The Apartment


2h 5m 1960
The Apartment

Brief Synopsis

An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for assignations, only to fall for the big chief's mistress.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Jul 1960
Premiere Information
New York opening: 15 Jun 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Jun 1960; London premiere: 23 Jul 1960
Production Company
The Mirisch Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood, California, USA; New York City, New York, USA; New York City, New York, United States; New York City--Central Park, New York, United States; New York City--Columbus Avenue, New York, United States; New York City--Majestic Theatre, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m
Sound
Mono (Westrex)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In New York in November 1959, C. C. "Buddy" Baxter toils in anonymity in the vast, impersonal offices of Consolidated Life Insurance. At his small apartment, however, Buddy has attracted the attention of several Consolidated executives who "borrow" the space for their extramarital trysts. Buddy, continually assured that he will gain a speedy promotion in thanks for his extra apartment key, endures repeated indignities and spends many of his nights walking the streets, looking up longingly at his own window. In addition, the constant flow of women to the apartment earns Buddy the antipathy of his neighbors, including kindly Dr. Dreyfuss and his wife Mildred, who assume that he is a callous playboy. In reality, Buddy lives a quiet, lonely life, and one night when Consolidated manager Joe Dobisch insists on using the apartment, Buddy contracts a cold while sitting outside in the rain waiting to be allowed back in. In the morning, Buddy works up the nerve to talk to elevator girl Fran Kubelik, who has a reputation among the executives as being hard to get. After spending the afternoon juggling apartment "appointments" so he can rest alone that evening, Buddy is called to the office of personnel manager J. D. "Jeff" Sheldrake, who confronts him about his popularity with the various executives. Although Buddy is worried he will be fired, in reality the married Sheldrake is attempting to intimidate him into lending him the apartment key, and despite his cold, Buddy is buoyed by Sheldrake's promise of an executive position. Unaware that Sheldrake's current girl friend is Fran, Buddy asks her to a play that evening. Because Fran is planning to break up with Sheldrake, she tells Buddy she will join him after meeting her "date" briefly. Fran later meets Sheldrake at a bar and tells him it is too painful for her to date a married man, but he convinces her that he is just about to ask his wife for a divorce. While Buddy waits at the theater, Sheldrake takes Fran back to Buddy's apartment. Soon after, Buddy receives his promised promotion and proudly marches away from the 17th floor's endless rows of underlings into a private office on the 19th floor. Dobisch and the other executives, frustrated that they have not been allowed to use the apartment lately, threaten Buddy's new job but he remains securely in Sheldrake's good graces, still unaware that Sheldrake's constant dates at the apartment are with Fran. At Christmas, the 19th floor hosts a party at which most of the company's employees carouse and imbibe. Buddy is thrilled to see Fran but does not realize that Sheldrake's secretary, Miss Olsen, has just informed Fran that Sheldrake routinely seduces all the women in the office, using the same speech to make each conquest. Dazed, Fran barely listens to Buddy's conversation, and when she pulls out her compact, he recognizes it as the one Sheldrake's "girl friend" once left at the apartment. Upon learning that Sheldrake plans another tryst that evening, a distraught Buddy retreats to a nearby bar, becoming ill-humoredly drunk with melancholy stranger Margie MacDougall. Meanwhile, Fran meets Sheldrake at the apartment and, receiving his Christmas gift of a $100 bill, becomes despondent. After Sheldrake leaves, Fran swallows Buddy's bottle of sleeping pills and passes out on his bed. When Buddy returns with Margie, he finds Fran and, throwing Margie out, rushes to Dr. Dreyfuss to ask for help. Dreyfuss, assuming that Buddy has mistreated Fran and driven her to suicide, excoriates Buddy while ministering to Fran. Under his care, she survives, and they return her to bed. Although Dreyfuss wants to report the situation, Buddy talks him out of it, after which Dreyfuss urges him to be "a mensch ," the Yiddish word for a good human being. The next morning, as Sheldrake is celebrating Christmas with his family, Buddy calls to inform him of Fran's condition, and Fran awakens in time to hear Sheldrake refuse to talk to her. When she tries to leave, Buddy detains her, both for her safety and to keep her near him as long as possible. Mildred agrees to prepare breakfast for Fran, and delivers soup along with a lecture to Fran to forget Buddy and marry a nice boy. Buddy plays cards with Fran until she falls asleep, assuring her that this Christmas is vastly preferable to his typical lonely holidays. Soon, Consolidated executive Al Kirkeby arrives with his girl friend, Sylvia, but upon spotting Fran in the bed, congratulates Buddy and leaves. When Fran wakes and wonders who would mind if she died, Buddy confesses that he would mind very much, and Fran questions why she never falls in love with "nice guys like you." The next morning, Sheldrake fires Miss Olsen, who after eavesdropping on his brief phone conversation with Fran, arranges to meet Sheldrake's wife to inform her about her husband's infidelities. Back at the apartment, Buddy attempts to prepare a nice meal for Fran using a tennis racket as a spaghetti strainer. During a discussion of their romantic misfortunes, Buddy admits that he once bought a revolver and accidentally shot himself in the knee while contemplating suicide. Just as they are ready to eat, Fran's brother-in-law, Karl Matuschka, comes over, tipped off by the disgruntled Dobisch and Kirkeby. At the same time, Dreyfuss visits, and when he inadvertently reveals to Karl that Fran overdosed, Buddy takes the blame to save Fran's reputation, earning himself a black eye from Karl and a grateful kiss on the forehead from Fran. In the morning, he prepares to inform Sheldrake that he will "take Fran off his hands," but Sheldrake announces that his wife has kicked him out so he plans, after an interlude to enjoy his bachelorhood, to reunite with Fran. Buddy's depression is only slightly mollified by the news that he has been promoted to Sheldrake's assistant, with a 24th floor office and key to the executive washroom. On New Year's Eve, however, when Sheldrake asks for the apartment key to rendezvous with Fran, Buddy refuses and quits, informing Sheldrake that he has decided to become a mensch . That night at Buddy's apartment, while he packs his belongings, including the revolver, Fran attends a party with Sheldrake and learns that Buddy quit rather than allow him to take Fran to his apartment. Finally realizing that Buddy loves her more than Sheldrake does, she slips out of the party and races to Buddy's apartment. On the stairs, she hears a loud crack, and fearing that Buddy has shot himself, pounds on his door, only to discover that he has merely popped open a bottle of champagne. As Fran settles down to deal a game of cards, Buddy proclaims his love to her, and cheerfully, she tells him to "shut up and deal."

Photo Collections

The Apartment - Lobby Card Set
The Apartment - Lobby Card Set

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Jul 1960
Premiere Information
New York opening: 15 Jun 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Jun 1960; London premiere: 23 Jul 1960
Production Company
The Mirisch Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood, California, USA; New York City, New York, USA; New York City, New York, United States; New York City--Central Park, New York, United States; New York City--Columbus Avenue, New York, United States; New York City--Majestic Theatre, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m
Sound
Mono (Westrex)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Art Direction

1960

Best Director

1960
Billy Wilder

Best Editing

1960
Daniel Mandell

Best Picture

1960

Best Writing, Screenplay

1961
I A L Diamond

Best Writing, Screenplay

1961
Billy Wilder

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1960
Jack Lemmon

Best Actress

1960
Shirley Maclaine

Best Cinematography

1960

Best Sound

1960

Best Supporting Actor

1960
Jack Kruschen

Articles

The Essentials - The Apartment


SYNOPSIS

An ambitious young clerk in a big New York insurance company climbs the ladder to corporate success - by lending his apartment to executives for their extramarital affairs. But complications arise when he falls in love with the company's elevator operator, then realizes she is having an affair with his married boss.

