to audiences, but honestly I'm not really sure what Billy Wilder was worried about. It's nearly impossible for Jack Lemmon to seem unlikeable, and as Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter the actor absolutely wins over viewers. The character is a classic lovable loser, a lonely "schnook" with a good heart that makes some poor decisions. Jack Lemmon plays up all the right comedic and dramatic beats, and demonstrates a great talent for physical comedy. As memorable as the actor is, Shirley MacLaine might actually be the real scene stealer. Her performance as Fran Kubelik is irresistible and touching. Her sadness is palpable, and Shirley MacLaine underplays the emotions with heart-breaking restraint, revealing devastating bits of anger and sorrow through simple glances and fleeting lines of dialogue. The pair has incredible chemistry and make for one of cinemas most lovable on screen couples.
Billy Wilder injects a surprisingly strong visual style into the proceedings. Opting for a wide, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the director often uses the full scope of the frame. Character placement and blocking take advantage of the added space, enhancing bits of drama and comedy. There is a great economy of shots on display as well, with the director choosing to cut to new angles only when functionally necessary or dramatically important. Many scenes feature relatively long takes with wide masters. The film is home to stark, noir influenced lighting, which helps to set it apart from typical comedies, bolstering the narrative's unique blend of tones. Production design is also top notch, with some inventive forced perspective set construction used to exaggerate the business world's dehumanizing grip. In addition, the apartment itself takes on a life of its own, becoming a cosy retreat from the movie's harsh corporate environment.
'The Apartment' is a true classic, a perfectly balanced masterpiece that celebrates love's joys and heartaches with wit and insight. The film has inspired many imitators and has become the prototypical romantic dramedy that all subsequent releases aspire to be. Truly ahead of its time, the movie actually feels fresher today than the majority of its numerous modern copycats. Through the story of lonely Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter, Billy Wilder tells the tale of a simple "schnook" who learns how to be a real "mensch," illuminating all of the cynical and heart-warming realities of life along the way.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The film is provided with a stunning black and white 1080p transfer in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Authentic to the filmmakers' intentions, this is a wonderful, nicely preserved transfer.
The print is in fantastic shape, but there are some very minor specks here and there (mostly in the opening shots). A light layer of grain is visible throughout giving the image a pleasing, natural filmic quality. Clarity is good, revealing all of the little, painstaking production details. Wilder utilizes the widescreen frame to its full advantage, and the transfer does a nice job of showcasing his understated, economical, but still artful compositions with nice instances of depth. With that said, wide shots do look a tad soft. Contrast is nice and high, featuring bright whites that pop and deep, inky blacks that really show off the film's noir influenced lighting design. Some very mild edge enhancement pops up in a few scenes, but doesn't hurt the presentation. 'The Apartment' shines nicely on Blu-ray in a faithful, consistent transfer. With very little signs of damage or age, the image carries a clean, mostly pristine look throughout that should more than please fans.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The film is provided with an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track along with Spanish and French mono tracks. Subtitle option includes English SDH. Resisting the urge to spruce up the original mono elements too much, this is a respectful remix that does the film justice.
Dialogue is clear and full throughout with no signs of crackle or hiss. The soundstage remains faithful to the movie's mono roots but has been opened up slightly in subtle but effective ways. Speech and other effects are occasionally spread out directionally when appropriate, and soft echoes of music and ambient sounds hit the rear speakers. The wonderful score comes through with nice fidelity demonstrating pleasing range with no distortion. Low end activity is minimal, but for a movie of this type that is to be expected. Balance between all of the audio elements is handled well. While I usually prefer for mono films to retain their original track, this 5.1 remix is so subtle and unobtrusive that I didn't mind it at all. With no major signs of age or distortion, this is a very solid track.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary with Film Historian Bruce Block: Bruce Block provides an informative and steady discussion of the movie, rife with production trivia and facts. Various details on the film's locations, casting, schedule, production design, and visual style are all touched upon. Block also describes several scenes that were cut from the final edit and even reads a few excerpts from the original script, demonstrating how close the finished product stays to the writers' detailed descriptions. Some background information on Billy Wilder is thrown in, including talk about his love for Ernst Lubitsch films and their heavy influence on his work. Though Block does repeat himself a bit throughout, this is a pretty strong commentary that fans should definitely check out.
