The Apartment centers on C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), a lowly accountant among hundreds of others in a large insurance company. But this particular accountant has a minor problem: every so often, his bosses use his apartment for trysts with their mistresses. In exchange, Baxter’s bosses recommend him for a promotion.. The one bright spot in Baxter’s lonely life is Ms. Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine ) a cute elevator operator who works in the office building. Soon enough, the big boss Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) finds out about this little arrangement, and wants in. But unbeknownst to Baxter, Sheldrake’s girl-on-the-side is none other than Ms. Kubelik.
Winner of 5 OSCARS - (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Editing)
Billy Wilder co-wrote and directed this masterpiece, which holds up remarkably well over the years. There hasn’t been a movie since that captures so well that feeling of loneliness in a crowd. Baxter comes home to a frozen dinner and a TV. He has no friends and no confidantes. When he finds out the truth about Ms. Kubelik, bitterness struggles with his obvious delight in having, as he puts it, ‘company for Christmas.’
Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon give an intelligent cynicism and hopeful sweetness to their roles. They know that most people are selfish. As Ms Kubelik says, ‘some people take and some people get took.’ Baxter’s world is filled with men who treat infidelity as just another company perk. And for a while, Baxter enjoys his rise up the corporate ladder. No character in this movie is morally invincible, and both Baxter and Kubelik let themselves be ‘taken,’ until they are inspired to fight for something better.
Fred MacMurray shines in his role as the lying, manipulative Mr. Sheldrake . One can understand the charm that draws women to him. The brief glimpse of his family life at Christmas works as a sardonic nod to the My Three Sons/Shaggy Dog image that he’s best known for. All in all, a witty, bright movie with none of the glurge that chokes most romantic comedies. This is an honest movie about real people, with a sweetness that’s earned. Even the hardest heart will melt for these characters.