Producer/Director: Billy Wilder
Screenplay: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle
Editing: Daniel Mandell
Art Direction: Alexander Trauner
Music: Adolph Deutsch
Cast: Jack Lemmon (C.C. "Bud" Baxter), Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik), Fred MacMurray (Jeff Sheldrake), Ray Walston (Joe Dobisch), Jack Kruschen (Dr. Dreyfuss), Edie Adams (Miss Olsen).
BW-126m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

Why THE APARTMENT is Essential

One of the most popular and acclaimed writer-director-producers of his time, Billy Wilder created in The Apartment what many consider the summation of all he had done on screen up to that point. He was the master of a type of bittersweet comedy that had a sadness and a barbed commentary of modern life at its core. Even his darkest dramas - among them Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and The Big Carnival (aka Ace in the Hole, 1951) - had elements of sardonic, macabre satire. With this film, he managed to make a commercially successful entertainment that, for all its laughter and romance, took a serious stab at the prevailing attitudes and way of life of a country where getting ahead in business had become the greatest measure of personal success.

Wilder's brilliance at balancing light and dark material is evident in the scene from The Apartment where Jack Lemmon's character comes home drunk with a bar pick-up to find Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) unconscious on his bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills next to her. Lemmon goes back and forth between the kooky pick-up in the living room, which is all comedy, and the dying girl he loves in the bedroom. Wilder walks the tightrope between humor and tragedy and creates sympathy for his morally ambiguous characters in a way very few filmmakers could pull off.

"I always felt that Billy Wilder grew a rose in a garbage pail with this one," Jack Lemmon later stated. "He was throwing cold water right in our faces about the terrible false premises with which most of our society lives. He challenged our priorities and the way we rationalize our behavior on the grounds of getting ahead in America - at a time when it wasn't fashionable to challenge these things. He gave us a pretty good jolt, and it hasn't been done a hell of a lot better since then."

The movie was also a hallmark in Lemmon's career. The young actor had already made a name for himself as the freshest, most talented comic performer in movies, especially in his work with Wilder on Some Like It Hot (1959). The Apartment was created with Lemmon in mind, and it marked his transition into the more dramatic roles that established him as one of the leading actors of his time.

It was also an important role for Shirley MacLaine. Discovered dancing on Broadway, she had been making films for about five years, mostly in light comic roles. The Apartment gave her a chance to broaden her range and establish herself as a serious actress, one whose career has spanned five decades.

by Rob Nixon
The Essentials - The Apartment

The Essentials - The Apartment

SYNOPSIS An ambitious young clerk in a big New York insurance company climbs the ladder to corporate success - by lending his apartment to executives for their extramarital affairs. But complications arise when he falls in love with the company's elevator operator, then realizes she is having an affair with his married boss. Producer/Director: Billy Wilder Screenplay: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle Editing: Daniel Mandell Art Direction: Alexander Trauner Music: Adolph Deutsch Cast: Jack Lemmon (C.C. "Bud" Baxter), Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik), Fred MacMurray (Jeff Sheldrake), Ray Walston (Joe Dobisch), Jack Kruschen (Dr. Dreyfuss), Edie Adams (Miss Olsen). BW-126m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Why THE APARTMENT is Essential One of the most popular and acclaimed writer-director-producers of his time, Billy Wilder created in The Apartment what many consider the summation of all he had done on screen up to that point. He was the master of a type of bittersweet comedy that had a sadness and a barbed commentary of modern life at its core. Even his darkest dramas - among them Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and The Big Carnival (aka Ace in the Hole, 1951) - had elements of sardonic, macabre satire. With this film, he managed to make a commercially successful entertainment that, for all its laughter and romance, took a serious stab at the prevailing attitudes and way of life of a country where getting ahead in business had become the greatest measure of personal success. Wilder's brilliance at balancing light and dark material is evident in the scene from The Apartment where Jack Lemmon's character comes home drunk with a bar pick-up to find Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) unconscious on his bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills next to her. Lemmon goes back and forth between the kooky pick-up in the living room, which is all comedy, and the dying girl he loves in the bedroom. Wilder walks the tightrope between humor and tragedy and creates sympathy for his morally ambiguous characters in a way very few filmmakers could pull off. "I always felt that Billy Wilder grew a rose in a garbage pail with this one," Jack Lemmon later stated. "He was throwing cold water right in our faces about the terrible false premises with which most of our society lives. He challenged our priorities and the way we rationalize our behavior on the grounds of getting ahead in America - at a time when it wasn't fashionable to challenge these things. He gave us a pretty good jolt, and it hasn't been done a hell of a lot better since then." The movie was also a hallmark in Lemmon's career. The young actor had already made a name for himself as the freshest, most talented comic performer in movies, especially in his work with Wilder on Some Like It Hot (1959). The Apartment was created with Lemmon in mind, and it marked his transition into the more dramatic roles that established him as one of the leading actors of his time. It was also an important role for Shirley MacLaine. Discovered dancing on Broadway, she had been making films for about five years, mostly in light comic roles. The Apartment gave her a chance to broaden her range and establish herself as a serious actress, one whose career has spanned five decades. by Rob Nixon

Pop Culture 101 - The Apartment


The Apartment was adapted into a Broadway musical, Promises, Promises, in 1968, book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bachrach, lyrics by Hal David.

The tag line for the Tennessee Williams film Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) was "She knew she was being used for something evil." Wilder made a play on that line to promote The Apartment: "Suddenly, last winter - he knew his apartment was being used for something evil."

The theme from The Apartment, played by the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, became a widely played radio hit.

by Rob Nixon

Pop Culture 101 - The Apartment

The Apartment was adapted into a Broadway musical, Promises, Promises, in 1968, book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bachrach, lyrics by Hal David. The tag line for the Tennessee Williams film Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) was "She knew she was being used for something evil." Wilder made a play on that line to promote The Apartment: "Suddenly, last winter - he knew his apartment was being used for something evil." The theme from The Apartment, played by the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, became a widely played radio hit. by Rob Nixon

Trivia - The Apartment - Trivia & Fun Facts About THE APARTMENT


Within a short time after its release, The Apartment doubled its $3 million cost at U.S. box offices alone.

MOVIE'S ADVERTISING TAG LINE: Movie-wise, there has never been anything like it - laugh-wise, love-wise, or otherwise-wise!
The Apartment). In addition to his three Oscars for this film, he won for the screenplay of Sunset Boulevard (1950, along with Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman, Jr.), and direction and screenplay (with Brackett) of The Lost Weekend (1945). He was also presented with the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1988.

Wilder received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1986.

