The Apartment: Wikis


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The Apartment

original movie poster
Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder
I.A.L. Diamond
Starring Jack Lemmon
Shirley MacLaine
Fred MacMurray
Jack Kruschen
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography Joseph LaShelle
Editing by Daniel Mandell
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) June 15, 1960 (1960-06-15) (US)
20 July (UK)
Running time 125 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,000,000 (est.)

The Apartment is a 1960 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. It was Wilder's follow up to the enormously popular Some Like It Hot and was an equal commercial and critical hit, grossing $25 million at the box office. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won five, including Best Picture.

It was later adapted by Neil Simon, Burt Bacharach and Hal David into the Broadway musical Promises, Promises.



C. C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a lonely office drone for an insurance company in New York City. Four different company managers take turns commandeering Baxter's apartment, which is located on West 67th Street on the Upper West Side, for their various extramarital liaisons. Unhappy with the situation, but unwilling to challenge them directly, he juggles their conflicting demands while hoping to catch the eye of fetching elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). Meanwhile the neighbors in the apartment building assume Baxter is a "good time Charlie" who brings home a different drunken woman every night. Baxter accepts their criticism rather than reveal the truth.

The four managers write glowing reports about Baxter — a little too glowing, so personnel director Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) suspects something illicit behind the praise. Sheldrake lets Baxter's promotion go unchallenged on condition that he be allowed to use the apartment as well, starting that night. Sheldrake gives Baxter two tickets to The Music Man to ensure his absence. Delighted about his promotion, Baxter asks Kubelik to meet him at the theatre. She agrees and it is revealed to the audience that she is Sheldrake's girlfriend, intending to break off their affair that night but is instead charmed by Sheldrake to the apartment. Baxter is disappointed at being stood up, but is willing to forgive Kubelik.

Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter and Shirley MacLaine as Fran Kubelik

At an office party on Christmas Eve, Baxter discovers the relationship between Sheldrake and Kubelik, though he conceals this realization, while Kubelik learns from Sheldrake's secretary that she is merely the latest female employee to be his mistress, the secretary herself having filled that role several years earlier. At the apartment, Kubelik confronts Sheldrake with this information and while he maintains that he genuinely loves her, he leaves to return to his family. Meanwhile, a depressed Baxter picks up a woman in a local bar and, upon returning the apartment, is astounded to find Kubelik in his bed, fully clothed and overdosed on Baxter's sleeping pills.

Baxter sends his bar pickup home and enlists the help of his neighbour, a physician, in reviving Kubelik without notifying the authorities. The doctor makes various assumptions about Kubelik and Baxter, which Baxter concedes without revealing Sheldrake's involvement. Baxter later telephones Sheldrake and informs him of the situation, and while Sheldrake professes gratitude for Baxter's quiet handling of the matter, he avoids any further involvement. Kubelik recuperates in Baxter's apartment under his care for two days, during which he tries to entertain and distract her from any possible suicidal afterthoughts, talking her into playing numerous hands of gin rummy, though she is largely uninterested.

Baxter and Kubelik's absence from work is noted and commented on, with Baxter's former "customers" assuming that Baxter and Kubelik were having an affair. Kubelik's taxi-driver brother-in-law comes looking for her and two of the customers cheerfully direct him to Baxter's apartment, partly out of spite since he has been denying them access since his arrangement with Sheldrake. The brother-in-law also assumes the worst of Baxter and punches him several times.

Sheldrake, angered at his secretary for sharing the truth with Kubelik, fires her. She retaliates by telling his wife about his infidelities, leading to the breakup of the marriage. Sheldrake moves into a room at his athletic club and continues to string Kubelik along while he enjoys his newfound bachelorhood. Baxter finally takes a stand when Sheldrake demands the apartment for another liaison with Kubelik on New Year's Eve, which results in Baxter quitting the firm. When Kubelik hears of this from Sheldrake, she realizes that Baxter is the man who truly loves her and abandons him, running to the apartment. Baxter, in the midst of packing to move out, is bewildered by her appearance and her insistence on resuming their earlier game of gin rummy. When he declares his love for her, her reply is the now-famous final line of the movie: "Shut up and deal."


Immediately following the success of Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake, however after he died unexpectedly Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from Brief Encounter by Noel Coward, in which the main character used a friend's apartment to meet with a married woman. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger's wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee's apartment.[1] Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond's friends who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed.

Although Wilder generally required his actors to adhere exactly to the script, he allowed Jack Lemmon to improvise in two scenes: in one scene he squirted a bottle of nose drops across the room and in another he sang while making a meal of spaghetti. In another scene where Lemmon was supposed to mime being punched, he failed to move correctly and was accidentally knocked down. Wilder chose to use the shot of the genuine punch in the film. He also caught a cold when one scene on a park bench was filmed in sub-zero weather.

