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5.0 out of 5 stars They Should All be Like This
Wouldn't it be great if all movies were this good? This funny? This wise? This clever? This heartfelt? This true? My favorite Jack Lemmon movie. He plays a perfect schmuck who discovers himself. My favorite Shirley MacLaine movie. She plays a sweet but wounded modern girl who wises up. My favorite Billy Wilder movie. A perfect ear for dialogue and eye for mannerisms in...
Published on July 6 2004 by J
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 21 2003 by Nix Pix
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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.
4.0 out of 5 stars A nebbish like you...,
...that's how C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is summed up in the early going of this one. It's not that this is untrue -- strictly speaking, Baxter is just that, a nebbish. Yet we love him all the more for it. He is, however, a nebbish with a misplaced sense of propriety. To shuck and jive for the married executives at the insurance company where he labors among the other grunts in order for them to enjoy their extra-marital daliances is his one major flaw.
Forunately, there is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) to unwittingly calibrate Baxter's moral barometer. No point in telling how she does it -- that'd spoil the movie. Rest assured that it's one of the best Billy Wilder-Jack Lemmon collaborations (second only to 'Some Like It Hot')
While it's great to have it on DVD, you'd think they would have kicked in with some kind of special features (this was, after all, the Oscar winner for best picture in 1960). Alas, that is not the case here. You get the movie, the trailer...and that's it.
4.0 out of 5 stars It requires something special from its audience.,
For years I watched this film and didn't really like the story. Understand- I liked the central characters, but didn't like what was happening to them (or the fact that they allowed it to happen over and over again). I figured out the trick to watching and really enjoying "The Apartment:" you need the patience of Job. The pace and order with which the events happen is so gradual (rather than slow) that it can easily frustrate the viewer who wants everything in a movie to be resolved in five minutes. If you don't have 2+ hours to really sit, watch, and be absorbed, you may not appreciate this one. At first glance, you want to ring the collective necks of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine- two characters who both seem much too smart and civil to allow the things that happen to them to keep happening. MacLaine, of course, excelled in this cheery-but-abused character in the dawn of her career, and Lemmon- who was still fairly new in 1960- was showing a kaleidescope of emotions in a character who's alternately a loner, a doormat, a kook, and something of a genius in ways of smooching the corporate bosses. Once he and MacLaine actually start their own interaction (the card games are a marvelous form of silent courtship- even in the event of squashing an attempted suicide), everything's all right with the film- and the world. Eke out a Sunday afternoon with bags of microwave popcorn and soda to see this one. Or if you're feeling really adventurous, watch with a spaghetti dinner- strained through a tennis racket, of course.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Billy Wilder Movie,
Billy Wilder made some great ones and this might be his best. Jack Lemmon was terrific as usual, Fred MacMurray had the creep role down perfect, and Shirley MacLaine was just so damn beautiful in this.
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect single man's film.,
Sometimes you hear about a film that is so good, you feel jealous because you have not seen it, or just want to be a bad boy and refuse to see it because you're afraid you might learn something. Well, I finally saw "The Apartment", and yes it is good. Perhaps this was the film that made people like Jack Lemmon. Nice guys do win. In my opinion, this film is about The Nice Guy vs. macho work men. Guess who wins? Jack Lemmon plays a single man who just prefers to work day and night and he has his own apartment with the comfort of music and his television set. However, in order to keep his desk job, he is forced to let the macho executives use his apartment for thier own pleasure with thier dates and affairs. So out in the cold Jack goes, literally. The next morning, Jack has a cold. But on to work he goes. He begins to openly talk with an elevator lady (Shirley MacLaine) who he really never talked too much to before. From then on, whenever they see each other, it's only cordial. Just two people staying business-like and professional at work. Then something tragic happens that eventually changes his life and others around him. I think this film holds up very well and is still realistic, even in today's modern world. Keep watching this film to the very end. There are a few surprises and twists. So don't give up to early. After the film is over, I guarantee it will keep you thinking.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic,
This is one of those films that seems just as perfect every time you see it. While time has changed - corporate polictics and the sadness of how we "dispose" of people has not. The script is sharp, perceptive, funny, charming, and heartbreaking. Lemmon is absolultely amazing here and McClaine will melt your heart. This is a beautiful film that should not be overlooked or passed by by potential viewers because of its age.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilder at his best...,
Who would have thought that a dark romantic comedy set against a backgroud of corparate politics and sex in the 50's could win best picture in 1960. Billy Wilder's very dark and sometimes shocking film The Apartment did just that!!!!! In his best film Wilder scores a knockout. With telling the story of C.C. Baxter(Jack Lemmon),a loner, working for an insurance company and his dealings with his bosses and love for an elevator opporator named Fran(Shirley MacLaine). This movie is almost a satire of corporate America in the 50's. A story of how people get used and the people who use them. With a dark wit Wilder pushes the envelope of what people were used to seeing in a comedy, remember this movie was made in 1960. Now he had made and would make other dark movies, examples Lost Weekend or the film nior classic Double Indemnity. But most were drama's and none had the wicked satire of the Apartment. Lemmon, Maclaine and Fred MacMurray all give great performances. A +++++++++++++
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