The Apartment was lauded by Soviet-bloc critics as an indictment of the American system and a story that could only have happened in a capitalistic city like New York. At a dinner honoring him in East Berlin, Wilder said the movie "could happen anywhere, in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London." When Wilder said the one place it could not have happened was Moscow, the East Germans broke into thunderous applause and cheers. When the ovation died down, Wilder continued: "The reason this picture could not have taken place in Moscow is that in Moscow nobody has his own apartment." The remark was met with grim silence.

Jack Lemmon has been nominated for seven Best Actor Academy Awards, including one for his drag performance in Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959). He won for Save the Tiger (1973). He also won a Best Supporting Actor Award for Mister Roberts (1955).

Shirley MacLaine has been nominated for Best Actress five times and won for Terms of Endearment (1983). She was also nominated for her documentary feature The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975).

The Apartment was the second of Jack Lemmon's seven films with Billy Wilder. He also appeared in Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959), Irma la Douce (1963, again with MacLaine), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Avanti! (1972), The Front Page (1974), and Buddy Buddy (1981).

Fred MacMurray's fan mail was overwhelmingly against his role as the no-good chief executive Sheldrake. People hated seeing the usually amiable, sympathetic actor play such a heel. The response shook him so much, he vowed never to take on another such role. He spent the remainder of his career in Disney comedies and playing the good-natured dad on the television sitcom My Three Sons.

As a journalism student at Columbia University in 1941, I.A.L. Diamond's contribution to the school's annual Varsity Show resulted in a story in the New York Times. Executives at Paramount Studios read the article and offered him a ten-week contract as a junior writer. Diamond quit school and headed to Hollywood where he began his career as a screenwriter on the B-movie comedy-mystery-musical Murder in the Blue Room (1944).

Impressed with the skits Diamond wrote for a Writers Guild dinner, Billy Wilder, who had worked with several writers since his break-up with longtime writer-producer Charles Brackett, felt he had finally found the ideal collaborator.

The hugely successful 25-year collaboration between Wilder and Diamond began with Love in the Afternoon (1957). They created a total of 12 pictures together.

The Romanian-born Diamond's real name was Itek Domnici. The I.A.L. stood for Interscholastic Algebra League, in honor of his youthful wizardry at mathematics.

MacLaine once recalled meeting an interpreter for Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev, who was in the U.S. to address the United Nations. The Russian interpreter told the actress, "The Premier sends his regards, wishes to be remembered to you, and says he's just seen your new picture, The Apartment, and you've improved."

At a party in Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe told Wilder how much she wished she could have played the part of Fran Kubelik in The Apartment (MacLaine's role).

Wilder and production designer/art director Alexander Trauner worked on eight films together.

The Hungarian-born Trauner began his career in France, where he worked on such classic films as Quai des Brumes (1938) and Le Jour se leve (1939). During the Nazi occupation of France, the Jewish Trauner was forced to work secretly and anonymously under difficult conditions, yet managed to contribute greatly to the look of such films as Les Visiteurs du soir (1942) and Les Enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise, 1945).

Memorable Quotes from THE APARTMENT

FRAN (Shirley MacLaine): Shall I light the candles?
BUD (Jack Lemmon): It's a must! Gracious living-wise.

FRAN: (explaining the cracked mirror in her compact) I like it that way. It makes me look the way I feel.

SHELDRAKE (Fred MacMurray): You see a girl a couple of times a week and sooner or later she thinks you'll divorce your wife. Not fair, is it?
BUD: No, especially to your wife.

SHELDRAKE: When you've been married to a woman 12 years, you don't just sit down to a breakfast table and say, "Pass the sugar, I want a divorce." It's not that easy.

FRAN: (crying) When you're in love with a married man you shouldn't wear mascara

BUD: That's the way it crumblesÉcookie-wise.

FRAN: I never catch colds.
BUD: Really. I was reading some figures from the Sickness and Accident Claims Division. You know that the average New Yorker between the ages of 20 and 50 has two and a half colds a year?
FRAN: That makes me feel just terrible.
BUD: Why?
FRAN: Well, to make the figures come out even, if I have no colds a year, some poor slob must have five colds a year.
BUD: Yeah... it's me.

BUD: 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

BUD: I used to live like Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked among 8 million people, but one day I saw a footprint in the sand and there you were

FRAN: Just because I wear a uniform doesn't make me a girl scout.

BUD: You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
FRAN: Shut up and deal.

Compiled by Rob Nixon

Trivia - The Apartment - Trivia & Fun Facts About THE APARTMENT

Within a short time after its release, The Apartment doubled its $3 million cost at U.S. box offices alone. MOVIE'S ADVERTISING TAG LINE: Movie-wise, there has never been anything like it - laugh-wise, love-wise, or otherwise-wise!

The Big Idea - The Apartment


Billy Wilder always worked best with a script collaborator. He had created several successful films in the 1930s and 40s with Charles Brackett before they ended their association. It wasn't until the mid-50s before Wilder found another writer with mutual collaborative skills. The quiet, introverted I.A.L. Diamond had a dramatically different personality from the outgoing Wilder. But they shared a common European immigrant background, the same dry sense of humor, and an interest in many of the same themes and characterizations, such as the use of tangled webs of deception. They had two successful pictures under their belt - Love in the Afternoon (1957) and Some Like It Hot - when they started this one.

Wilder and Diamond were so impressed with Jack Lemmon's performance in their first film with the actor, Some Like It Hot, they decided in the first month of production on that picture that "this was not to be a one-shot thing with Jack. We wanted to work with him again, and while Some Like It Hot was still in the works, we got underway with the planning of another one, The Apartment."

Lemmon said he signed onto The Apartment after Wilder told him the story but before he ever saw a line of the script. "I'd have signed even if he said he was going to do the phone book," the actor noted.

"Billy's scripts are amazing," Lemmon later said. "They take a year and a half to write and everything's in them, but everything. He sees scripts. A script is to be played, not read. So if something doesn't look right in action, he'll change it."

The part of Sheldrake, the company boss having an affair with the elevator operator, had been written with Paul Douglas in mind. Two weeks before the start of production, Douglas died of a heart attack. Wilder asked Fred MacMurray, who he had directed in Double Indemnity (1944), to step into the role.

MacMurray played mostly comic and light leading man parts for most of his career. Any trepidation he may have had about playing a heel in this picture were put to rest by the fact that he had done some of his best work in a dark, serious part in Wilder's Double Indemnity.

by Rob Nixon

The Big Idea - The Apartment

Billy Wilder always worked best with a script collaborator. He had created several successful films in the 1930s and 40s with Charles Brackett before they ended their association. It wasn't until the mid-50s before Wilder found another writer with mutual collaborative skills. The quiet, introverted I.A.L. Diamond had a dramatically different personality from the outgoing Wilder. But they shared a common European immigrant background, the same dry sense of humor, and an interest in many of the same themes and characterizations, such as the use of tangled webs of deception. They had two successful pictures under their belt - Love in the Afternoon (1957) and Some Like It Hot - when they started this one. Wilder and Diamond were so impressed with Jack Lemmon's performance in their first film with the actor, Some Like It Hot, they decided in the first month of production on that picture that "this was not to be a one-shot thing with Jack. We wanted to work with him again, and while Some Like It Hot was still in the works, we got underway with the planning of another one, The Apartment." Lemmon said he signed onto The Apartment after Wilder told him the story but before he ever saw a line of the script. "I'd have signed even if he said he was going to do the phone book," the actor noted. "Billy's scripts are amazing," Lemmon later said. "They take a year and a half to write and everything's in them, but everything. He sees scripts. A script is to be played, not read. So if something doesn't look right in action, he'll change it." The part of Sheldrake, the company boss having an affair with the elevator operator, had been written with Paul Douglas in mind. Two weeks before the start of production, Douglas died of a heart attack. Wilder asked Fred MacMurray, who he had directed in Double Indemnity (1944), to step into the role. MacMurray played mostly comic and light leading man parts for most of his career. Any trepidation he may have had about playing a heel in this picture were put to rest by the fact that he had done some of his best work in a dark, serious part in Wilder's Double Indemnity. by Rob Nixon

Behind the Camera - The Apartment


Billy Wilder gave Jack Lemmon free rein to fill in the character of C.C. "Bud" Baxter in performance. He compared the actor favorably to Charles Chaplin and thought he could do no wrong.

