The Apartment (1960)

Most of you know me as someone who appreciates a good weird tale, and while that’s certainly true, I honestly can’t resist a good story, even if it doesn’t have an ounce of weird in it. Billy Wilder’s The Apartment isn’t weird at all, but man, it’s one hell of a great story.

I’m fairly new to the films of Billy Wilder. For some reason I just assumed I wouldn’t be into them. Not sure why. About a year or so ago, my girlfriend got on a Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford-kick and wanted to watch Some Like it Hot. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was brilliant—a great story, great acting, and truly hilarious. I find it rare that comedies from that era fully hold up in today’s day and age, but Some Like it Hot is a riot! Give it a chance, if you haven’t already.

My second Billy Wilder film came about a week or two later when we watched Sunset Boulevard. Most people already know this [again I’m late to the game], but Sunset Boulevard is a masterpiece. Truly one of the greatest films ever made. I’m not being hyperbolic! Go watch it. Now.

You would think after watching two outstanding Billy Wilder flicks that I would have immediately gone and chased them all down, but no, I got sidetracked and wandered down some other cinematic wormhole. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally watched my third.

Like the others, The Apartment is perfectly-crafted and masterfully-executed. Jack Lemmon wows with his spot on comedic timing and wonderfully dramatic expressions. His acting is a masterclass on form. His charm and theatrical instinct will never cease to amaze me… and he’s not even the heart and soul of the film! No, that role is taken by the incomparable Shirley MacLaine. Wow. She broke my heart. What a brilliant performance. Her pain felt so real to me.

“I like it this way — makes me look the way I feel.”

As much as I want to tell you everything I love about this film, I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. I just wanted to write this in hopes that some of you will watch it. The story unfolds brilliantly. Every little branch reveals itself at precisely the right time. No earlier and no later. I swear it… as you’re watching, you’ll be muttering to yourself, “Wilder, you were a fucking genius.”

He was a master of the craft. I absolutely will NOT wait another year before my next Wilder excursion.


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