Review: The Apartment

Blu-ray: The Apartment (1960)

C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a man on the make, and the only way he can get ahead in his company is by loaning out his apartment to various bosses who take their mistresses there (instead of a hotel) for sex. He waits outside, in all weathers, patiently waiting for his promotion. Every day he chats to the lift operator Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) and over time, he falls for her.

Long lauded (and rightly so) as one of the best films made, and looking truly magnificent in its new 4k restoration, The Apartment, directed by super talented and beloved Billy Wilder (well, beloved by me), couldn’t resonate more right here, right now. In a time where women are finally being listened to about not being paid as much as men, about being overlooked, and about the sexual abuse some suffer, it’s almost like Billy knew it was coming.

Lowly hangdog Baxter feels hard done to having to get wet every night while one of his misogynistic using bosses fucks his mistress/secretary/wag in his apartment. His neighbours (a doctor and his wife) think he is reprehensible as all the ‘noise’ must be from him, night after night, woman after woman. Men make dates, he accommodates to the point of buying them booze. He begins to change when he finds out the lady he likes, Miss Kubelik, is having an affair with director, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). He is a little upset but accepts it as the norm.

When Kubliek takes an overdose in his apartment due to being distraught that Sheldrake will not leave his wife, Baxter finds her and essentially saves her life. He finally realises that he loves her and things must change.

The Apartment is rather antiquated in its storyline, made in 1960, women are still ‘dolls’. When Sheldrake’s secretary regales Kubelik about all the women Sheldrake has had, herself included, it underlines just how recently women have been given a voice and yet are still fighting to NOT be a secretary/doll/mistress. Have things really changed so much in 50 years? Nope.

So if that’s the case, why is this a wonderful, classic and unmissable film? Why because it is the sweetest of love stories. Lemmon worked so well with Wilder (5 films together) and here he has such a magnificent redemption that if you don’t shed a small tear then you are heartless! A real classic of cinema.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:

  • Limited Deluxe Edition Blu-ray [3000 copies]
  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • Optional 5.1 remix in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with film producer and historian Bruce Block
  • New appreciation of the film and select scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
  • The Flawed Couple, a new video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon
  • Billy Wilder ABC, an overview by David Cairns on the life and career of the filmmaker, covering his films, collaborators and more
  • New interview with actress Hope Holiday
  • Inside the Apartment, a half-hour “making-of” featurette from 2007 including interviews with Shirley MacLaine, executive producer Walter Mirisch, and others
  • Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon, an archive profile of the actor from 2007
  • Original screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond (BD-ROM content)
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Special collector’s packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Ignatius Fitzpatrick
  • Collector’s 150-page hardcover book featuring new writing by Neil Sinyard, Kat Ellinger, Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche, generously illustrated with rare stills and behind-the-scenes imagery

The Apartment is released on December 18th and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.