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Lewis Kirkeby Hall Property Management – The Apartment is a 1960 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and produced by Billy Wilder from a screenplay he co-wrote with I. A. L. Diamond. It stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Krusch, David Lewis, Willard Waterman, David White, Hope Holliday and Eddie Adams.
The film follows an insurance clerk (Lemon) who, hoping to climb the corporate ladder, allows more employees to use his Upper West Side apartment without getting married. She is attracted to an elevator operator (McLaine) in her office building, unaware that he is having an affair with her immediate superior (McMurray).
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Apartment was released by United Artists to widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success despite controversy over its subject matter. It became the 8th highest grossing film of 1960. At the 33rd Academy Awards, the film was nominated for t awards and won five, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Lemmon, MacLaine and Kruse were nominated for Oscars. Lemmon and McClane won Golden Globe Awards for their performances. It provided the basis for Promises, Promises, a 1968 Broadway musical starring Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Neil Simon.
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Since its release, The Apartment has been considered one of the greatest films ever made, appearing on lists from the American Film Institute and Sight and Sound magazine. In 1994, it was one of 25 films selected for inclusion in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
C.C. “Buddy” Baxter is a lonely office dragster at an insurance corporation in New York. To climb the corporate ladder, he lets four company executives regularly borrow his Upper West Side apartment for their extramarital affairs. Baxter meticulously juggles a “booking” schedule, but a steady stream of women convinces his neighbors that he’s a playboy, bringing home someone else every night.
Baxter requests glowing performance reviews from the four managers and presents them to HR Director Jeff Sheldrake, who has promised him a promotion—but Sheldrake also demands the use of the apartment for his own business, starting that night. In exchange for this short message, he gives Baxter two theater tickets for that evening. Buddy asks his secret lover, Fran Kubelik, an elevator operator in an office building, to join him. He agrees, but first meets an “ex-wing” who turns out to be Sheldrake. When Sheldrake forces him to leave and promises his wife a divorce, they go to Baxter’s apartment as Baxter stands outside the theater.
Later, at a raucous company Christmas party, Sheldrake’s secretary, Miss Olsey, tells Fran that her boss has been having affairs with other female employees, including herself. Later, at Badger’s apartment, Fran confronts Sheldrake. He claims to love her, but returns to his suburban family as usual.
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Realizing that Fran is the woman Sheldrake will take to his apartment, Baxter allows the married woman to pick him up at a local bar. However, when they arrive at his apartment, he finds Fran passed out on her bed from an apparent suicidal overdose of sleeping pills. He removes the woman from the bar and enlists Dr. Dreyfus, who lives in the apartment next door, to revive Fran. Baxter deliberately makes Dreyfuss think that he was the cause of the incident. Dreyfus chides Baxter for his apparent philandering and advises him to “be a msch.”
While Fran spends two days recuperating at the apartment, Baxter takes care of her and they bond, especially after he admits to his own suicide attempt over unrequited feelings for the woman who now gives him fruitcake every Christmas. During a game of gin rummy, Fran says that she has always been lucky in her love life. He sleeps until they finish playing. As Baxter prepares a romantic dinner, one of the managers arrives to try it. Baxter convinces him and his companion to leave, but the manager recognizes Fran and informs his colleagues. Later, Fran’s brother-in-law, Carl Matuschka, who is looking for her, is approached by the jealous managers at the Baxter apartment. There, Baxter fends off his brother’s anger at Fran’s brazen behavior and once again takes full responsibility. Carly punches him and Fran kisses Baxter for his protection.
When Sheldrake learns that Miss Alls has informed Fran about her affairs, he fires her, but she retaliates by taking it out on Sheldrake’s wife, who promptly dumps her husband. Sheldrake believes that this situation makes it easier to pursue an affair with Fran. After promoting Baxter to an even higher position, which also gives him a key to the executive washroom, Sheldrake expects Baxter to lend his apartment again. Baxter gives him back the bathroom key and announces that he has decided to become an msch and is leaving the firm. He decides to leave the apartment and starts packing his things.
That night at the New Year’s party, Sheldrake angrily tells Fran about Baxter’s departure. Realizing that she loves Baxter, Fran leaves Sheldrake and runs to the apartment. He hears gunshots at the door. Fearing that Baxter has attempted suicide again, she angrily bangs on the door. Baxter opens the door with a bottle of champagne in hand, having just popped the cork. As the two break up to resume their unfinished game of Jin-Rum, Fran tells Baxter that he’s on his own, just like her. When she asks Sheldrake, he replies, “We give him fruitcake every Christmas,” prompting him to declare his love for her. She happily hands him the cards and lovingly tells him to “shut up and deal”.
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Calvin Clifford “Bud” Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), still from the final scene of the movie: “Shut Up and Deal.”
Jack Lemmon in a still from the movie trailer. The Apartment marked his second collaboration with Billy Wilder after Some Like It Hot.
After the success of Some Like It Hot, Wilder and Diamond wanted to make another film with Lemmon. Wilder was originally slated to play Paul Douglas’ Sheldrake; However, after he died suddenly, McMurray was filmed.
The original concept came from a Noel Coward short in which Laura Jason (Celia Johnson) meets Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) for a failed tryst in his friendly flat. However, because of the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film in part on a Hollywood scandal in which producer Walter Wanger shot powerful agent Jinx Lang for having an affair with Wanger’s wife, actress Joan Bennett. At the time of the novel, Lang was using a low-level employee’s apartment.
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Another story element was based on the experience of one of Diamond’s girlfriends, who returned home after breaking up with her boyfriend to find that he had killed himself in her bed.
Although Wilder asked his actors to follow the script exactly, he allowed Lemon to improvise in two scenes: in one scene, he sprays a bottle of nasal spray across the room, and in another, he sings while cooking spaghetti (which he burns through the net of a tennis racket). In another scene where he was supposed to punch Lemon, he couldn’t move properly and accidentally punched him. Wilder chose to use Guinn’s punch in the film. Lemon also caught a cold when they filmed a scene in the park in sub-zero weather.
Art director Alexander Trauner used forced perspective to create the office of a large insurance company. The set looked like a very long room full of desks and workers; However, a row of smaller people and desks were placed at the back of the room, enjoying themselves with the children. He designed Baxter’s apartments to appear smaller and more cramped than the spacious apartments commonly seen in movies of the day. She used items from thrift stores and Wilder’s own furniture sets.
The film’s title theme, written by Charles Williams and originally titled “The Jealous Lover,” was first heard in the 1949 film The Romantic Age.
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Ferrante & Teicher’s recording, released as “Theme from The Apartment”, reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart later in 1960.
As did The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther, who called the film “fun, fun and fun” and Wilder’s direction “disgusting”.
McMurray, who has always played reckless characters, said that after the film was released, he was accosted by a woman on the street who scolded him for making a “dirty dirty movie” and one of them hit him with a bag.
In 2001, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and added it to his list of great films.
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The film has a 93% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rott Tomatoes, based on 103 reviews with an average rating of 8.8/10; The site’s synopsis states that “Director Billy Wilder’s usual cynicism is left here
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