The Apartment

The Apartment
The Apartment

“The Apartment,” directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1960, is a timeless classic that seamlessly blends comedy, drama, and romance. This captivating film delves into the life of C.C. Baxter, a lonely and ambitious office worker who lends his apartment to his superiors for their extramarital affairs. As the story unfolds, it explores themes of love, loneliness, and the compromises people make in pursuit of success.

The film begins by introducing us to Baxter, played brilliantly by Jack Lemmon, as a small cog in the corporate machinery of a large New York City insurance company. Baxter’s monotonous existence revolves around working long hours, hoping for a promotion, and lending his apartment to executives for their clandestine rendezvous. This arrangement provides him with a convenient way to climb the corporate ladder, but it also leaves him emotionally empty and disconnected.

Baxter’s life takes a turn when he becomes infatuated with Fran Kubelik, portrayed by Shirley MacLaine, an elevator operator who is also involved in an affair with one of the company’s executives. Their paths cross, and Baxter finds himself torn between his growing feelings for Fran and his desire to maintain his upward trajectory in the company.

Wilder skillfully weaves a story that explores the complexities of human relationships and the consequences of compromising one’s integrity. The film’s dialogue is sharp, witty, and full of memorable lines that have become iconic in cinematic history. Wilder’s signature blend of humor and pathos creates a unique tone that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.

One of the standout aspects of “The Apartment” is its remarkable cast and their exceptional performances. Jack Lemmon delivers a tour de force performance as Baxter, perfectly capturing his vulnerability, humor, and longing for something more meaningful in life. Shirley MacLaine shines as Fran, infusing the character with depth, resilience, and a captivating vulnerability that makes her portrayal both relatable and heart-wrenching.

The chemistry between Lemmon and MacLaine is palpable, and their on-screen interactions are both tender and poignant. They bring an authenticity to their characters’ relationship, allowing the audience to become emotionally invested in their journey.

The film’s success can also be attributed to Billy Wilder’s masterful direction and his ability to balance multiple genres. Wilder’s keen eye for detail and his astute observations of human behavior are evident throughout the film. His use of visual storytelling, such as the repeated imagery of Baxter’s desk in a sea of identical desks, underscores the theme of loneliness and the loss of individuality in a corporate environment.

Another notable aspect of “The Apartment” is its evocative cinematography, captured beautifully by Joseph LaShelle. The black-and-white visuals add a sense of timelessness to the film, while also enhancing the contrasting moods of comedy and drama. The cinematography effectively captures the bustling streets of New York City and the intimate moments between the characters, further immersing the audience in the story.

The film’s score, composed by Adolph Deutsch, complements the narrative perfectly. From the playful and jazzy tunes to the poignant and melancholic melodies, the music adds depth and enhances the emotional impact of the film’s key moments.

Unforgettable scenes abound in “The Apartment.” One notable sequence is the New Year’s Eve party, where Baxter finds himself alone in his apartment after initially being promised a date with Fran. The scene is a striking depiction of Baxter’s loneliness, as he tries to drown out his disappointment by methodically preparing a frozen dinner for one and watching the revelry happening outside his window. It’s a moment of quiet reflection that encapsulates the film’s themes of isolation and yearning.

The film’s conclusion is both satisfying and bittersweet. Without giving too much away, the film’s conclusion brings a sense of resolution to the characters’ journeys. It showcases personal growth, redemption, and the triumph of love over societal expectations. It is a testament to the film’s ability to navigate complex themes and provide a satisfying and heartfelt conclusion.

“The Apartment” is not only a remarkable work of storytelling but also a social commentary on the moral compromises and personal sacrifices individuals make in their pursuit of success. It sheds light on the dehumanizing aspects of corporate culture and the toll it takes on personal relationships and emotional well-being. The film’s examination of loneliness, infidelity, and the search for genuine connection resonates with audiences across generations.

Beyond its narrative and thematic depth, “The Apartment” stands as a testament to Billy Wilder’s skill as a director. His ability to blend humor and drama seamlessly creates a unique tone that sets the film apart. Wilder’s knack for crafting memorable characters, sharp dialogue, and thought-provoking storytelling is on full display here.

