The Apartment (1960)
From the first look of its establishing scene it reminds me of the aerial shot from the West Side Story (1961). But then we could hear the narration of a man as it opens to a room of thousands of desks with people working simultaneously—where the heck is he?, who’s speaking who? Then C.C Baxter is his name portrayed by Jack Lemmon. A man that is vigorous, energetic and is called “Buddy boy” by his bosses because of his generosity and hard working attitude. Actually, what I find really fascinating is the story itself ; when Baxter introduced to us his nice and cozy apartment that is just perfect for a batchelor like him but the thing is there is a catch, a certain interesting problem—he can’t always get in when he wants to in his own apartment (that is the time when I raised my eyebrows, it is his own apartment after all) IT IS INDEED INTRIGUING.
Then one of his company bosses came out from his apartment with a woman and the other one called him in the middle of the night making a deal with him about his apartment. He wants to borrow his apartment just for 30 minutes because he had a jackpot with a woman that looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe. Well, with that borrowing-apartment strategy it made him welcome his promotion. It is certainly an opportunity-wise but it is tragic for him!
The apartment itself was pretty exciting but when you add the complicated relationships, the comedy, thrilling and bitter feelings that is presented in the story it becomes more appealing just like a great film looks and feels like.
I admired the characters itself—how they felt so real and true. Like the character of Shirley Maclaine, Fran Kubelik—an elevator girl at the same building Baxter works at. She is perfect with that short hair as she looks more fierce than ever but then when love started to consumed her and break her her long hair attitude of a woman opens and reveals her sadness that made her swallowed those sleeping pills. I know, it is a common thing to do but it doesn’t look like common rather it becomes more challenging and difficult for Baxter—because she loves the woman, that woman who has an affair with his boss, Mr. Sheldrake who offers him a promotion and whom he lends his apartment (That is just awful). I really adore how Baxter (the character) reacts to the situation. He is genuinely hurt but still unaffected and unselfish when he saw Fran lying on his bed, unconscious. It is unrequited love for him, at first.
Then the next plot came, (engaging part, lots of funny scenes!) when Fran spent two days with Baxter. They slowly created a wonderful relationship. There’s a funny part when she discovers the alluring gig that is often occuring at his apartment but she just reacted genuinely about it, like it’s such a usual thing—that is a real character! Then, he tells the story when he himself tried to commit suicide with the use of a gun but instead he accidentally shot himself on the knee! That is really funny! Then everything between them becomes really warm, they were playing cards and I think they both feel a love that’s started to grow inside them. It is really bitter-sweet!
I had made the right decision to watch this film, the way it was created it is indeed a story-wise, acting-wise and just movie-wise!
Basically, the direction of this film was authentic, precise and striking. The looks of Black and White justifies the celebration of bitterness in love and in life. It doesn’t look exhausting or foggy; rather, it appears to be attractive and intriguing. The cinematography is on point and mostly with the intelligent use of Wide, Medium and Close-up shots whereas there’s this scene when Baxter left the phone open for Fran (because Mr. Sheldrake was on the line waiting for her) this is one of my favorite shots in the film, it makes use of wide shot when Fran slowly walked towards the phone with an intense look in her face then she stops in front and we can see closely the phone waiting and her hands hesitating or maybe with excitement then we follow a panning shot turning upwards as she grabs the phone and says “Hello Jeff”, it simultaneously changed the mood of the character and also the scene. She looks rather sad, warm and with guilt.
Another thing, the genius editing at the end scene where Fran ran upstairs to see Baxter in New Year’s Eve then suddenly she heard a loud “bang” it was devastatingly incredible, the exact reaction of Maclaine and the sound is perfect. It was intense and romantic. The funny thing about it is that it is not a gunshot that she heard but a bottle of champagne that was popped, it’s New Year’s Eve after all! Everything is loud and celebrating, but the interesting part is that that sound terrifies her because perhaps she remembers the story that Baxter told her (the suicide that turns out to be an accidental knee shooting) and when he opens the door and he’s alive with the dripping champagne on his hand she finally can breathe, still she asked him if his knee was alright thinking maybe he (by any chance) shoots his knee again—Oh it’s undoubtedly hilarious! I love it! It’s just brilliant comedy. I remember watching a scene like this from the film The Artist (2011). It was a great kind of misleading.
I was mesmerized by the last part when they continue playing cards it was really funny and romantic. When Baxter just being himself saying he loves her and adores her then Fran is also being herself responding with a striking line “Shut up and deal” with a smile on her face and with a real amusement in his eyes. CHARMING!
Well, I consider this film one of my favorites next to Gone with the Wind. It has its own magic and—
IT’S JUST THE WAY IT CRUMBLES, COOKIE-WISE!