Wilder found Lemmon very professional and cooperative. "He has his own opinion on things, but he's not bullheaded about it," the director said.

"As I saw it, [Baxter] was ambitious; a nice guy but gullible, easily intimidated, and fast to excuse his behavior," Lemmon said of his approach to the character. "In the end, he changes because he faces up to having rationalized his morals. He realizes he's been a dumb kid, he's been had."

Lemmon invented one of the funnier moments in The Apartment. Baxter has a bad cold from wandering the streets in the rain while an executive uses his apartment for an affair. Lemmon was playing with a nasal spray prop in his dressing room and discovered if he gave it a sharp squeeze, it would squirt ten feet. He filled it with milk to make the liquid visible on black-and-white film, and when Fred MacMurray, as his boss, chastises him for creating a problem around the use of the apartment, Lemmon gave the container a squeeze. The milk shot out and sailed right past MacMurray's nose. "He was beautiful; didn't say a word, just gave me a look and went right on with the scene," Lemmon said. Wilder left the take in. "With Wilder, like with Ford, the best way is to do it rather than talk about it," Lemmon explained.

Lemmon said he learned much about filmmaking from Wilder, particularly the director's use of "hooks," bits of business the audience remembers long after they've forgotten other aspects of the movie. One such hook was the passing of the key to Baxter's apartment. Lemmon said for years after the picture's release, people would come up to him and say, "Hey, Jack, can I have the key?"

Wilder and Diamond would allow not even the slightest deviation from their script. Shirley MacLaine drove them crazy with her ad-libbing. She was forced to do one of the elevator scenes five times because she kept missing one word.

Wilder and Diamond deliberated for 20 minutes when Lemmon insisted he wanted to repeat the word "yes" twice.

Wilder and Diamond did not have an ending to The Apartment until the completion of shooting. They handed Lemmon and MacLaine wet mimeographed script pages 20 minutes before shooting the final scene. Quick studies, the two did the scene in one take.

Lemmon related later in life how Wilder kept his film editor, Doane Harrison, on the set with him at all times as associate producer and never made a shot until they both discussed it. As a result, he was able to shoot sparingly, cutting the film in the camera and eliminating costly set-ups that might never be used.

Wilder captured the spirit of Christmas office parties - the free-flowing booze and often raucous behavior - by shooting that scene on December 23.

Wilder's sets are known to be easy-going, energetic, and full of humorous interaction. He also adds touches that cater to an actor's need for small details to make them feel secure. For instance, for MacMurray he created memo pads and stationery with his character's name on them, even though no one but the actor ever saw them.

Wilder told a story to illustrate the penny-pinching ways of Fred MacMurray, one of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood. In an important scene with MacLaine, MacMurray had to hand her a hundred-dollar bill. Wilder gave MacMurray a real bill to use. When the scene was over, MacMurray gave the money back to the director. Several minutes later, Wilder claimed the actor never returned the bill. He insisted up to the point that MacMurray, sweat pouring from his brow (according to Wilder), reluctantly opened his own wallet to pay him back. It was then Wilder confessed to the prank.

To create the effect of a vast sea of faces laboring grimly and impersonally at their desks in the huge insurance company office, designers Alexander Trauner and Edward G. Boyle devised an interesting technique. Full-sized actors sat at the desks in the front and dwarfs were used at tiny desks toward the rear, followed by even smaller desks with cut-out figures operated by wires. It gave the effect of a much larger space than could have been achieved in the limited studio space.

Wilder often incorporates famous paintings into his film sets. The shot of MacLaine lying unconscious on Lemmon's bed was inspired by the composition of Rousseau's Sleeping Gypsy, which hangs in the bedroom.

Wilder and cinematographer Joseph LaShelle were occasionally at odds over the look of The Apartment. LaShelle, who had worked with directors who came primarily from television, wanted to use more close-ups, a shot Wilder prefers to avoid.

"In film making, I like the normal set-up, like Wyler uses, like John Ford, like Chaplin," Wilder once said. "I'm against this fancy stuff. It reminds an audience that artisans have intruded. I don't want them to grab their partner and say, 'My God, look at that!'"

by Rob Nixon

Behind the Camera - The Apartment

Billy Wilder gave Jack Lemmon free rein to fill in the character of C.C. "Bud" Baxter in performance. He compared the actor favorably to Charles Chaplin and thought he could do no wrong. Wilder found Lemmon very professional and cooperative. "He has his own opinion on things, but he's not bullheaded about it," the director said. "As I saw it, [Baxter] was ambitious; a nice guy but gullible, easily intimidated, and fast to excuse his behavior," Lemmon said of his approach to the character. "In the end, he changes because he faces up to having rationalized his morals. He realizes he's been a dumb kid, he's been had." Lemmon invented one of the funnier moments in The Apartment. Baxter has a bad cold from wandering the streets in the rain while an executive uses his apartment for an affair. Lemmon was playing with a nasal spray prop in his dressing room and discovered if he gave it a sharp squeeze, it would squirt ten feet. He filled it with milk to make the liquid visible on black-and-white film, and when Fred MacMurray, as his boss, chastises him for creating a problem around the use of the apartment, Lemmon gave the container a squeeze. The milk shot out and sailed right past MacMurray's nose. "He was beautiful; didn't say a word, just gave me a look and went right on with the scene," Lemmon said. Wilder left the take in. "With Wilder, like with Ford, the best way is to do it rather than talk about it," Lemmon explained. Lemmon said he learned much about filmmaking from Wilder, particularly the director's use of "hooks," bits of business the audience remembers long after they've forgotten other aspects of the movie. One such hook was the passing of the key to Baxter's apartment. Lemmon said for years after the picture's release, people would come up to him and say, "Hey, Jack, can I have the key?" Wilder and Diamond would allow not even the slightest deviation from their script. Shirley MacLaine drove them crazy with her ad-libbing. She was forced to do one of the elevator scenes five times because she kept missing one word. Wilder and Diamond deliberated for 20 minutes when Lemmon insisted he wanted to repeat the word "yes" twice. Wilder and Diamond did not have an ending to The Apartment until the completion of shooting. They handed Lemmon and MacLaine wet mimeographed script pages 20 minutes before shooting the final scene. Quick studies, the two did the scene in one take. Lemmon related later in life how Wilder kept his film editor, Doane Harrison, on the set with him at all times as associate producer and never made a shot until they both discussed it. As a result, he was able to shoot sparingly, cutting the film in the camera and eliminating costly set-ups that might never be used. Wilder captured the spirit of Christmas office parties - the free-flowing booze and often raucous behavior - by shooting that scene on December 23. Wilder's sets are known to be easy-going, energetic, and full of humorous interaction. He also adds touches that cater to an actor's need for small details to make them feel secure. For instance, for MacMurray he created memo pads and stationery with his character's name on them, even though no one but the actor ever saw them. Wilder told a story to illustrate the penny-pinching ways of Fred MacMurray, one of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood. In an important scene with MacLaine, MacMurray had to hand her a hundred-dollar bill. Wilder gave MacMurray a real bill to use. When the scene was over, MacMurray gave the money back to the director. Several minutes later, Wilder claimed the actor never returned the bill. He insisted up to the point that MacMurray, sweat pouring from his brow (according to Wilder), reluctantly opened his own wallet to pay him back. It was then Wilder confessed to the prank. To create the effect of a vast sea of faces laboring grimly and impersonally at their desks in the huge insurance company office, designers Alexander Trauner and Edward G. Boyle devised an interesting technique. Full-sized actors sat at the desks in the front and dwarfs were used at tiny desks toward the rear, followed by even smaller desks with cut-out figures operated by wires. It gave the effect of a much larger space than could have been achieved in the limited studio space. Wilder often incorporates famous paintings into his film sets. The shot of MacLaine lying unconscious on Lemmon's bed was inspired by the composition of Rousseau's Sleeping Gypsy, which hangs in the bedroom. Wilder and cinematographer Joseph LaShelle were occasionally at odds over the look of The Apartment. LaShelle, who had worked with directors who came primarily from television, wanted to use more close-ups, a shot Wilder prefers to avoid. "In film making, I like the normal set-up, like Wyler uses, like John Ford, like Chaplin," Wilder once said. "I'm against this fancy stuff. It reminds an audience that artisans have intruded. I don't want them to grab their partner and say, 'My God, look at that!'" by Rob Nixon