Inside The Apartment [30:00] This is an interesting look back at the film's production, featuring interviews with some of the cast and crew. Billy Wilder's path to Hollywood is discussed along with details on the inspirations for the movie's risqué subject matter. Participants touch upon the film's innovative mixture of tones and share various anecdotes from the set.
Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon [13:00] Here the focus is on actor Jack Lemmon. Interviews with his son (who looks and sounds a lot like him) and biographer are included, sharing lots of details on his life and approach to acting.
Theatrical Trailer [2:00] [1080p] The Theatrical Trailer is included.
Finally, 'The Apartment' is a genuine masterpiece, a rare film that perfectly marries humour and drama into a beautifully insightful and entertaining package. By blending sombre pathos, biting satire, and light-hearted charm, Billy Wilder ends up with a truly unique piece of cinema that was way ahead of its time. The video transfer is strong, remaining faithful to the filmmaker's intentions, and though it's a mostly unnecessary remix, the new 5.1 track does the movie justice. The special features aren't exactly mind blowing, but the commentary and documentary are a very welcomed inclusion. Basically, this is a stunning wonderful Blu-ray disc for a really special beautiful classic Billy Wilder film, who is one my all-time favourite Directors, who has never made a duff film in my opinion and is so sad this wonderful person is not around anymore to make more brilliant films, as Billy Wilder scripts are so poignant and character drive and it is so wonderful to add this to my ever increasing Billy Wilder Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
5.0 out of 5 stars "I love you, Miss Kubelik.",
Buddy Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a meek and mild nobody in an enormous insurance company who has an "arrangement" with his superiors: They can use his apartment to entertain their ladyfriends in exchange for recommendations for his promotion. The deal works out fine, until he discovers that his big boss (Fred MacMurray)'s girlfriend is the object of his own affection, elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine).
"The Apartment" is a quiet, character-driven comedy about shady dealings in the world of big business, with just enough touching dramatic scenes to tug at your heart, and it won the 1960 Best Picture Oscar, thanks to the excellent cast and honest script. Nobody played the Everyman character as well as Lemmon. He's involved in an unsavory situation, but is so sweet, likeable, and noble that you really care about him. MacLaine gives an uncharacteristically subdued and thoughtful performance, and MacMurray is perfect as philandering paramour. The beautiful title tune is one of the loveliest movie love themes ever. The subject matter was considered somewhat racy back then, but now it would probably be rated PG. A clever, sweet, and entertaining movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute Gem from Lemmon and Wilder,
Mr. Lemmon figured prominently in a good dozen of the best films ever made, and he is at the absolute top of his game in "The Apartment" as C.C. Baxter - an up and coming business man who makes his way through the corporate ranks faster than usual by making his apartment available to higher executives to carry on affairs without paying for hotel rooms. This is probably a borderline premise for a romantic comedy today, and it must have seemed absolutely scandalous 44 years ago, but the truth is that it is very contemporary in tone today while also being funny, thoughtful and poignant. It's too bad there's noone as clever as Billy Wilder making Romantic Comedies today. Shirley Maclaine has never been better, and anyone who grew up watching Fred MacMurray in "My Three Sons" or any of those Disney films will be surprised to see him playing an absolute scumbag in this movie. The dialogue is witty and sharp and the acting is crisper than a fresh celery stick. This is a good time.
5.0 out of 5 stars No Rain,
I'm not going to rain on anybody's parade. This is a terrific movie, and lots of other reviewers have already ticked off all of the things that make it terrific. It's smart and sophisticated, with plenty of witty dialogue. Although some of the details are dated, such as the interminable rows of pencil pushers at desks with adding machines, the underlying office politics are just as real and just as nasty today as ever. The acting is great. Not only are Lemmon and MacLaine wonderful together, the rest of the cast is also excellent.
The only thing I have to add is that, despite clever lines, funny scenes and an acceptably happy ending, THE APARTMENT is as much a drama as it is a comedy. The seamy undercurrent of office politics and the way people ruthlessly use each in their personal relationships gives this little tale a grim, almost vicious, feel at times. Much of what you see in THE APARTMENT is not the least bit funny.
