Submitted by melissa on February 3, 2012 - 12:16pm
It's amazing that The Apartment is at the same time relevant and a snapshot of an era. It's the story of a young insurance employee, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), who lends out his apartment to senior executives for their adulterous rendezvous in exchange for the hopes of a promotion. Baxter becomes smitten with an elevator girl, Fran (Shirley MacLaine), and when he finds out she's one of the ladies that frequents his apartment, begins to question his own actions. It's a very complicated drama with several realistically humorous elements.
The quality of the film on Bluray is phenomenal. I was completely blown away by the clarity and the contrasts of black and white. The film is shot in mostly medium shots, so there is a high level of detail in every scene that is amazing to analyze. Viewing on a large TV screen as well, the film is gorgeous, especially for the time it was made.
I would be hard pressed to choose what I like most about the film, as the dialogue, framing, cinematography and the acting are equally fantastic. My favorite line from the film, "When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara."
The Commentary with Film Historian Bruce Block gives very interesting comments on the history of production. Sometimes commentaries become boring with facts, but I was very enthralled by this one.
Inside The Apartment is a delightful featurette that goes into casting as well as into the genesis of the film as well as life at the time. This was made in a time before the MPAA rating, and there was a guideline to follow which included that a film must not attack the sanctity of marriage. This film manages to walk the line by completely avoiding the moral aspects of adultery and portraying it as real life. It was one of the first films to be realistic rather than offer the audience escapism.
As one of the most versatile actors of the 20th century, Jack Lemmon made seven films with director Billy Wilder, starting with 1959's Some Like It Hot. Jack's son, Chris, leads the short featurette on his father, entitled Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon. The actor/director relationship is explored somewhat, but it's really just an overview and not a biography at all. I would have liked more of a biography, as this was more of a tease. His career spanned so many films and decades that it seems unfair to try to sum it up in 15 minutes.
I highly recommend this Bluray as the film is enjoyable for multiple viewings and the quality can't be beat.
Rated: Approved (before MPAA rating) Theatrical release - 1960, Blu-ray January 24th, 2012 Directed by: Billy Wilder Written by: Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond Featuring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray Plot: A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.
Academy Award Winner: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Alexandre Trauner Edward G. Boyle; Best Director, Billy Wilder; Best Film Editing, Daniel Mandell; Best Picture, Billy Wilder; Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen, Billy Wilder I.A.L. Diamond
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Jack Lemmon; Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Jack Kruschen; Best Actress in a Leading Role Shirley MacLaine; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White Joseph LaShelle; Best Sound, Gordon Sawyer (Samuel Goldwyn SSD)