The Apartment - The Apartment


While it may be hard to imagine now, The Apartment (1960) actually shocked some moviegoers upon its initial release. The problem wasn't the central premise - an ambitious office worker performs dubious favors in exchange for career advancement - but the actual treatment of it. In the hands of writer-director Billy Wilder and his collaborator, scenarist I. A. L. Diamond, The Apartment became a razor-sharp farce that equated corporate success with immorality. Actually, filmmakers in communist Russia viewed it as an indictment against capitalism. The central character, "Bud" Baxter, is actually little more than a pimp for upper management while the girl of his dreams, elevator-operator Fran Kubelik, is a demoralized working girl whose solution to a failed love affair is to commit suicide. These are not the most wholesome characters in the world and we're talking about the hero and heroine! However, as played by Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Bud and Fran not only win the audience's sympathy but also charm them in the process. The most astonishing thing about The Apartment is how Billy Wilder manages to keep the tone light and playful while exposing the worst aspects of Manhattan corporate life, from the drunken office parties to the casual adultery committed by married employees. Despite these controversial elements, the film racked up ten Oscar nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director of 1960.

The Apartment marked the first time Shirley MacLaine had worked with Billy Wilder and she quickly discovered that her habit of occasionally improvising or changing dialogue was not welcome. For example, she delivered a wonderful take of a scene set in the company elevator but it had to be re-shot when Wilder discovered she had omitted one word of dialogue. Still, Wilder was sufficiently impressed with her acting to cast her in the lead role of Irma la Douce in 1963. The Apartment also won MacLaine her second Oscar nomination as Best Actress (the first time was for Some Came Running, 1958) and she found herself competing against Deborah Kerr, Greer Garson, Melina Mercouri, and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1960 Academy Award race. (She lost to Taylor for Butterfield 8).

Unlike MacLaine, Lemmon was already used to the way Wilder operated, having recently completed Some Like It Hot (1959) for him. In fact, Wilder developed such trust and respect for Lemmon's instinctual gifts as an actor that he gave him the freedom to improvise certain bits like the bachelor spaghetti dinner scene where Lemmon strains the pasta through a tennis racket or some physical comedy routines involving a nasal spray. Lemmon later commented, "Working with Billy I began to understand 'hooks' - those little bits of business that an audience will remember, sometimes long after they've forgotten everything else about the picture. The key was a 'hook.' For ten years after that film, people would still come up to me on the street and say, "Hey, Jack, can I have the key?"

Paul Douglas was originally cast in the role of J. D. Sheldrake, the heel who dumps MacLaine rather than end his loveless marriage. Unfortunately, Douglas died two weeks prior to production on The Apartment and Wilder coaxed Fred MacMurray to take the role. Not only was MacMurray completely convincing as the despicable company boss, his performance was so realistic it inspired an avalanche of hate mail from female moviegoers who begged him to play sympathetic roles in the future. He did just that, signing on as the amiable father figure in the popular TV-sitcom My Three Sons (1960-1972) and scoring leads in Walt Disney flicks like The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).

Director: Billy Wilder
Producer: I.A.L. Diamond, Doane Harrison, Billy Wilder
Screenplay: I.A.L. Diamond, Billy Wilder
Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle
Editor: Daniel Mandell
Art Direction: Alexandre Trauner
Music: Adolph Deutsch
Cast: Jack Lemmon (C.C. Baxter), Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik), Fred MacMurray (Jeff D. Sheldrake), Ray Walston (Joe Dobisch), Jack Kruschen (Doctor Dreyfuss).
BW-126m. Letterboxed. Close captioning.

