47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
|home | what's on | reviews | join | the society | mailing list | discussion forum|
Billy Wilder | USA | 1960 | 124 minutes
An unusual film for Billy Wilder whose films are usually characterized by their harsh cynicism, The Apartment demonstrates a humane streak that has been widely appreciated by all audiences.
Billy Wilder originally thought of the idea for the film after seeing Brief Encounter (1945) and wondering about the plight of a character seen only for a brief time in that film. Shirley MacLaine was only given forty pages of the script because Wilder didn't want her to know how the story would turn out. She thought it was because the script wasn't finished. Jack Lemon stars as C.C Baxter, an office clerk who curries favor with the executives in his office by giving them the key to his small apartment for the odd afternoon dalliance. Among them his is his callous boss, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who Baxter eventually learns is using his place to sleep with Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the sweet elevator operator the clerk has loved from afar. When Sheldrake coldly dumps the vulnerable young woman, she tries to commit suicide, but is saved by the intervention of Baxter. Wilders brilliant depiction of the average American office as a place of brutality, coldness, and alienation conjure up Kafka and Marx. The New York scenes are enigmatic of the loneliness a big city and are beautifully crafted to show how cold and unfriendly it has become, alienated from the humanity further emphasized by almost every character other than Baxter and Miss Kubelik.
Review by Mirella Yandoli
Written for EUFS Programme Autumn 2008
Made the year after Some Like it Hot, The Apartment again sees Billy Wilder teaming up with Jack Lemmon, this time for a truly bitter-sweet film which glides smoothly from comedy to pathos. Lemmon is an insurance clerk who, in the hope of promotion, lends out his apartment to senior executives lookmg for somewhere to take their girlfriends - the trouble starts when the girl whom Lemmon has fallen for (Shirley MacLaine), is taken there by his boss. A razor-sharp satire on the morals and ethics of the Real World, The Apartment is a superb film. Lemmon and MacLaine both act extremely well, and even the happy ending is rather moving. A personal favourite, this film deserves to be seen.
Review by Malcolm Maclaren
Taken from EUFS Programme 1993-94