Movie Review: The Apartment [1960]

The Apartment is a classic film directed by Billy Wilder - a creator of one of my most favorite comedies Some Like It Hot. Despite being filmed back in 1960 it, as a comedy, brings something you can not easily find in modern era - a true joyful fun, some brilliant lines, very decent and enjoyable story. The Apartment alongside with Hitchcock's Psycho had been a brilliant start of 60's - a period of so many notable movies in history.

The Apartment is a story of C.C. Baxter [Jack Lemmon] - an insurance company employee - who lets his company executives to use his apartment for trysts in late evenings. In exchange, he hopes and gets some promotions moving up the corporate ladder. One day, he is called by personnel director Jeff Sheldrake informing about his sudden promotion in exchange of minor favor - adding married mr. Sheldrake to list of welcomed guests to his apartment. C.C. could not have been any happier, especially not knowing that Jeff is dating Baxter's darling Fran Kubelik [Shirley MacLaine] - an elevator girl C.C. liked for quite a long time. Despite the unsuccessful date with Fran, Baxter is still trying to win her heart and one day, he finds Miss Kubelik unconscious in his apartment. As it turns out, she has an overdose of sleeping pills after the date with Mr. Sheldrake. With the help of Dr. Dreyfuss young lady is safe, however she's to stay at Baxter's for couple of days to recover. And here their little romance and attraction starts to grow, while they are trying to cohabitate for their own comfort.
To begin with, I always considered myself to be more fan of modern movies rather than old black n white films. And every time those decade old pictures bring me a joy, I'm quite surprised. Having said that, The Apartment was another wonderful surprise that made my two hours quite funny and interesting. I feel like I have to start with Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's joint effort of creating original, bold, funny, well built screenplay. The first thing I observed is fresh, live and natural dialogues, interesting and real characters involved in quite everyday stories and affairs. Then I saw how each of them developed to another extent to the end of the film.

A comedy does not always has to bring a lot laughs. The Apartment did not either. There definitely are some very funny moments, but mostly, its dramatic or satiric look at misadventures of characters created a comedic atmosphere. I found this to be a charming part of the movie, since I believe that you can not make a comedy that makes everybody laugh [well, I don't find funny most of modern comedies]. Accordingly, the fact that writers did not seem to try hard to make spectators laugh, felt very very good and it did not destroy any of memorable moments in film.

Two central performances are as good as it can be. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine both are incredibly good at making their characters most real people on the screen. Baxter is always so confused and amazed whenever Fran is nearby and he delivers all his character's excitement in such a natural way. On the other hand, Shirley makes Kubelik a little coy and funny girl. The 100 dollar scene is brilliant.

Supporting actors, like Fred MacMurray [Jeff Sheldrake] and Jack Kruschen [Dr. Dreyfuss] are no less good. They make some scenes really live and fresh and all in all, more enjoyable film.

The Apartment is definitely one of greatest movies absolutely deserving the best picture win back in 1961 and WGA granted 15th place for best screenplays of all time.

favorite quote:
Here's a hundred bucks, Fran. Buy yourself something nice.

2 comments:

  1. Happy you liked The Apartment, it's good! I agree that it's not a comedy for laughing all the time (at least in my case, too), it's mostly just interesting, lovely, and smart.

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  2. The same applies in my case too, however still better than most of laugh-out-loud comedies.

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