Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Retro Review: THE APARTMENT (1960)

Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a trip back in time to look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we review the 1960 romantic dramedy, THE APARTMENT.  Enjoy!

The Apartment is a romantic dramedy written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, and directed by the aforementioned Billy Wilder. It stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray and Jack Kruschen. It's a satire about sex and rat race centres on a pushover company man, who lends his apartment to executives for their affairs until he falls for his boss' latest girlfriend.

Much like how lead character Calvin (Jack Lemmon) falls in love with Fran (Shirley MacLaine), I fell in love with The Apartment, a funny, warm-hearted dramedy that had me literally saying out loud during the first 25 minutes, "This will become one of my favourite films of all time!", and so it did, mostly due to Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's character driven screenplay.

The characters in this film are three-dimensional human beings, a quality that the romance genre often lacks. In The Apartment, Calvin is caring, yet corrupt, naïve, yet smarter than anyone else in the room. He is one of the best characters in American film history, and Lemmon's brilliant, funny, dramatic, and relatable performance is one of the best I have ever seen, a truly remarkable sight to see.

Shirley MacLaine is wonderful as Fran, and her character is so multi-layered. She is spunky, yet vulnerable, and MacLaine inhabits both traits perfectly, and has excellent chemistry with Lemmon. The two are easily one of the best duos in film. The supporting cast is also very good, with Jack Kruschen stealing every scene he is in.

The plot itself, the story of Calvin, a mild mannered clerk who rents out his NYC apartment to colleagues who are cheating on their wives, in order to get higher up in the company, yet happens to fall in love with his boss's mistress, doesn't just keep the audience interested, but also raises important questions, another quality that is often lacking in this particular genre. What would you do to get to the upper echelon? Would you pimp out your apartment to colleagues and bosses? Do you give up everything you worked for, for love? Do you give everything away because someone doesn't love you back?

It is also very, very funny, mostly due to Lemmon and MacLaine, and the hijinks that go on, yet Wilder always manages to keep the tone consistent, a feat many fail to do. Overall, The Apartment is a wonderful, character driven dramedy that made me laugh, cry and fall in love with each and every aspect with the film. Easily, my favourite romantic comedy ever made.

Sammy's Score: 10/10

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