The success of “The Apartment” extends beyond critical acclaim. The film received widespread recognition upon its release, earning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. It also solidified Jack Lemmon’s status as a leading actor and garnered praise for Shirley MacLaine’s nuanced and captivating performance. The film’s enduring popularity has cemented its place as a classic of American cinema.

Moreover, “The Apartment” continues to resonate with audiences today due to its timeless themes and universal emotions. The exploration of human relationships, loneliness, and the complexities of navigating personal and professional lives remains relevant in contemporary society. The film’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to touch the hearts and minds of viewers, sparking introspection and empathy.

In conclusion, “The Apartment” is a cinematic masterpiece that combines comedy, drama, and romance to explore the human condition. With its remarkable cast, impeccable direction, and a screenplay that balances wit and depth, the film remains a shining example of storytelling at its finest. Its examination of personal and moral dilemmas, set against the backdrop of a corporate world, strikes a chord with audiences, leaving a lasting impact. “The Apartment” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate and resonate with viewers, solidifying its place in the pantheon of great films.

“The Apartment” (1960), directed by Billy Wilder, boasts a talented cast and crew who brought the film to life with their exceptional skills and creativity.


1. Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter: Lemmon delivers a standout performance as the protagonist, bringing a perfect blend of comedy and vulnerability to the character. His portrayal of Baxter earned him critical acclaim and solidified his status as a leading actor.

2. Shirley MacLaine as Fran Kubelik: MacLaine shines as Fran, capturing the complexities of her character with grace and depth. Her nuanced performance adds emotional depth to the film and creates a compelling dynamic with Lemmon’s Baxter.

3. Fred MacMurray as Jeff Sheldrake: MacMurray portrays the company executive involved in an affair with Fran. He brings a certain charm and complexity to the character, showcasing his ability to play both likable and morally questionable roles.

4. Ray Walston as Joe Dobisch: Walston delivers a memorable performance as Baxter’s colleague and neighbor, providing comedic relief and adding layers to the film’s ensemble cast.

5. Jack Kruschen as Dr. Dreyfuss: Kruschen’s portrayal of Baxter’s neighbor and confidant adds warmth and depth to the film. His chemistry with Lemmon enhances the emotional resonance of their scenes together.

6. Edie Adams as Miss Olsen: Adams portrays the witty and assertive secretary who forms a connection with Baxter. Her performance adds a touch of humor and sophistication to the film.


1. Billy Wilder (Director/Co-Writer): Known for his versatility and sharp storytelling, Wilder’s direction brings “The Apartment” to life. His ability to balance comedy and drama, as well as his keen observations of human behavior, elevate the film.

2. I.A.L. Diamond (Co-Writer): Diamond collaborated with Wilder on the screenplay, and their partnership resulted in a script that seamlessly combines wit, social commentary, and emotional depth. Their sharp dialogue and well-crafted narrative contributed to the film’s success.

3. Joseph LaShelle (Cinematography): LaShelle’s cinematography captures the essence of New York City and the characters’ emotions with finesse. The use of black-and-white visuals adds a timeless quality to the film and enhances its overall aesthetic.

4. Adolph Deutsch (Music): Deutsch’s musical score adds texture and emotional depth to the film. His compositions perfectly complement the tone and mood of each scene, enhancing the storytelling.

5. Daniel Mandell (Editing): Mandell’s editing prowess ensures a seamless flow between comedic moments and dramatic sequences. His precise editing choices contribute to the film’s pacing and overall impact.

6. Alexandre Trauner (Production Design): Trauner’s production design recreates the bustling world of corporate offices and New York City apartments. His attention to detail and ability to capture the essence of the era add authenticity to the film’s setting.

The combined efforts of this talented cast and crew resulted in a film that remains a classic in cinema history. Their contributions, from the performances to the direction, cinematography, and music, have made “The Apartment” a timeless masterpiece.

“The Apartment” (1960) achieved considerable success both critically and commercially, solidifying its place as one of the greatest films in cinematic history. Let’s delve into the details of its success.

Critical Acclaim:

Upon its release, “The Apartment” received widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its writing, performances, direction, and thematic depth. The film was lauded for its ability to blend comedy and drama seamlessly, tackling complex subjects with wit and emotional resonance. Billy Wilder’s direction and screenplay, co-written with I.A.L. Diamond, were particularly celebrated for their sharpness and social commentary.

