Category Archives: 1960

1001 Movie Club Catch Up: The Apartment (1960)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

When Billy Wilder was spotlighted in a recent LAMB in the Director’s Chair, I didn’t even bother to visit more of his back catalog. Shame on me for not fulfilling my film snob credentials. It should have been suspended. Thanks to 1001 Movie Club, I would have never got the chance to see the #99 Movie of All-Time on IMDb, The Apartment or get the movie in past the post date.

Jack Lemmon plays an insurance agent, C.C. Baxter at Consolidate Life New York who on the outside seems like an overly ambitious worker bee that wants to move up with the company. Some of that is true. In actually, he is working the extra hours so the top officials of the company could have a safe place to carry on their affairs before eight o’clock. They compensate C.C. whatever they do in his apartment in exchange to getting a leg up on the corporate ladder.

The neighbors are growing more suspicious about the numerous activities that are happening at C.C.’s apartment every day, especially Mr. and Mrs. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen, Naomi Stevens). They think that he is living the high life with the drunken sex marathons, but he is just the schlubby guy left out in the cold. His bosses’ late night escapades are affecting his work.

When one of his bosses unexpectedly needs his apartment, he forced out in the cold, rainy night. He develops a cold with put his little side job into turmoil when he has to reschedule other encounters so he could recover.

Every day, C.C. passes by a bubbly elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), but he notices her when he is sent to personnel department to let him know if he is being promoted or fired. Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), the head of personnel hears word that C.C. rented out his apartment to top officials at he wants in on the action. In exchange, he gives C.C. to tickets to a Broadway show. He want to ask out Miss Kubelik, but she is spoken by someone C.C. knows.

I thought that this movie would be a straight romantic comedy, but the action takes a dangerous curve to places I never thought it could possibly go. Shirley MacLaine owns this movie. She was given a wide range of emotions from being bubbly and feisty to being morose and heartbroken. Wonderful. There were some people that annoyed with some of the women with their helium-induced voices like Sylvia (Joan Shawlee) or Mrs. MacDougall (Hope Holiday). It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

This movie must have been very controversial at the time of its release. Before the sexual revolution later on that decade, I’m sure that this movie would have raised a few eyebrows. The struggle between male dominance and female empowerment, sexual dynamics, taboo topics that were rarely discussed much less shown.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: This is a testament of how a romantic drama should be handled.

Rating: ****1/2

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