1960 • The Apartment

The Apartment, 1960

1960 Best Picture, The Apartment

For the next movie in our Best Picture project, Lauren and I backtracked from 1964 to 1960 to watch The Apartment, which apparently just became available on Netflix. I am happy to say I managed to stay awake for the entire movie this time!

The Apartment stars Jack Lemmon as CC Baxter, a regular dude at a huge insurance firm in New York who lets four colleagues from upper management use his apartment for their extra-marital affairs. In exchange, he is given excellent reviews and is quickly promoted to an executive position. All the while, Baxter has his eye on the elevator lady, Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), who just so happens to be dating Baxter’s new boss, Mr. Sheldrake—who has now taken on the exclusive right to Baxter’s apartment for his mischievous behavior. In The Apartment, we see how Baxter juggles his own romance while dealing with his cheating boss.

At the time, this movie was thought to be very controversial with its adultery theme. Star Fred MacMurray was hit by a woman on the street with a purse for his role in such a filthy production. Despite some negative reviews, it quickly won over the critics on its way to ten Oscar nominations.

I very much enjoyed The Apartment. I thought it was a very unique story with suspense, drama, and comedy. Jack Lemmon, who I know best as one of the Grumpy Old Men, was excellent in his lead role. Shirely MacLaine was also good, and reminded me and Lauren of the waitress from It’s Always Sunny. (See my composite image below!)

Shirley MacLaine and Mary Elizabeth Ellis

Look-a-Likes: Shirley MacLaine and Mary Elizabeth Ellis

I found lead character Baxter to be a sympathetic fellow, trying hard to make a name for himself at his insurance company with 32,000 employees while being bullied by his superiors. Baxter takes the blame for all the commotion in his apartment, and as far as his neighbors are concerned, he’s quite the playboy with different women every night.

An unsung star in this movie is Jack Kruschen, who plays the neighbor, Dr. Dreyfus. I oftentimes find some of these smaller roles to be some of the most authentic displays of acting in a movie, much like I did yesterday with My Fair Lady co-star Stanley Holloway.

One of the stranger moments in this movie is a scene where Baxter gets punched in the face and falls down. I laughed and remarked how fake that punch scene looked, but upon further research discovered that the punch was, in fact, accidentally a real punch that knocked Lemmon out cold. If you’ve got a shot that authentic, might as well leave it in the movie!

I have nothing bad to say about The Apartment. It was one of the best overall movies we’ve seen so far. I’d give it a solid 9/10!

For a much better review of this movie, check out our friends Eitan and Shira who recently watched this as they too attempt to complete the Best Picture project.

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