The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.
The appreciation of a movie can change from a person to another, from a director like Billy Wilder who directed his share of notable pictures, one can argue that Some Like it Hot was better than The Apartment or that his crowning achievement is Sunset Blvd. The same can be said about the director himself, the late Andrew Sarris used to lower the income of Wilder into Cinema and might compare him to a John Ford for whom he ranked as a pantheon director. Being an absolute fan of comedies, I cannot pass under the radar the filmography of Wilder. His sardonic, acerbic touch and his unique screenwriting rank him amongst the greats, in my own top.
After the huge success of Some Like it Hot, Billy Wilder worked for the first time with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Both actors will come back in Wilder’s filmography. This is the story of C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) as an office employee lending his apartment to the executives of his company with the idea of getting a promotion. On the other side, Fran Kubelik (MacLaine) is a young woman who wants to become the boss’ (Fred McMurray) wife. On Christmas night Baxter finds Kubelik in his apartment and she just attempted suicide. However, Baxter helps her and takes care of her. He fells for her and it changes his life.
This romantic comedy became a template of so many films to follow but none that were half as good as it is. The photography is superb in a clean black and white widescreen. The transfer to Blu-Ray is more than giving back to the film its letters of noblesse.
Personally, I might have loved it enough to put it in the third best Wilder picture of all time. Sunset Blvd. being his masterpiece and Double Indemnity one of the most interesting Film Noir. It is a nice film to watch around Christmas giving a nice spirit that only Wilder could have done. Highly recommended.