by Jeff Stafford

The Apartment - The Apartment

While it may be hard to imagine now, The Apartment (1960) actually shocked some moviegoers upon its initial release. The problem wasn't the central premise - an ambitious office worker performs dubious favors in exchange for career advancement - but the actual treatment of it. In the hands of writer-director Billy Wilder and his collaborator, scenarist I. A. L. Diamond, The Apartment became a razor-sharp farce that equated corporate success with immorality. Actually, filmmakers in communist Russia viewed it as an indictment against capitalism. The central character, "Bud" Baxter, is actually little more than a pimp for upper management while the girl of his dreams, elevator-operator Fran Kubelik, is a demoralized working girl whose solution to a failed love affair is to commit suicide. These are not the most wholesome characters in the world and we're talking about the hero and heroine! However, as played by Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Bud and Fran not only win the audience's sympathy but also charm them in the process. The most astonishing thing about The Apartment is how Billy Wilder manages to keep the tone light and playful while exposing the worst aspects of Manhattan corporate life, from the drunken office parties to the casual adultery committed by married employees. Despite these controversial elements, the film racked up ten Oscar nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director of 1960. The Apartment marked the first time Shirley MacLaine had worked with Billy Wilder and she quickly discovered that her habit of occasionally improvising or changing dialogue was not welcome. For example, she delivered a wonderful take of a scene set in the company elevator but it had to be re-shot when Wilder discovered she had omitted one word of dialogue. Still, Wilder was sufficiently impressed with her acting to cast her in the lead role of Irma la Douce in 1963. The Apartment also won MacLaine her second Oscar nomination as Best Actress (the first time was for Some Came Running, 1958) and she found herself competing against Deborah Kerr, Greer Garson, Melina Mercouri, and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1960 Academy Award race. (She lost to Taylor for Butterfield 8). Unlike MacLaine, Lemmon was already used to the way Wilder operated, having recently completed Some Like It Hot (1959) for him. In fact, Wilder developed such trust and respect for Lemmon's instinctual gifts as an actor that he gave him the freedom to improvise certain bits like the bachelor spaghetti dinner scene where Lemmon strains the pasta through a tennis racket or some physical comedy routines involving a nasal spray. Lemmon later commented, "Working with Billy I began to understand 'hooks' - those little bits of business that an audience will remember, sometimes long after they've forgotten everything else about the picture. The key was a 'hook.' For ten years after that film, people would still come up to me on the street and say, "Hey, Jack, can I have the key?" Paul Douglas was originally cast in the role of J. D. Sheldrake, the heel who dumps MacLaine rather than end his loveless marriage. Unfortunately, Douglas died two weeks prior to production on The Apartment and Wilder coaxed Fred MacMurray to take the role. Not only was MacMurray completely convincing as the despicable company boss, his performance was so realistic it inspired an avalanche of hate mail from female moviegoers who begged him to play sympathetic roles in the future. He did just that, signing on as the amiable father figure in the popular TV-sitcom My Three Sons (1960-1972) and scoring leads in Walt Disney flicks like The Absent-Minded Professor (1961). Director: Billy Wilder Producer: I.A.L. Diamond, Doane Harrison, Billy Wilder Screenplay: I.A.L. Diamond, Billy Wilder Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle Editor: Daniel Mandell Art Direction: Alexandre Trauner Music: Adolph Deutsch Cast: Jack Lemmon (C.C. Baxter), Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik), Fred MacMurray (Jeff D. Sheldrake), Ray Walston (Joe Dobisch), Jack Kruschen (Doctor Dreyfuss). BW-126m. Letterboxed. Close captioning. by Jeff Stafford

The Critics' Corner - The Apartment - The Critics Corner: THE APARTMENT


AWARDS & HONORS

In 1994, The Apartment was chosen by the National Film Preservation Board to be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

The Apartment won Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Director (Billy Wilder), Screenplay (Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond), Editing (Daniel Mandell), Black-and-White Art Direction/Set Decoration (Alexander Trauner, Edward G. Boyle).

Wilder became the first person to win three Oscars® in the same year.

The Apartment also received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Jack Lemmon), Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Supporting Actor (Jack Kruschen), Black-and-White Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle), Sound (Gordon Sawyer).

Other awards for The Apartment include:
- Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture Comedy, Best Actor Comedy, Best Actress Comedy and a nomination for Best Director.
- British Academy Awards for Best Film from Any Source, Foreign Actor, Foreign Actress.
- Directors Guild of America Award to Wilder and Assistant Director Hal W. Polaire.
- Golden Laurel Awards (Motion Picture Exhibitors) for Top Comedy, Female Dramatic Performance, Male Comedy Performance.
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Film, Director, Screenplay.
- Venice Film Festival Best Actress Award.
- Writers Guild of America Award for Best-Written American Comedy.

The Critics Corner: THE APARTMENT

"Mr. Wilder has done more than write the film. His direction is ingenious and sure, sparkled by brilliant little touches and kept to a tight, sardonic line." - Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 1960

"Wilder handles his players superbly. He holds an amazingly tight rein on actress MacLaine, which gives her performance a solidity she seldom achieves. Yet it is actor Lemmon, surely the most sensitive and tasteful young comedian now at work in Hollywood, who really cuts the mustard [sic] and carries the show." - Time, 1960.

"Not to beat around the bush, The Apartment is a very funny movie that can take a place among the finest comedies Hollywood has turned out." - Newsweek, 1960

"In none of his films has Mr. Wilder come closer to a Lubitsch theme and style than he did in his brilliant The Apartment. In my estimation, it is one of the finest comedy-dramas that has ever come out of Hollywood. Here Mr. Wilder, well established and comfortably settled in with his new scriptwriter, I.A.L. Diamond, achieved that rare thing in cinema culture, a funny movie containing a serious statement. And he helped to advance Jack Lemmon, the picture's star, as one of the truly fine actors of our time." - Bosley Crowther, Reruns: 50 Memorable Films (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978)

"The happy ending was met with surprise by some critics who did not feel that protagonists who transgressed sexually deserved to find happiness. But Wilder has created human beings, not stereotypes, and they are capable of developing some self-recognition and capacity for growth. The question the movie does not successfully answer is why five supposedly well-paid executives are so totally dependent upon using Bud's rather dingy little flat." - Anne Louise Lynch, Magill's Survey of Cinema, Series I, Vol. 1 (Salem Press, 1980)

"The movie has been photographed in widescreen black and white. The b&w dampens down any jollity that might sweep in with the decorations at the Christmas parties, bars and restaurants where the holidays are in full swing. And the widescreen emphasizes space that separates the characters, or surrounds them with emptiness. The design of Baxter's apartment makes his bedroom door, in the background just to the left of center, a focal point; in there reside the secrets of his masters, the reasons for his resentments, the arena for his own lonely slumber, and eventually the stage on which Miss Kubelik will play out the crucial transition in her life." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, July 22, 2001

"Along with Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Billy Wilder's 1960 Oscar-sweeper The Apartment elevates the workplace romance into a sublime erotica of officious addresses (the omnipresent Mister and Miss) and economic conundrum. ... The triangulation keeps its edges with on-your-toes dialogue and a fine-tuned critique of corporate culture. Lemmon navigates the line between simpering and sympathetic with nervous WASP-ish energy, George Bush, Sr. visited by the facial contortions of Jim Carrey. Most indelibly, MacLaine gives us a gamine with the whole gamut of emotions, a cursed capacity to love, and a limit to her own self-pity." - Ed Park, The Village Voice, December 25-31, 2002

