by guest writer
The Apartment (1960) marked the second collaboration between Jack Lemmon and director Billy Wilder, after the enormous hit Some Like It Hot (1959). You will first discover the cleverly built screenplay which was achieved through the prolific collaboration between Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) is a clerk in an insurance corporation with no real career opportunities whatsoever. He decides to loan his apartment to the upper management as the perfect hideaway for philandering bosses, with many promises of promotion. He is instead led to a no hush hush life and bound to keep the secrets if he knows ‘what’s best for him’. There is a contradiction of terms within C.C. Baxter as he likes to work late only because he has a busy apartment. His intentions are only controlled by his lust to work his way up the company ladder.
Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), also has corporate company illusions, but of a different kind: she wants to be the boss’ wife, the next Mrs. Sheldrake. She becomes Baxter’s partner in suffering and close friend – they have both almost given up on love. This is one of the finest satiric comedies, different from the formula plot of a romantic comedy (and so refreshing when it comes to Hollywood movies), with that witty, note-perfect closing line that reflects so well the sensible and tough tone of the film. The music by Adolph Deutsch plays a very important role in the mood construction emphasizing the elements of fun and sadness, and Joseph LaShelle’s black and white cinematography is also essential for the bittersweet story.
photo: still from the film | The Mirisch Corporation