Billy Wilder for The Mirisch Corporation/United Artists
directed by Billy Wilder
starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Hope Holiday, Joan Shawlee, Naomi Stevens, Johnny Seven, Joyce Jameson, Willard Waterman, David White, Edie Adams, Dorothy Abbott, Bill Baldwin, Paul Bradley, Benny Burt, Steve Carruthers, Lynn Cartwright, Dick Cherney, Fortune Cookie, Mason Curry, Franklyn Farnum, Herschel Graham, Lars Hensen, Eugene Jackson, Frances Weintraub Lax, David Macklin, William Meader, Ralph Moratz, Monty O'Grady, Joe Palma, Paul Power, Tony Regan, Clark Ross, Edith Simmons, Hal Smith, Norman Stevans, Sid Troy
written by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, music by Adolph Deutsch
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Bud (Jack Lemmon) is a little office worker at a big insurance building
who has made it his habit to give up his apartment to his superiors for
special occasions (meaning extramarital affairs), in exchange for a
possible promotion - not that it gets him anywhere, really ... until his
boss Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) finds out, and he gives him a healthy
promotion - of course for the use of Bud's apartment.
Bud's (not very)
secretly in love with Fran (Shirley MacLaine), elevator girl at the
insurance office building, and she likes him back but has no romantic
feelings for him. Thing is, Sheldrake has an affair with her, and
unbeknownst to Bud, he brings her to his apartment - but they have a row,
he leaves, she takes sleeping pills in an effort to kill herself ... and
leaves Bud in shock when he comes home. He manages to save her life though
with the help of his neighbour Dr Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), and manages to
hush up the whole story for his (married) boss, even if that means taking
quite a bit of the blame (and a beating) himself, and taking care of Fran,
he starts to realize just how much he's in love with her - and then the
unexptected happens, Sheldrake really agrees to divorce his wife, and Fran
decides to return to him, leaving Bud understandably shattered, but of
course, there's nothing Bud can do because he has obligations to everybody
... or has he?
I might sound like an even older fart than I
actually am by saying that, but The Apartment is one of that films
that proves that Hollywood once upon a time really deserved to be the film
capital of the world (in comparison to the spectacle movie conveyor belt
it has become today): Being a romantic comedy by definition, this is
anything but a pure chick flick and chooses to tell a strong story (that
also features plenty of drama) over just cater to its target audience,
thge directorial effort is powerful and elegant instead of just serving as
a vehicle for punchlines, and the entire cast is definitely first rate.
sure, story and tone of this movie betray its period, but it's a perfect
time machine to a time of Hollywood greatness!