The film’s performances were highly acclaimed, with Jack Lemmon earning praise for his portrayal of C.C. Baxter. His nuanced and comedic performance resonated with audiences and critics alike. Shirley MacLaine’s portrayal of Fran Kubelik also garnered acclaim for its depth and vulnerability, solidifying her status as a talented actress. The supporting cast, including Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, and Jack Kruschen, received praise for their performances as well.

Commercial Success:

Alongside critical acclaim, “The Apartment” enjoyed significant commercial success. It resonated with audiences and became a box office hit upon its release. The film’s compelling story and engaging performances attracted a wide audience, propelling its success at the box office. Its commercial triumph solidified Billy Wilder’s reputation as a filmmaker who could deliver both critical acclaim and financial success.

Awards and Recognition:

“The Apartment” garnered numerous accolades and awards. It received ten Academy Award nominations, winning five of them, including Best Picture, Best Director for Billy Wilder, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing. These prestigious wins underscored the film’s exceptional quality and its recognition within the industry.

Beyond the Academy Awards, “The Apartment” received recognition from various other award organizations. It won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor for Jack Lemmon, and Best Screenplay. The film also received honors from the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), and Writers Guild of America (WGA), among others.

Cultural Impact and Legacy:

“The Apartment” has had a lasting cultural impact and has become a beloved classic. Its exploration of themes such as love, loneliness, and corporate culture resonates with audiences of different generations. The film’s enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless storytelling and the universal emotions it evokes.

“The Apartment” continues to be celebrated as one of Billy Wilder’s finest works and as a significant contribution to the Golden Age of Hollywood. It has been included in numerous “best films of all time” lists and is studied and referenced in film schools and academic settings.

Influence on Filmmaking:

“The Apartment” has also had a profound influence on subsequent filmmaking. Its successful blend of comedy and drama, along with its insightful social commentary, has inspired filmmakers to explore similar themes in their own works. The film’s impact can be seen in the works of directors who appreciate its combination of wit, emotion, and social critique.

In conclusion, “The Apartment” achieved significant success both critically and commercially. Its critical acclaim, box office success, and awards recognition highlight its exceptional quality and its enduring impact on the cinematic landscape. The film’s exploration of complex themes, masterful direction, stellar performances, and timeless storytelling continue to captivate audiences, cementing its status as a true cinematic masterpiece.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of “The Apartment” (1960), there are several interesting anecdotes and production details that shed light on the making of the film:

1. Unique Filming Technique: To achieve a more intimate and authentic feel, director Billy Wilder decided to shoot the film using anamorphic lenses with a wider aspect ratio. This allowed the actors to have more freedom of movement within the frame and gave the film a distinctive visual style.

2. Script Collaboration: Billy Wilder and co-writer I.A.L. Diamond worked closely together to develop the script. They often engaged in extensive discussions and debates to refine the dialogue and ensure a balance between comedy and drama. Their collaboration resulted in the sharp and witty screenplay for which the film is renowned.

3. Realistic Set Design: Production designer Alexandre Trauner meticulously recreated the interiors of office buildings and apartments, focusing on authenticity and attention to detail. The sets were designed to reflect the time period and evoke a sense of realism, enhancing the audience’s immersion in the story.

4. Improvised Tennis Scene: One memorable scene in the film features Jack Lemmon’s character, C.C. Baxter, playing a game of tennis with his neighbor. In a spontaneous and unscripted moment, Lemmon actually hits the ball out of the park, causing Shirley MacLaine’s character, Fran Kubelik, to burst into laughter. The genuine reaction was so charming that it was included in the final cut.

5. Challenging Shooting Schedule: The filming schedule for “The Apartment” was tight, with the production taking place over just eight weeks. Despite the time constraints, Billy Wilder and his crew worked efficiently to bring the story to life while maintaining the high quality for which they were known.

6. Inspirations and Influences: Billy Wilder drew inspiration from his own experiences working in the film industry, as well as from classic screwball comedies and romantic dramas. He infused the film with his signature blend of wit, satire, and social commentary, creating a unique and memorable cinematic experience.

