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Billy Wilder, in his own inimitable way, creates a brilliant romantic comedy that, for once, does not fall prey to sentimentality.

In his lifetime Billy Wilder has written and directed countless classics, but none of them is quite as magical as The Apartment. Effortlessly mixing broad comedy and poignant drama while dissecting early sixties American society, the movie has perhaps the best written screenplay of all time.

And that's not even the best part of the film! That credit goes to Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, both of whom you'll fall madly in love with, character-wise. Jack Lemmon, my favourite actor, puts in his most stunning, career-defining performance. His Bud Baxter appeals to the idealist in each of us, without neglecting the character's opportunistic traits.

Equal praise must go to Shirley MacLaine who touchingly conveys the naivety of hopeless infatuation to the audience. Moreover, the camera is madly in love with her, which further enhances her character's tragedy. The emotions from MacLaines sparkling doe eyes will soften the most hardened person.

Unusually for a comedy, the technical side of the film should also be praised. Alexander Trauner created an overwhelmingly original, often imitated office space with endless rows of desks. He deservedly won an Oscar for it, just like every single one of the five Oscars The Apartment won are among the most deserving ones ever handed out.

release: 1960

director: Billy Wilder

starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine, Fred MacMurray, Jack Kruschen


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