A lowly accountant is forced by his executives to give up his apartment
for their affairs, but things get complicated when he falls in love himself.
The Apartment (1960)
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray,
Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Edie Adams,
Hope Holiday, Naomi Stevens, Johnny Seven
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Jack Lemmon), Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Kruschen),
Best Cinematography, Best Sound
The Apartment is widely considered to be the greatest romantic comedy ever made. While I personally would push it more towards romantic drama, I believe in the sentiment. The Apartment is a great love story that's made possible thanks to Billy Wilder's talented eye and the impeccable chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It's a film that will piss you off if you have a heart, as every character in the film apart from Lemmon and MacLaine is a pure, cold-blooded bastard. It's a film that's just cynical enough to be interesting, but still compassionate enough to make you smile.
Our hero is a meek, lowly accountant named C.C. Baxter (Lemmon), who has been duped into letting his many executive bosses use his apartment for their affairs. They schedule a day with him, leave the key under the mat when they're done, and he lets them so he can keep his job. One day, he makes a date with the elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (MacLaine), and falls for her immediately. What he doesn't realize is that she's dating his most powerful boss, the married Mr. Sheldrake (MacMurray, as a truly heartless son of a bitch). Baxter and Fran become friends anyway, and after he saves her from a suicide attempt, they start to grow close. But can Baxter grow enough confidence to stand up for himself and also save Fran from making a terrible mistake? You get really drawn into the story and must know. That's good writing.
The Apartment has stood the test of time because of how far it was willing to go in 1960. This film has attempted suicide, open infidelity, and frank discussions about sex. This is a film that opened the floodgates for darker dramedies and stories that weren't afraid to go even further. 1960 was one of the most important years in film history, and The Apartment is a film that helped make that known.