“The Apartment” is one of those classics that soared at the box office, dominated the Oscars, and doesn’t really leave any room for criticism. As Billy Wilder’s follow-up to “Some Like It Hot,” the film was destined for greatness with Jack Lemmon breathing life into its clever script. I was a bit surprised at the content considering that this film came out in 1960; however, even though the film’s portrayal of adultery was controversial, let us remember that Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” premiered a day after “The Apartment’s” release. This is one of the strangest love stories that I have ever seen, but that’s what makes it great. It avoids predictability, goes to some very dark places, and the unconventional ending leaves us wanting more while creating a satisfying resolution. Unlike many of our modern “dramedies” that combine comedy and drama into every scene, this film needs to be considered a “comedy and drama.” The first act is pure comedy while the second act becomes a serious drama with a few moments of comic relief. It doesn’t seem like it should work but the film seamlessly transitions from one to the other. The glue that holds the story together is the chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Even before the love interest is introduced, you want them to end up together. Their Oscar nominations were well deserved, as well as the Oscar wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best B&W Art Direction. From the leads and strong supporting cast to the script and unexpected surprises, “The Apartment” is a well-rounded film that has stood the test of time and can still catch us by surprise today.
[Pictured: It's truly a joy to watch these two onscreen together]