More About The Apartment
Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT blends his customary harsh cynicism with a humane streak that appears only fleetingly in his films. It stars Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter, an office clerk who curries favor with the executives in his office by giving them the key to his small apartment for the odd afternoon dalliance. Among them his is his callous boss, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who Baxter eventually learns is using his place to sleep with Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the sweet elevator operator the clerk has loved from afar. When Sheldrake coldly dumps the vulnerable young woman, she tries to commit suicide, but is saved by the intervention of Baxter. As the clerk lovingly nurses the young woman back to health he begins to realize, with the help of epigrammatic neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), exactly how much of a fool he has been. Wilder brilliant depiction of the average American office as a place of brutality, coldness, and alienation conjure up Kafka and Marx. The director seduces the audience into what appears to be an unusually frank sex comedy, but turns the tables in displaying the consequences of the executive's cold indifference. Lemmon and MacLaine both give career performances and MacMurray is memorable as the blandly smiling snake.
1960 - Academy Awards - Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w) Winner
1960 - Academy Awards - Best Film Editing Winner
1960 - Academy Awards - Best Picture Winner
1960 - Academy Awards - Best Director Winner
1960 - Academy Awards - Best Original Screenplay Winner
Main Cast & Crew
Billy Wilder - Director
THE APARTMENT was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994. The story was later turned into a Broadway musical entitled PROMISES, PROMISES.
"...This seductive, bittersweet 1960 classic was Billy Wilder's last great film....Its layers of satire and genuine tenderness resonate..." -- 5 out of 5 stars - 01/01/2000 Total Film, p.101
"...Fresh....[MacLaine's performance] breaks through Lemmon's brittle good cheer..." -- Rating: A- - 10/21/1994 Entertainment Weekly, pp.70-2
5 stars out of 5 -- "Lemmon gives on of his best performances ever, in a part written specifically for him..." - 05/01/2008 Ultimate DVD, p.89
"By the time he made THE APARTMENT, Wilder had become a master at a kind of sardonic, satiric comedy that had sadness at its center." - 07/22/2001 Chicago Sun-Times
"Fun fact: The romantic dramedy doubles as a holiday film!" - 04/08/2021 USA Today