The Apartment came out in 1960 and was the film industry’s biggest winner at the 33rd Academy Awards, winning two of the big four, Best Picture and Best Director. The film collected three extra awards to finish the night with five wins off of 10 nominations.
I have never seen The Apartment until the other night, and for some reason, I thought this movie was the Alfred Hitchcock flick Read Window with James Stewart. Of course, I was wrong, and if I only bothered to look up the details, I would have known what I was getting into.
I’m happy I didn’t bother with the synopsis because I got to enjoy an amusing story. It took a few IMDb searches, but I was able to match a handful of characters with other roles. Jack Lemmon is C.C. Baxter, a brilliant insurance clerk who sublets his Upper West Side apartment to his supervisors in hopes of getting a promotion. Of course this isn’t your usual arrangements, since all these men are using the pad for their love affairs. It was quite comical to watch Baxter coordinate the affairs of four supervisors whle staying focused on his day job. These guys love him and abuse their privileges which always leaves Baxter in a bind with his neighbours and landlady. Meanwhile sparks fly with elevator lady Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), who happens to be a guest at his apartment with the company’s CEO Jeff D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray).
Love triangles are a staple in films and the most intense ones usually get the best results. Whether they end nicely or badly, drama among lovers always sell tickets. The Apartment is no exception, since this story even features an attempted suicide and a reveal of a previous attempt by our main character. Just when you didn’t think there was enough going on, the writers brilliantly crafted a few extra layers for us to peel back and learn more about our leads.
I have not seen or heard of the other four nominees for best picture in 1960. Sometimes these decisions are super hard and some years are rather easy. I have to say that The Apartment is right up there for me in regards of good films to watch before 1970. You won’t be disappointed with the story, the performances, the humor, and the drama. Everything got woven together really nicely and we just get to sit back and feel grateful that we are not in CC. Baxter’s shoes. 8/10