7. Use of Elevator Shots: The film features numerous scenes set in the office building’s elevator. To achieve the illusion of movement, the elevator was placed on a large platform that could be mechanically lowered or raised. This allowed the camera to capture the characters’ interactions as if they were actually riding the elevator.

8. Casting Choices: The casting of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in the lead roles proved to be a stroke of genius. Their chemistry and comedic timing brought an additional layer of depth and authenticity to the characters. Fred MacMurray, primarily known for his roles in family-friendly films, was cast against type as the morally ambiguous executive, further adding to the film’s surprises.

These behind-the-scenes details showcase the dedication, creativity, and collaborative efforts that went into the making of “The Apartment.” They highlight the artistic choices, improvisations, and influences that contributed to the film’s unique charm and enduring appeal.

“The Apartment” (1960) is not particularly known for its songs, as it is primarily a dialogue-driven film. However, there are memorable scenes and iconic lines that have become legendary in cinema history. Let’s explore some of them:

Unforgettable Scenes:

1. Mirror Reflection: One of the most visually striking and emotionally impactful scenes in the film is when Jack Lemmon’s character, C.C. Baxter, looks at himself in the mirror after a series of disappointments. It captures the vulnerability and introspection of the character, showcasing Lemmon’s acting prowess.

2. The Card Game: The card game scene is a memorable comedic moment in the film. As Baxter hosts a poker game in his apartment, chaos ensues when unexpected guests arrive. The scene is filled with witty banter, physical comedy, and a sense of frantic energy that keeps the audience engaged and entertained.

3. New Year’s Eve: The New Year’s Eve sequence is a pivotal moment in the film, where characters come together, emotions run high, and decisions are made. It features a mix of joy, heartbreak, and reconciliation, creating a memorable climax that reflects the complexities of human relationships.

Iconic Dialogues:

1. “Shut up and deal.”: This line, delivered by Jack Lemmon’s character, C.C. Baxter, in the card game scene, has become an often-quoted line from the film. It perfectly captures the character’s frustration and showcases Lemmon’s impeccable comedic timing.

2. “That’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise.”: Another memorable line from the film, spoken by Baxter, encapsulates the bittersweet nature of life and the unexpected turns it can take. It has become a popular phrase used to express acceptance of life’s ups and downs.

3. “I love you, Miss Kubelik.”: The heartfelt confession of love by Baxter to Shirley MacLaine’s character, Fran Kubelik, is a poignant moment in the film. It showcases the emotional depth and vulnerability of the characters and has resonated with audiences as a declaration of true feelings.

While “The Apartment” may not be known for its songs, its unforgettable scenes and iconic dialogues have left a lasting impression on viewers. The film’s blend of humor, drama, and insightful observations on human relationships has made these moments stand the test of time, solidifying their status as memorable and beloved aspects of the film.

“The Apartment” (1960) is a film that weaves together comedy, drama, and social commentary in a masterful way, leaving a deep and lasting impact on its viewers. As we delve into the movie’s conclusion, we witness the culmination of its themes, character arcs, and emotional resonance.

In the final act of the film, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) finds himself at a crossroads. He has realized the emptiness of his ambition and the toll it has taken on his personal life. He has fallen in love with Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), who was previously involved with his boss, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). Baxter confronts Sheldrake about his mistreatment of Fran and his own complicity in the affair, ultimately resigning from his job.

The film reaches its emotional climax on New Year’s Eve when Baxter learns that Fran has taken an overdose of sleeping pills in despair. Desperate to save her, Baxter rushes to her side, aided by his neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen). In a tense and heart-wrenching scene, Baxter’s actions demonstrate his growth and his realization of what truly matters in life.

The resolution of “The Apartment” is bittersweet. Fran survives the suicide attempt, but her emotional wounds are deep. Baxter’s love and support become a lifeline for her, and she begins to find strength and hope in their connection. It is a journey of healing and redemption for both characters.

The film’s conclusion offers a powerful commentary on the corrosive nature of corporate culture and the impact it can have on individuals. Through Baxter’s transformation, the audience witnesses the triumph of personal integrity and human connection over ambition and moral compromise. It is a poignant reminder that true happiness and fulfillment lie not in professional success but in meaningful relationships and personal growth.

