Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
I watch Billy Wilder’s bittersweet romantic comedy almost every New Year’s Eve. It never gets old.
C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is an up-and-coming insurance analyst with ambitions for early promotion to the executive corps. His current ploy is to offer his apartment to managers for their extramarital liaisons. Despite his go-getting attitude, Baxter is basically a shy and lonely guy. He has a crush on winsome elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine).
All the goings on in Baxter’s apartment make his neighbors think he is quite a swinger. Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), his next-door neighbor, thinks he should donate his brain to science.
Baxter’s strategy works all too well and soon head honcho Jeff D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) wants the apartment key in exchange for a private office. But when Baxter discovers that Sheldrake’s bit on the side is Fran he must rethink his plan. With Edie Adams as Sheldrake’s secretary and Ray Walston as one of the corporate lotharios.
I love this movie. It must be the blackest romantic comedy ever made, dealing as it does with adultery, suicide, and corporate shenanigans. The casting is pitch perfect. MacMurray is always at his best playing heels and both Lemmon and MacLaine are irresistible. Most highly recommended.
The Apartment won Academy Awards for Best Picture; Best Director; Best Writing – Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White; and Best Film Editing. It was nominated in the categories of Best Actor (Lemmon); Best Actress (MacLaine); Best Supporting Actor (Kruschen); Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; and Best Sound.