The Apartment is a 1960 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and produced by Billy Wilder. It stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Tay Weston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Willard Waterman, David White, Hope Holiday and Edie Adams.
The story follows an insurance clerk (Lemmon) who, in the hope of climbing the corporate ladder, lets more superior coworkers use his Upper West Side apartment to carry out extramarital affairs. He is attracted to to an elevator operator (MacLaine) in his office building, unaware that she is having an affair with his boss (MacMurray).
C.C. “Bud” Baxter is a lonely office worker at an insurance corporation in New York City. To climb the corporate ladder, he allows for company managers to take turns borrowing his apartment for extramartital relations. Bud carefully balances the “booking” schedule, but the continuous stream of women in and out of the office convinces his neighbors that he is a playboy, bringing someone home every night.
Bud solicits great performance reviews from the four managers and gives them to personnel director Jeff Sheldrake, who then promises to promote him – but Sheldrake also demands to use the apartment for his own affairs, starting that night. As compensation for his short notice, he gives Baxter two theater tickets fot that evening. Bud asks his secret crush, Fran Kubelik, an elevator operator in the office building, to join him. She agrees, but first meets up with a “former fling,” who turns out to be Sheldrake. Sheldrake discourages her from breaking up with him, promising to divorce his wife, they go to Bud’s apartment, as Bud waits, stood up outside the theater.
Later, at the company’s terrible Christmas part, Sheldrake’s secretary, Miss Olsen, tells Fran that her boss has had affairs with other female employees., including herself. Later, at Bud’s apartment, Fran confronts Sheldrake. He confesses true love for her, but then leaves, going back to his family in the suburbs, as usual.
Bud – having realized that Fran is the woman Sheldrake has been taking to his apartment – let’s himself be picked up bya married lady at a local bar. However, when they arrive at his apartment he finds Fran, passed out from an an apparent suicidal overdose of his sleeping pills. He sends away the woman from the bar and calls Dr. Dreyfuss, a medical doctor living in the next-door apartment, to save Fran. Bud at first makes Dr. Dreyfuss believe that he was the cause of the incident. The doctor scolds Bud for this and instructs him to “be a mensch.”
While Fran spends two days getting well in the apartrment, Bud cares for her and a bond grows between them, especially after he confesses his own suicice attempt over unrequited feelings for a woman who now sends him a fruitcake every Christmas. When Sheldrake learns that Miss Olsen told Fran about his affairs, he fires her, but she fights back by telling it all to Sheldrake’s wife, who quickly throws her husband out. Sheldrake believes this situation makes it easier to persue his affair with Fran. After promoting Bud to higher position at the firm, Sheldrake expects Bud to loan out his apartment again, be instead, but gives him back the key to executive washroom and quits the firm. After learning about Bud quitting the firm, Fran realizes she is in love with Bud and runs to his apartment.
This was a controversial film upon it’s release, for depictions of infidelity. The film does seem at times to act like that is no big deal by making light of the issue, but later in the movie, the main characters having the affairs, realize what they’re doing is wrong and do eventually end it. This movie is partly a comedy and adultry is no laughing matter, which makes some of the humor a bit uncomfortable, but some of it is laugh out funny.
Jack Lemmon plays C.C.Baxter, a lonely man who loans out his apartment to executives of his company who string him along with hopes of promotions and raises. His neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen) hears the nightly sounds of affection through the wall and thinks Baxter is a steadfast lover, when in fact, Baxter is pacing out front, looking up woefully at his own window because he can’t even go home to peace to and quiet.
Baxter starts out as an unlikable character who will do anything to climb up the corporate ladder, even if it makes him even more lonely. He then turns into a more likable character when he starts to care for Fran after her overdose and he realizes he needs to a better person and cuts off all the liasons at his apartment. Fran is a rather dull character that for some reason several employees go after. Perhaps it’s because she was an easy nab and was easily persuaded.
Jack Lemmon is outstanding in this movie as C.C. Baxter. Fred Mac Murray is great as Sheldrake and Shirley MacLaine is also great as Fran. This film is equal parts awkward, funny, dramatic, romantic and heartwarming. Some might be uncomfortable with the infidelity in this one, and yes, it is a bit much for much of the movie, but this is still a wonderful film regardless. It is a motion picture that doesn’t rely on heavy costumes and makeup, CGI or a really strange or very unrealistic plot and many movies today are not like this. The storyline is just simple enough that it is not boring but will make you laugh and cry and it will warm your heart as well. This is what you call not just a classic but a truly spectacular film! 4.5