Not to be repetitive, but this is an outstanding movie. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's not really a family movie, though. True to the period in which it was made, there's no overt sexual content, but there are definitely adult themes and kids probably wouldn't fully "get" what's going on, anyway. Be that as it may, THE APARTMENT would be a great addition to almost any classic movie collection.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bud's success is an open door policy...,
'Bud' Baxter (Jack Lemon) works for an insurance company in New York and throughout his career he has seen the slow process of few people advancing within the company. However, Bud has found the quick way for professional success and progress as he lends out his apartment to his superiors. The apartment functions as a love nest for his bosses as they can continue their secret love affairs unhindered . Regularly Bud has to return late at night as his superiors are leaving his apartment after a rendezvous with a mistress. This is wearing out Bud both emotionally and physically as he must clean up the mess and deal with the neighbors gossip. When the head of the company wants to borrow his key to his apartment he does not only advance his career, he also discovers the woman of his life. But it comes with a price as he must chose between his career and love.
Billy Wilder is canny as he crafts this story about Bud and the escapades around his apartment. There are two factors that Wilder uses that make the film readily available for a large audience. First Wilder tells a story which people can relate to and second he makes it a comedy, which makes people laugh. These two simple steps are fundamental for a successful film. In addition, Wilder displays his remarkable storytelling skills as he creates this comedy with serious undertones similar to some of William Shakespeare's comedies and this offers depth and makes this film also a good one. In the end, Wilder leaves the audience with a first class story that offers a brilliant cinematic experience as it leaves the audience with a message.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!,
I first saw The Apartment on TCM and I thought it was fantastic. It is a dramatic movie with some witty dialogue and is about a man named C.C. Baxter played by Jack Lemmon being taken advantage of by his superiors who use his apartment for their extra marital affairs with promises of rising up the corporate ladder and when they put in a good word for him with the boss he gets promoted and when the boss played by Fred MacMurray finds out about the arrangement with the apartment he makes Baxter give him a key so he can use the apartment for his trysts with his mistress Fran Kuberlik who also happens to be the sweet elevator operator at work that Baxter has a crush on. Of course it can be said that Baxter was also taking advantage of the situation with his apartment to get ahead at work. I don't want to give away too much information about this movie and spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it so I will just give that brief description and say that Jack Lemmon was great as Baxter and Shirley MacLaine was wonderful as Miss Kuberlik and Fred MacMurray was good as the boss and his character was so different than the loveable Dad he played in My Three Sons. In this movie his character is so cold and calulating but he did a great job of it and I highly recommend this movie on DVD which I think was done very well, yeah maybe some scenes show it's age a little with the white flickering spots but it's pretty mild and kind of adds to the charm of watching a black and white movie. This movie at the time it was made could have been filmed in color but was intentionally filmed in black and white and I think it really fits the mood of the film. I very highly recommend The Apartment!
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars...Film-Wise....4 Stars...DVD-Wise,
This review refers to the DVD edtion(MGM) of "The Apartment"
This 1960 winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1960,touched our hearts and made us smile 43 years ago and still does today. It has not lost one bit of it's charm and continues to add new fans all the time. It's a treasure chest of great cinema moments, and a must own for collectors of classics, Billy Wilder or Jack Lemmon films.
Lemmon's immense talent shines through as C.C. Baxter, one of thousands of office workers in a huge company who is quickly working his way to the top floor and the executive washroom. He's got what it takes to get ahead...he's a dedicated employee, and a hard worker, he's got they key to success...and it opens the door to his apartment! It seems the powers that be on the upper floors have discovered this single guy's bachelor pad and have badgered Baxter into letting them use it for their little extracurricular activities.
Things get complicated for C.C. though, when the big boss wants in on the action. He wants the apartment for his own use and now C.C. has a chance to go all the way to the top floor.But the rewards are bittersweet..Mr. Sheldrake's girl turns out to be the very sweet elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik. The very girl that C.C. adores himself.
The moments as we watch C.C. agonize over this dilemma are touchingly funny,and poignant. Lemmon is brillant in his portrayal as he is able to bring all these emotions to the screen.The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Shirley MacLaine(Fran) will touch your heart, Fred MacMurray(Sheldrake) is marvelous at his turn as the philandering exec(you'll see him in a very different light from his "My Three Sons" role), and also look for such great notables as Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Joan Shawlee,Hope Holiday and the wonderful Edie Adams. Oscar also honored legendary director Billy Wlider for his work as director and another for screenplay along with I.A.L. Diamond. The music by Adolph Deutsch is as sweet as the story and will stay with you for quite some time after the view.
