After watching Spartacus from the AFI’s top 100 movies I was relieved to see that the next movie on the list was the romantic comedy-drama, The Apartment. I’ve always been a sucker for these. And how can you go wrong with Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon, and Shirley MacLaine?
C. C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lives and works in New York City. He has an ordinary job in an insurance company. Fortunately for him, he is rising in the company. His method of gaining the notice of his managers, though, is a bit different. He’s not being rewarded for his hard work, even if he is a dedicated employee. He doesn’t have family connections. He’s not in the mob. Folks, he has an apartment. It’s a nice apartment, but nothing spectacular.
This is not the actual neighborhood, but it will give you an idea:
His apartment is in high demand by his four managers. They need a place to take their mistresses. The situation for Baxter isn’t ideal since he has to put in longer hours at the office and then roam around until his apartment is free. He has a lonely existence and his home doesn’t really belong to him. When the personnel director starts to question all of the fabulous reports about Baxter’s work performance he investigates.
This is when Baxter’s life gets interesting. Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) wants in on the fun. He’s married, but that doesn’t stop him from having numerous affairs. His current mistress, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), is the elevator operator in the building where Baxter works. Baxter has a crush on Miss Kubelik. What ensues is a love triangle.
Right from the start I enjoyed this film. The acting is great. Lemmon and MacLaine are perfect in their roles. I was a little put off by the AFI list since I didn’t enjoy Spartacus. But I have to give it to AFI, this movie is a treat to watch. It received 10 Academy Award nominations and won 5, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best writing. If you have not seen this flick and if you love witty movies I recommend it.
Up next is the Wild Bunch.