What makes THE APARTMENT work? Is it the writing? Yes, but that’s not all. The direction? It’s perfect, but not what I’m really thinking of. What makes THE APARTMENT perfect is the acting genius of the one and only Jack Lemmon. His movements, the way he talks is all so… rhythmic. His performance is like music. The happy-sad, melancholy performance of the century.
Lemmon portrays C.C. “Buddy boy” Baxter, a man who is often blending in with the rest of the drones in the insurance company he works at. He suddenly is moving up in the world being noticed by company big shots, such as Mr. Dobisch (Ray Walston). What’s his secret? He lends his apartment to higher ranking company officials for “meetings” with certain female acquaintances. Baxter’s key is circulated throughout the office to a few executives including Mr. Dobisch. Baxter seems to lead a life that revolves around work. He’s a lonely guy who, would normally go home after work, eat, then sleep.
Most nights, Baxter has to put that on hold for a few hours, to wait ‘till the executives finish up. At the office someone catches his eye, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine, also wonderful) an elevator operator who is the object of many of the office men’s desires.
Throw in J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray… as you’ve never seen him before)the head of the company all the way up on the 27th floor. He has seen the excellent reviews Baxter has received from a group of executives and ties it to a rumor of an apartment key floating around the office.
Sheldrake now, wants in. He promotes Baxter and gets the key. There’s one slight problem… he takes Ms. Kubelik to the apartment. And once Baxter finds out he has a pretty huge dilemma. The job or the dame?
Many of THE APARTMENT’s scenes sparkle with great timing of great dialouge such as:
J.D. Sheldrake: Ya know, you see a girl a couple of times a week, just for laughs, and right away they think you’re gonna divorce your wife. Now I ask you, is that fair?
C.C. Baxter: No, sir, it’s very unfair. Especially to your wife.
C.C. Baxter: You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you. Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal.
That last quote is forever etched in the fabric of film as one of the best last lines ever.
So many scenes in THE APARTMENT sparkle with Jack Lemmon’s brilliance. Just look at the way he seem s to float around that apartment in the few scenes with he and Shirley MacLaine alone together. The way he moves a he drains the pasta through tennis racket. His energy, the way he hums. Just PERFECT!
THE APARTMENT has not dated at all since 1960 and still holds strong as a marvelous film!
The best ever… film wise.