Overall the DVD was quite good. This 43 year old film looked pretty good. It could use a little improvement. There were times when it showed it's age, but the black and white images were clear and bright for the most part.The sound is in Dolby Dig MONO!...."Some Like It Hot" made only 1 year prior to this one, has been enhanced with Dol Dig 5.1(on both DVD editions) and sounds great.The Special Edition of "SLIH", even gives you the choice of watching it in the 5.1 or the original mono. This is a film that deserves at least the same attention. It may be veiwed in French and Spanish and has subtitles in those langauges as well. But..there are no subtitles or captions in English for hearing impaired viewers to enjoy this great classic and that is a shame. This is a film that should be enjoyed by all! MGM..maybe it's time for a new edition of this treasure.
"That's the way it crumbles....cookie-wise"(Shirley MacLaine to Fred MacMurray).....enjoy...Laurie
5.0 out of 5 stars "In the midnight of the soul....",
When I first saw this film in 1960, I missed almost all of its darker themes and their serious implications. By then, Billy Wilder had written and directed a number of other films in which he also explores such themes. For example, The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), and Love in the Afternoon (1957). I had already seen them and only years later fully appreciated their significance as well as The Apartment's in terms of Wilder's use of social satire. I am reminded of the fact that the original meaning of sarcasm is "ripping of flesh." Over the years, I have seen The Apartment again several times and am now convinced that -- despite its comic moments -- it offers one of Wilder's most cynical commentaries on human nature.
J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) uses and abuses Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) to satisfy his lust; moreover, he exploits the naked ambition of C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemon) so that he (Sheldrake) and other senior-level executives can use Baxter's small apartment for their sexual dalliances. Baxter exchanges his "cooperation" and "discretion" for a series of corporate promotions. He is also attracted to Kubelik (obviously the film's most sympathetic character) and only much later realizes the nature and extent of Sheldrake's callous exploitation of her vulnerabilities. His "deal with the devil" upsets him only when he becomes aware of its human implications (i.e. Kubelik) and its impact on his own self-respect. Baxter's process of enlightenment is comparable with that of another character played by Lemon, Joe Clay, in Days of Wine and Roses (1962). Of special interest to me is Wilder's use of the Dr. Dreyfuss character (Jack Kruschen). He functions somewhat as a Greek chorus as the narrative progresses, sharing his opinions, but also becomes actively involved when his professional assistance is needed. I was also intrigued by MacMurray's performance in a role unlike almost all of the others he has played in films and television programs. Perhaps only a director with Wilder's talents could elicit such a performance. He received and deserved Academy Awards for direction and for co-authorship (with I.A.L. Diamond) for best original screenplay. The Apartment was selected for an Academy Award as best film, also well-deserved. Although the corporate machinations it examines may now seem dated, Wilder's guarded affirmation of human decency does not.
5.0 out of 5 stars We've seen it all before, or maybe we've experienced it!,
I saw this movie on TV when I was first starting my career in Houston, Texas. It gave me some perspective on the life that exists within the walls of the workplace. In the words of the Shirley MacClaine character, "Some people are givers, and some people are takers". We find both types in the workplace and in life. How often have you known someone, maybe even us who've been used by a "taker".
This movie tells the price you pay, when you sacrifice your morals for selfish reasons. Jack Lemmon plays a young accountant, who has found a unique way to advance his career up the corporate ladder. He loans out his apartment in the city, for [dates] by executives in his company. He actually receives little real help, most of them are just using their position, to shine him on, and get what they want.
When one of the bigger bosses in the company finds out about the arrangement, and decides he wants exclusive rights, the young accountant must decide what is more important. The good news is: this big boss really can help him advance his career. Is it worth selling his morality, for higher position within the company?
Of course he gets a little help making up his mind. Depressed from finding out a girl he likes is just another, "businessman's special", who uses his apartment. ....
Like many Billy Wilder films, this movie has the power to touch our emotions. It does so in ways we wouldn't have thought possible. It has enough humor to balance some of the tragic moments, and not to decend into the realm of melodrama. It is intentionally filmed in black and white, so not to distract from the story. It won the Best Picture Oscar for 1960.
Most Helpful First | Newest First