Compiled by Rob Nixon

The Critics' Corner - The Apartment - The Critics Corner: THE APARTMENT

AWARDS & HONORS In 1994, The Apartment was chosen by the National Film Preservation Board to be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. The Apartment won Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Director (Billy Wilder), Screenplay (Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond), Editing (Daniel Mandell), Black-and-White Art Direction/Set Decoration (Alexander Trauner, Edward G. Boyle). Wilder became the first person to win three Oscars® in the same year. The Apartment also received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Jack Lemmon), Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Supporting Actor (Jack Kruschen), Black-and-White Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle), Sound (Gordon Sawyer). Other awards for The Apartment include: - Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture Comedy, Best Actor Comedy, Best Actress Comedy and a nomination for Best Director. - British Academy Awards for Best Film from Any Source, Foreign Actor, Foreign Actress. - Directors Guild of America Award to Wilder and Assistant Director Hal W. Polaire. - Golden Laurel Awards (Motion Picture Exhibitors) for Top Comedy, Female Dramatic Performance, Male Comedy Performance. - New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Film, Director, Screenplay. - Venice Film Festival Best Actress Award. - Writers Guild of America Award for Best-Written American Comedy. The Critics Corner: THE APARTMENT "Mr. Wilder has done more than write the film. His direction is ingenious and sure, sparkled by brilliant little touches and kept to a tight, sardonic line." - Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 1960 "Wilder handles his players superbly. He holds an amazingly tight rein on actress MacLaine, which gives her performance a solidity she seldom achieves. Yet it is actor Lemmon, surely the most sensitive and tasteful young comedian now at work in Hollywood, who really cuts the mustard [sic] and carries the show." - Time, 1960. "Not to beat around the bush, The Apartment is a very funny movie that can take a place among the finest comedies Hollywood has turned out." - Newsweek, 1960 "In none of his films has Mr. Wilder come closer to a Lubitsch theme and style than he did in his brilliant The Apartment. In my estimation, it is one of the finest comedy-dramas that has ever come out of Hollywood. Here Mr. Wilder, well established and comfortably settled in with his new scriptwriter, I.A.L. Diamond, achieved that rare thing in cinema culture, a funny movie containing a serious statement. And he helped to advance Jack Lemmon, the picture's star, as one of the truly fine actors of our time." - Bosley Crowther, Reruns: 50 Memorable Films (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978) "The happy ending was met with surprise by some critics who did not feel that protagonists who transgressed sexually deserved to find happiness. But Wilder has created human beings, not stereotypes, and they are capable of developing some self-recognition and capacity for growth. The question the movie does not successfully answer is why five supposedly well-paid executives are so totally dependent upon using Bud's rather dingy little flat." - Anne Louise Lynch, Magill's Survey of Cinema, Series I, Vol. 1 (Salem Press, 1980) "The movie has been photographed in widescreen black and white. The b&w dampens down any jollity that might sweep in with the decorations at the Christmas parties, bars and restaurants where the holidays are in full swing. And the widescreen emphasizes space that separates the characters, or surrounds them with emptiness. The design of Baxter's apartment makes his bedroom door, in the background just to the left of center, a focal point; in there reside the secrets of his masters, the reasons for his resentments, the arena for his own lonely slumber, and eventually the stage on which Miss Kubelik will play out the crucial transition in her life." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, July 22, 2001 "Along with Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Billy Wilder's 1960 Oscar-sweeper The Apartment elevates the workplace romance into a sublime erotica of officious addresses (the omnipresent Mister and Miss) and economic conundrum. ... The triangulation keeps its edges with on-your-toes dialogue and a fine-tuned critique of corporate culture. Lemmon navigates the line between simpering and sympathetic with nervous WASP-ish energy, George Bush, Sr. visited by the facial contortions of Jim Carrey. Most indelibly, MacLaine gives us a gamine with the whole gamut of emotions, a cursed capacity to love, and a limit to her own self-pity." - Ed Park, The Village Voice, December 25-31, 2002 Compiled by Rob Nixon

TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder


A FOND FAREWELL TO ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST GIFTED DIRECTORS - BILLY WILDER, 11906-2002


Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.

Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft).

Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck.

Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory.

As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules.

By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy.

In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide.

Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed.

By Jeremy Geltzer

TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder

A FOND FAREWELL TO ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST GIFTED DIRECTORS - BILLY WILDER, 11906-2002 Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers. Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft). Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck. Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory. As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950). Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules. By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy. In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide. Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed. By Jeremy Geltzer

TCM Remembers - Jack Kruschen


Jack Kruschen (1922-2002)

He may have not been a household name, yet his career consisted of over seventy-five films, spanned over six decades, and displayed a strong versatility in playing either dramatic or comic roles with equal effectiveness. He was the definitive, "I can't quite remember the name, but I remember the face" character player who enlivened many films with his robust frame, cherubic face and infectious smile. His name was Jack Kruschen, a superb performer who died on April 2, 2002 at the age of 80, leaving behind a strong body of work that was impressive as any character actor of his generation.

Kruschen was born on March 20, 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The son of a watchmaker who later set up shop in Hollywood, he was performing in an operetta at Hollywood high school when a talent scout for CBS radio discovered him. Kruschen was soon doing voice characterizations on popular network programs such as Dragnet, The Danny Thomas Show and Sam Spade. With his gift for dialects (he was most adept at playing ethnic types like Greeks, Yiddish or Italians - a skill finely honed in his radio days), Kruschen was a natural for the movies and soon made his film debut with a small role in the Betty Hutton comedy Red, Hot and Blue (1949).

Kruschen's early career is peppered with a variety of roles like a comical gangster in both Abbott & Costello Go to Mars (1953) and Money from Home (1953) starring Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin; a hard-nosed police detective in Confidence Girl (1952) and Julie (1956), an underrated Doris Day thriller; or doomed victims to alien prey in Sci-fi cult classics: the 1953 version of War of the Worlds (fans remember him as Salvatore, one of the first earthlings to be killed by the invading Martians) and The Angry Red Planet (1959). The roles offered steady work, but not much critical recognition. All that changed when Billy Wilder cast him in the key role as Jack Lemmon's bemused but caring neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss in The Apartment (1960). As the man who observes the steady stream of women in and out of Lemmon's apartment and the one who saves Shirley MacLaine from a drug overdose, Kruschen offered a wonderful performance - viewing his neighbor's proceedings with a jaundiced eye, yet never letting his disdain overtake his humor and humanity. He was justly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

From this point on, Kruschen was seldom out of work, appearing in over 40 films (including a terrific dramatic turn in the original Cape Fear (1962) as Dave Grafton, a corrupt southern bigot) and nearly 60 guest roles on television for the next two decades. Kruschen would later find fame toward the end of his career when he was cast as Papa Papadapolis in the hit sitcom Webster (1985-1987) and would show pleasant variations of the "kindly old codger" throughout the remainder of his career - like his final role in the romantic comedy 'Til There Was You (1997). His death in April this year may have gone largely unnoticed by the movie-going public, but for those of us who treasure the art of the character player, Kruschen's passing was a loss that is fortunately compensated by his strong body of work that will be enjoyed for fans of the late show for many years to come.

By Michael T. Toole

SIGNE HASSO, 1910-2002

Actress Signe Hasso died June 7th at the age of 91. She was best-known for starring in A Double Life (1947) but played numerous Europeans in films during the 1940s. Hasso was born on August 15, 1910 in Stockholm, Sweden and began acting on stage at the age of 13. Ten years later made her first film appearance as Signe Larsson. She was married in 1936 and adopted the last name of her husband, cinematographer and later director Harry Hasso. After a dozen Swedish films, Hasso moved to Hollywood in 1940 where her first screen appearance was an uncredited role in Journey for Margaret (1942). A brief stint at RKO didn't lead to any more promising film parts so Hasso concentrated on her stage career in New York City. Eventually, her film career became more active, thanks to a quick succession of roles, most notably in Fred Zinnemann's The Seventh Cross (1944), Douglas Sirk's A Scandal in Paris (1946) and Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street (1945). However it was her portrayal of Ronald Colman's wife in the Oscar-favorite A Double Life that solidified her fame. But as Hasso continued to act on the stage and TV, her film work began to taper off. She appeared in high-profile thrillers like Crisis (1950), several made-for-TV movies, a few European productions and even the cult murder mystery, Bert Gordon's Picture Mommy Dead (1966). In 1972, the king of Sweden decorated Hasso for her work. Her final appearance was in a 2001 documentary about Greta Garbo.

