The Apartment

I wouldn’t call this 1960 picture one of Billy Wilder’s best comediesit’s drab, sappy, and overlong at 125 minutes. But its numerous Oscarsfor best picture, direction, script, editing, and art directionindicate that many disagree with me (including the Coen brothers, who seem to have studied it for The Hudsucker Proxy, just as Wilder studied Vidor’s silent The Crowd for this). Jack Lemmon at his most hyperventilated plays an ambitious clerk who tries to get ahead by lending his apartment to executives for one-night stands, then falls in love with an elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) who’s being mistreated by his boss (Fred MacMurray). Wilder cohort I.A.L. Diamond collaborated on the script of this black-and-white ‘Scope movie; with Ray Walston and Edie Adams. (JR)

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