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The Apartment

The Apartment is a 1960 romantic comedy-drama produced and directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. more...

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Wilder's follow up to the enormously popular Some Like it Hot was an equal commercial and critical hit, grossing $25 million dollars at the box office, and winning the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards.


Lemmon plays C.C Baxter, a lonely office drone for an insurance company in New York City. Four different company managers commandeer his apartment for their extramarital liaisons. Unhappy with the situation, but unwilling to challenge them directly, he juggles their conflicting demands while hopes to catch the eye of a fetching elevator operator Miss Kubelik played by MacLaine. Meanwhile the neighbors, a medical doctor and his wife, assume Baxter is a "good time Charlie" who gets a different woman drunk every night. Baxter accepts their warm criticism rather than reveal that his apartment is little more than a brothel.

The four managers write glowing reports about Baxter. The reports are a little too glowing. Personnel director Mr. Sheldrake, played by MacMurray, suspects something illict behind the praise. Mr. Sheldrake lets Baxter's promotion go unchallenged on condition that Baxter's apartment - which is virtually a hotel - accept a fifth regular customer. Still delighted about the promotion, Baxter asks Miss Kubelik to a Broadway show. She agrees, then stands him up. On Christmas Eve Baxter is astounded to come home and find her in his bed, fully clothed, and overdosed on sleeping pills. Mr. Sheldrake had borrowed the apartment for the evening.

Baxter and his neighbor the doctor keep her alive and safe without notifying the authorities. She explains that she had an affair with Mr. Sheldrake the previous summer, ended it when his wife returned from vacation, and caved in to his appeals and promises later in the fall. When Sheldrake offered her money instead of a Christmas present she realized the ugliness of the situation and tried to commit suicide. The act shows a startling side of her usually sunny personality. Baxter tries to comfort her with assurances of Sheldrake's concern even though Sheldrake refuses to speak to her on the telephone.

Kubelik recuperates in Baxter's apartment for two days, long enough for her taxi driver brother-in-law to assume the worst of Baxter and come to blows. Sheldrake's catty secretary, one of his former mistresses, "educates" Mrs. Sheldrake. Humbled by a divorce lawsuit, Sheldrake asks Kubelik to become his second wife. Baxter finally takes a stand when Sheldrake demands the apartment for New Year's Eve. Kubelik realizes her love for Baxter that evening and runs to him. They end as two misfits, both out of a job, gleefully playing a card game of Gin.


The Apartment was nominated for ten Academy Awards and took home five. Billy Wilder won three, including his first for Best Picture, second for Best Director, and third for Best Screenplay. Although Jack Lemmon didn't win, Kevin Spacey dedicated his Oscar for American Beauty to Jack's performance.


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