Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David lewis
Perfect. Moving. Consummate.
C.C Baxter (Lemmon) is a pushover; a peon trying to climb the tall corporate ladder in New York City. He finds a shortcut, but, of course, it comes at a price. He lends his apartment to his philandering bosses who use his bachelor pad to meet with their mistresses. Things get out of hand though when he comes home to find his office crush, Fran (MacLaine), in his bed after a suicide attempt. She’s in a bad relationship with top boss, J.D Sheldrake (MacMurray). If this sounds dark and sordid, it is, but it’s also a deft comedy, and romance. The script is a masterpiece, and so is the film. Billy Wilder and his manic star, Lemmon, give the movie a levity that belies much of the sadness, but at its core is this intense loneliness highlighted by the 2 or 3 sequences of Lemmon, in extreme long shot, completely by himself. One particularly poignant instance of this comes early, when Baxter is locked out , sleeping on a park bench, while his boss parties in his apartment. There’s also a very moving detail in the opening scene of Baxter finishing what’s left of some wine while picking up after one of his bosses. The overwhelming jazz score kicks in around here and soon becomes a common refrain through Baxter’s story. It’s perfect. I love this film. If I made a top 5 list of movies, The Apartment would surely be on it.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-