Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Apartment


Billy Wilder

Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, David Lewis, Jack Kruschen, Joan Shawlee and Edie Adams

Ages: 12 and up

C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) works in Manhattan, New York. He literally climbs up his building floor-by-floor as he rents his apartment out to his bosses, including Sheldrake (MacMurray). Baxter soon falls for elevator girl Fran (MacLaine) whom Sheldrake also loves. Who would Fran choose? Why?

Still of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in one of the film’s funniest scenes, in which Lemmon cooks Spaghetti on a tennis racket for Fran being overdosed on pills.

Why it’s good:
It is a teenage comedy, full of jokes for teenagers, and particularly also dramatic as well as wittily romantic.

The storyline is basically the ones where two people go after the same person. It is, in a Billy Wilder-I.A.L. Diamond script, a comedy of mistaken identities, of so many coincidences and of lives' misfortunes.
The acting, in particular that of Shirley and Lemmon, is quite excellent. The era of this type of comedy is more riotous and closer to today's than Chaplin.

As I have mentioned it is a teenage comedy, but it is so classical and well-scripted as well as well-directed, so it is so good ANYONE would like it.

Parent’s guide:
It is a modern comedy, so expect more. There is a scene where Fran’s brother comes to Baxter and knocks him over. Quite a lot of drinking as it is New Year’s Eve.

It is the last black and white picture to win an Oscar till 2011, when "The Artist" won an Oscar.

If you like this…:
More Lemmon would equal to "Some Like It Hot" (1959) and "The Odd Couple" (1968). If the Wilder guy’s direction or script amazes you, find "Sabrina" (1954), "Sunset Boulevard" (1950). See the Director’s section.   

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