The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray, was released in 1960. Directed by acclaimed auteaur Billy Wilder (Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard), the film won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It is regarded as a classic and one of the greatest movies of the 20th century.
Set in New York, in the early 1960s, The Apartment tells the story of C.C. "Bud" Baxter(Jack Lemmon), who is just another cog in the machine at a large insurance firm.
Fueled by his desire to escape the lower ranks, and filled with the promise of promotion, Baxter - a bachelor - allows his superiors to use his apartment for their extramarital affairs with numerous woman.
As it turns out, the head of Baxter's company, Jeff D. Sheldrake(Fred MacMurray) uses his apartment to have an affair with a girl that Baxter had asked on a date. The girl, Fran(Shirley MacLaine), torturted with Sheldrakes false promises that he will leave his wife, overdoses on sleeping pills while in Bud's apartment.
Bud spends the next days nursing Fran back to health and protecting her from rumors. He starts to grow more enlightened about his grim situation at the firm. Baxter realizes that he must quit his job and stop allowing his supervisors to use his apartment for shady affairs if he is to ever be happy.
In the end, after some reluctence and repeated mistakes, Fran eventually gets over her feckless pursuit of Sheldrake, and realizes she should be with Baxter.
Despite being considered a comedy, The Apartment gained a lot of acclaim for its near-radical depiction of the American Dream - something the film industry was not used to yet. Rather than shed a positive light on topics like corporate America, love, and marriage, the film explored a darker reality with affairs, suicide, and a disgruntled employee unfulfilled by his career.
Wilder's use of black and white film, carefully balanced shots, and even pacing provide a stark visual backdrop that underscore the movie's bleak themes.
of desks and typewriters, mirrored by the endless lights overhead.
"that's the way it crumbles...cookie-wise."