Review: The Apartment (1960)


I wish I could get one girl to fall for me, let alone a freaking flock of them!

Written By: I.A.L. Diamond & Billy Wilder
Directed By: Billy Wilder

The Apartment is a hard movie to peg because it is a comedy, a drama and a message movie. It works as all three, yet at the same time it never settles into itself because it floats from one to the other so much. Now, movies need not be defined in any way, but it is possible for a movie to try to be too many things and I think that was the case with The Apartment. It needed to settle down at one point and really find out what movie it was and what it was trying to say, and it never really did that. The Apartment is still a great movie, but its lack of focus is a drawback in an otherwise cleverly made film.

Where The Apartment worked best for me wasn’t in the comedy or the drama, but in the look at corporate America, capitalism and the modern workplace. I hate the modern workplace, I hate the entire idea of a nine to five job in a cubicle and all that entails. In that regard The Apartment was a great movie for me, highlighting the ridiculous kowtowing that takes place, the myriad of bosses and their bosses, as well as the gossipy nature of the work place. I can’t stand any of those things and The Apartment took the American office workplace to task for how corrupt it really is if you stop and examine it.

I thought all of the acting was spot on, although the only actor who really stood out for me was Fred MacMurray as Mr. Sheldrake. Seeing Mr. Family Movie play such a devious and morally bankrupt character was a fun trip. Jack Lemmon was funny as usual, although at times I felt he was hamming it up a bit too much; at least that was what I thought before the incident with Fran. Shirley MacLaine was likable as the young girl who knows what’s up but just doesn’t want to realize it. I was especially fond of a young, if you can call him that because even young he looked old, Ray Walston as one of the lecherous department heads.

All in all The Apartment was a well-made movie with some great one liners, cunning wit, good acting and a message I could get behind. Its lone drawback was its inability to gel into one cohesive film. But, The Apartment is still a fine film to watch and another great work from the mind of Billy Wilder.



Bill Thompson

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