Monday, May 2, 2011

The Apartment

Billy Wilder, 1960, bw (8.4*)
Best Picture (AA, BAA, GG)
One of Wilder's most successful films, one which netted him three Oscars® individually - as producer of the best picture, for director, and for his screenplay, co-written with I.A.L. Diamond. This was half of the six Oscars® he won in his career, and the only one for producer of the best picture.

Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, an insurance company employee going nowhere. But a single man with a bachelor pad has something a cheating married excutive can use for assignations, so he willingly loans out his apartment to further his career in the office, primarily to a sleazy Fred MacMurray, in another of his typecast-defying roles (like in Wilder's Double Idemnity, likely why he was included in this cast).

One night he's left with the problem of Shirley MacLaine to solve, and the two become platonic friends. It's this friendship that gives depth to an otherwise shallow story of marital infidelity. My only problem with this film is that Wilder is usually either clearly comic (Some Like It Hot), or clearly dramatic (Sunset Boulevard), with no gray area. In this film the tone primarily wavers, it begins kind of light, but turns pretty serious midway in. For this reason alone I don't consider this as highly among Wilder's filmology as do others, as the serious tone kills the humor, and vice-versa. I prefer the three others above that I've mentioned (with links to my reviews).

No. 91 on the IMDB 250. 5 Oscars® - picture, director, editing, screenplay, art direction (also BAFTA for best film and a Golden Globe for comedy film). Just to show the confusion of the film's tone, at the Laurel Awards, MacLaine won for dramatic actress, Lemmon for actor in a comedy! 22 awards overall

Wilder is one of the great directors, here's a small list of his best films:
The Front Page, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Lost Weekend, The Spirit of St. Louis, One Two Three, Ace in the Hole, The Seven Year Itch, Sabrina, Some Like It Hot, Witness For the Prosecution, The Fortune Cookie.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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