One of the most significant aspects of the film’s conclusion is the character development of C.C. Baxter. Throughout the story, he undergoes a profound transformation, shedding his initial willingness to sacrifice his integrity for professional advancement. He learns the importance of standing up for oneself and others, finding the courage to confront his boss and make a moral stand. In doing so, he gains a sense of self-worth and finds love in the process.

Fran Kubelik’s journey is equally impactful. Her near-fatal decision serves as a catalyst for self-reflection and introspection. Through her relationship with Baxter, she learns to value her own worth and find strength in vulnerability. The film presents a nuanced portrayal of a woman overcoming heartbreak and reclaiming her agency, leaving the audience with a message of resilience and empowerment.

The conclusion of “The Apartment” also underscores the idea that genuine human connection is essential for personal happiness. As Baxter and Fran forge a deep bond rooted in trust, compassion, and mutual understanding, they find solace and healing in each other’s arms. The film emphasizes the transformative power of love and the potential for redemption even in the face of adversity.

In addition to its character arcs, the film’s conclusion addresses the larger societal issues it tackles. It serves as a critique of the dehumanizing nature of corporate environments, where personal lives are sacrificed for the sake of professional advancement. “The Apartment” encourages its audience to reflect on the importance of work-life balance, ethical decision-making, and the impact of our actions on others.

In conclusion, “The Apartment” delivers a powerful and resonant ending that ties together its themes, character arcs, and social commentary. It leaves the audience with a sense of catharsis and a profound reflection on the nature of love, personal integrity, and the pursuit of happiness. The film’s conclusion serves as a poignant reminder that amidst the complexities and compromises of life “The Apartment” reminds us of the inherent value of personal connections, empathy, and moral fortitude. It encourages us to reevaluate our priorities and consider the impact of our choices on others.

As the film concludes, we witness the characters’ growth and the transformation of their relationships. Baxter and Fran find solace and understanding in each other’s arms, embarking on a journey of healing and rediscovery. Their love becomes a beacon of hope, representing the possibility of redemption and a fresh start.

The final scenes of the film beautifully capture the essence of the characters’ evolution. We see Baxter, once a faceless cog in the corporate machine, emerge as an individual with a newfound sense of self-worth and integrity. He has learned the hard way that true success is not measured by career achievements alone, but by the strength of one’s character and the quality of their relationships.

Fran, on the other hand, finds the courage to confront her pain and embrace her own worthiness. Through Baxter’s unwavering support and genuine affection, she begins to heal from the scars of her past and regain her sense of self. The film suggests that love can be a catalyst for personal growth and resilience, even in the face of adversity.

In addition to the central characters, the conclusion also offers resolution for the supporting cast. Mr. Sheldrake, the embodiment of corporate callousness, faces the consequences of his actions as Baxter exposes his affair with Fran. The film serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the destructive power of unchecked ambition and the importance of ethical behavior.

“The Apartment” is renowned for its witty and insightful dialogue, which resonates long after the credits roll. From the humorous banter to the poignant exchanges, the film’s dialogues encapsulate the complexities of human relationships and the internal struggles of the characters. Each line is delivered with impeccable timing and nuance, enhancing the emotional depth and impact of the narrative.

One of the film’s most iconic lines is spoken by Baxter as he declares his love to Fran: “I love you, Miss Kubelik.” This simple yet heartfelt expression of affection encapsulates the emotional climax of the story and encapsulates the film’s core theme of love’s transformative power.

As for the unforgettable scenes, “The Apartment” is filled with moments that have become ingrained in cinematic history. The mirror reflection scene, where Baxter gazes at himself in self-contemplation, captures the universal experience of introspection and self-realization. The card game scene, filled with fast-paced humor and unexpected twists, showcases the film’s ability to seamlessly blend comedy with underlying social commentary.

The New Year’s Eve sequence, with its mix of joy, heartbreak, and reconciliation, leaves an indelible mark on the audience. It is a powerful representation of the complexities of human emotions, the fragility of relationships, and the potential for growth and redemption.


In conclusion, “The Apartment” is a timeless classic that resonates with audiences to this day. Its conclusion brings together the various narrative threads, character arcs, and thematic elements to deliver a profound and thought-provoking experience. It serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love, the importance of personal integrity, and the pursuit of genuine human connections in an often impersonal world.

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