Art director Alexandre Trauner used forced perspective to create the set of a large insurance company office. The set appeared to be a long room full of desks and workers; however, successively smaller people and desks were placed to the back of the room ending up with dwarfs. He designed the set of Baxter's apartment to appear smaller and shabbier than the spacious apartments that usually appeared in films of the day. He used items from thrift stores and even some of Wilder's own furniture for the set.[2]



At the time of release, the film was a critical and commercial success, making 25 million at the box office. Currently, the film has a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film and added to his "Great Movies" list.

However, there was some criticism. Due to its themes of infidelity and adultery, the film was controversial for its time. It initially received some negative reviews for its content. Film critic Hollis Alpert of the Saturday Review called it "a dirty fairy tale".[3] According to Fred MacMurray, after the film's release he was accosted by a strange woman in the street who berated him for making a "dirty filthy movie" and hit him with her purse.[2]



Academy Awards



Although Jack Lemmon did not win, at the 2000 Awards, Kevin Spacey dedicated his Oscar for American Beauty to Lemmon's performance. According to the behind-the-scenes feature on the American Beauty DVD, the film's director, Sam Mendes, had watched The Apartment (among other classic American movies) as inspiration in preparation for shooting his film.

Other awards and honors

The Apartment also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source and Lemmon and MacLaine both won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe each for their performances. The film appears at #93 on the influential American Film Institute list of Top 100 Films, as well as at #20 on their list of 100 Laughs and at #62 on their 100 Passions list. In 2007, the film rose on the AFI's Top 100 list to #80. In 1994, The Apartment was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Currently the film is ranked 55th on They Shoot Pictures Don't They's poll of the '1000 Greatest Films of All-Time', as voted by 1,604 critics, filmmakers, reviewers, scholars and other likely film types. In 2002, a poll of film directors done by Sight and Sound magazine listed it as the 14th greatest film of all time (tied with La Dolce Vita).[5] In 2006, Premiere voted this film as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time".

The Apartment was the last film shot entirely in black-and-white to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. 1993's Schindler's List was shot primarily in black-and-white, but contained color sequences. All other Best Picture winners since The Apartment are either entirely or primarily in color.

American Film Institute recognition

See also


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Academy Award for Best Picture
Succeeded by
West Side Story
Preceded by
BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source
Succeeded by
Ballad of a Soldier
tied with The Hustler


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Apartment is a 1960 film produced and directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. It was Wilder's follow up to the enormously popular Some Like It Hot, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Directed by Billy Wilder. Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.
Movie-wise, there has never been anything like "The Apartment", love-wise, laugh-wise, or otherwise-wise! (taglines)


C.C. Baxter

  • That's the way it crumbles...cookie-wise.
  • On November 1st, 1959, the population of New York City was 8,042,783. If you laid all these people end to end, figuring an average height of five feet six and a half inches, they would reach from Times Square to the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. I know facts like this because I work for an insurance company - Consolidated Life of New York. We're one of the top five companies in the country. Our home office has 31,259 employees, which is more than the entire population of uhh... Natchez, Mississippi. I work on the 19th floor. Ordinary Policy Department, Premium Accounting Division, Section W, desk number 861.
  • Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe. I mean shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand and there you were.
  • Miss Kubelik, one doesn't get to be a second administrative assistant around here unless he's a pretty good judge of character, and as far as I'm concerned you're tops. I mean, decency-wise and otherwise-wise.


Fran Kubelik: Shall I light the candles?
C.C. Baxter: It's a must! Gracious living-wise.

C.C. Baxter: The's broken.
Fran Kubelik: Yes, I know. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel.

Fran Kubelik: I never catch colds.
C.C. Baxter: Really. I was reading some figures from the Sickness and Accident Claims Division. You know that the average New Yorker between the ages of twenty and fifty has two and a half colds a year.
Fran Kubelik: That makes me feel just terrible.
C.C. Baxter: Why?
Fran Kubelik: Well, to make the figures come out even, if I have no colds a year, some poor slob must have five colds a year.
C.C. Baxter: [sheepishly] Yeah... it's me.

C.C. Baxter: [playing cards] I love you, Miss Kubelik. Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal.

Fran Kubelik: Would you mind opening the window?
C.C. Baxter: Now don't go getting any ideas, Miss Kubelik.
Fran Kubelik: I just want some fresh air.
C.C. Baxter: It's only one story down. The best you can do is break a leg.
Fran Kubelik: So they'll shoot me - like a horse.
C.C. Baxter: Please, Miss Kubelik, you got to promise me you won't do anything foolish.
Fran Kubelik: Who'd care?
C.C. Baxter: I would.
Fran Kubelik: Why can't I ever fall in love with someone nice like you?

Mrs MacDougall: At night, it sorta spooks you. Walking into an empty apartment.
C.C. Baxter: I said I had no family. I didn't say I had an empty apartment.


  • Movie-wise, there has never been anything like "The Apartment", love-wise, laugh-wise, or otherwise-wise!


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