The Apartment

  • 1960
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

Classic Billy Wilder comedy-drama about a put-upon insurance clerk (Lemmon) who rises through the ranks by loaning out his apartment as a trysting-place for his philandering superiors. When one of them (Fred MacMurray) callously casts off his elevator girl-mistress (Shirley MacLaine), causing her to attempt suicide, the clerk lovingly nurses her back to...read more

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Classic Billy Wilder comedy-drama about a put-upon insurance clerk (Lemmon) who rises through the ranks by loaning out his apartment as a trysting-place for his philandering superiors. When one of them (Fred MacMurray) callously casts off his elevator girl-mistress (Shirley MacLaine),

causing her to attempt suicide, the clerk lovingly nurses her back to health.

A barbed and occasionally brutal comedy with few illusions about personal or corporate ethics, THE APARTMENT captured one of the singular images of early '60s America; the immense office (designed by Alexander Trauner) in which the human workers, seated behind endless, perfectly aligned rows of

identical desks, appear completely subordinate to the dehumanizing mechanisms of conformity and efficiency.

Wilder had promised Lemmon "a plum" in exchange for committing to a drag role in SOME LIKE IT HOT, and this was undeniably it. The actor gives one of the finest performances of his career and is perfectly paired with MacLaine, whose "small business" as the forlorn, neurotic elevator operator is a

joy to behold. MacMurray made a great heel, but his fan mail was so opposed to these kinds of portrayals that he comfortably stayed in the Disney camp. Fans of Wilder's character repertory will recognize mainstay Joan Shawlee as the office amazon, hilariously dancing on top of a desk at the

Christmas party. Wilder shot the film right up to its finish without knowing the ending, handing his stars wet mimeographed script pages about 20 minutes before the final scenes. Quick readers, Lemmon and MacLaine then nailed it in one take. This film was later adapted into the smash Broadway

musical Promises, Promises.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Classic Billy Wilder comedy-drama about a put-upon insurance clerk (Lemmon) who rises through the ranks by loaning out his apartment as a trysting-place for his philandering superiors. When one of them (Fred MacMurray) callously casts off his elevator girl… (more)

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