HERMAN COHEN, 1927-2002

One of the key producers of B-movies, Herman Cohen, died June 2nd at the age of 76. Like most producers, his name wasn't generally known outside the industry or the realms of film buffs but most people never forget the titles of his films: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and the not-quite-immortal Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). Cohen was a Detroit native, born August 27, 1927. He entered the film business in the smallest possible way, as a 12-year-old janitor, often accepting passes for his family and friends instead of wages. Cohen served in the Marine Corps (several articles incorrectly say the Army) before becoming a publicist at Columbia Pictures. By 1951 he was working as a producer's assistant on low-budget independent films, mostly for Realart Pictures run by another Detroit native Jack Broder. Soon Cohen was producing his own movies, including Westerns and mysteries, until hitting big with the famous I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Starring a then-unknown Michael Landon (under personal contract to Cohen who later tore it up so Landon could appear in Bonanza), the film was made for $100,000 but in just a few months grossed over $2 million. Cohen didn't hestitate to turn out I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula by Thanksgiving of that same year and before long had made several films that continued to earn money for years to come. (One TCM writer remembers Horrors of the Black Museum turning up in a small Alabama town in the early 70s, over a decade after its initial release. The film is scheduled for a DVD release with a Cohen commentary from VCI Entertainment.) Cohen also made several films in England including The Headless Ghost (1959) and the cult favorite Konga (1961) where Cohen even paid RKO $25,000 for the rights to use the title King Kong in publicity for his own film. Cohen's later movies included a spaghetti Western and Joan Crawford's final acting role Trog (1970). In the 1980s Cohen ran a company, Cobra Media, that distributed some films and licensed material such as Teenage Werewolf to Landon for use in one of his Highway to Heaven episodes.

By Lang Thompson

TCM Remembers - Jack Kruschen

Jack Kruschen (1922-2002) He may have not been a household name, yet his career consisted of over seventy-five films, spanned over six decades, and displayed a strong versatility in playing either dramatic or comic roles with equal effectiveness. He was the definitive, "I can't quite remember the name, but I remember the face" character player who enlivened many films with his robust frame, cherubic face and infectious smile. His name was Jack Kruschen, a superb performer who died on April 2, 2002 at the age of 80, leaving behind a strong body of work that was impressive as any character actor of his generation. Kruschen was born on March 20, 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The son of a watchmaker who later set up shop in Hollywood, he was performing in an operetta at Hollywood high school when a talent scout for CBS radio discovered him. Kruschen was soon doing voice characterizations on popular network programs such as Dragnet, The Danny Thomas Show and Sam Spade. With his gift for dialects (he was most adept at playing ethnic types like Greeks, Yiddish or Italians - a skill finely honed in his radio days), Kruschen was a natural for the movies and soon made his film debut with a small role in the Betty Hutton comedy Red, Hot and Blue (1949). Kruschen's early career is peppered with a variety of roles like a comical gangster in both Abbott & Costello Go to Mars (1953) and Money from Home (1953) starring Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin; a hard-nosed police detective in Confidence Girl (1952) and Julie (1956), an underrated Doris Day thriller; or doomed victims to alien prey in Sci-fi cult classics: the 1953 version of War of the Worlds (fans remember him as Salvatore, one of the first earthlings to be killed by the invading Martians) and The Angry Red Planet (1959). The roles offered steady work, but not much critical recognition. All that changed when Billy Wilder cast him in the key role as Jack Lemmon's bemused but caring neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss in The Apartment (1960). As the man who observes the steady stream of women in and out of Lemmon's apartment and the one who saves Shirley MacLaine from a drug overdose, Kruschen offered a wonderful performance - viewing his neighbor's proceedings with a jaundiced eye, yet never letting his disdain overtake his humor and humanity. He was justly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. From this point on, Kruschen was seldom out of work, appearing in over 40 films (including a terrific dramatic turn in the original Cape Fear (1962) as Dave Grafton, a corrupt southern bigot) and nearly 60 guest roles on television for the next two decades. Kruschen would later find fame toward the end of his career when he was cast as Papa Papadapolis in the hit sitcom Webster (1985-1987) and would show pleasant variations of the "kindly old codger" throughout the remainder of his career - like his final role in the romantic comedy 'Til There Was You (1997). His death in April this year may have gone largely unnoticed by the movie-going public, but for those of us who treasure the art of the character player, Kruschen's passing was a loss that is fortunately compensated by his strong body of work that will be enjoyed for fans of the late show for many years to come. By Michael T. Toole SIGNE HASSO, 1910-2002 Actress Signe Hasso died June 7th at the age of 91. She was best-known for starring in A Double Life (1947) but played numerous Europeans in films during the 1940s. Hasso was born on August 15, 1910 in Stockholm, Sweden and began acting on stage at the age of 13. Ten years later made her first film appearance as Signe Larsson. She was married in 1936 and adopted the last name of her husband, cinematographer and later director Harry Hasso. After a dozen Swedish films, Hasso moved to Hollywood in 1940 where her first screen appearance was an uncredited role in Journey for Margaret (1942). A brief stint at RKO didn't lead to any more promising film parts so Hasso concentrated on her stage career in New York City. Eventually, her film career became more active, thanks to a quick succession of roles, most notably in Fred Zinnemann's The Seventh Cross (1944), Douglas Sirk's A Scandal in Paris (1946) and Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street (1945). However it was her portrayal of Ronald Colman's wife in the Oscar-favorite A Double Life that solidified her fame. But as Hasso continued to act on the stage and TV, her film work began to taper off. She appeared in high-profile thrillers like Crisis (1950), several made-for-TV movies, a few European productions and even the cult murder mystery, Bert Gordon's Picture Mommy Dead (1966). In 1972, the king of Sweden decorated Hasso for her work. Her final appearance was in a 2001 documentary about Greta Garbo. HERMAN COHEN, 1927-2002 One of the key producers of B-movies, Herman Cohen, died June 2nd at the age of 76. Like most producers, his name wasn't generally known outside the industry or the realms of film buffs but most people never forget the titles of his films: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and the not-quite-immortal Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). Cohen was a Detroit native, born August 27, 1927. He entered the film business in the smallest possible way, as a 12-year-old janitor, often accepting passes for his family and friends instead of wages. Cohen served in the Marine Corps (several articles incorrectly say the Army) before becoming a publicist at Columbia Pictures. By 1951 he was working as a producer's assistant on low-budget independent films, mostly for Realart Pictures run by another Detroit native Jack Broder. Soon Cohen was producing his own movies, including Westerns and mysteries, until hitting big with the famous I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Starring a then-unknown Michael Landon (under personal contract to Cohen who later tore it up so Landon could appear in Bonanza), the film was made for $100,000 but in just a few months grossed over $2 million. Cohen didn't hestitate to turn out I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula by Thanksgiving of that same year and before long had made several films that continued to earn money for years to come. (One TCM writer remembers Horrors of the Black Museum turning up in a small Alabama town in the early 70s, over a decade after its initial release. The film is scheduled for a DVD release with a Cohen commentary from VCI Entertainment.) Cohen also made several films in England including The Headless Ghost (1959) and the cult favorite Konga (1961) where Cohen even paid RKO $25,000 for the rights to use the title King Kong in publicity for his own film. Cohen's later movies included a spaghetti Western and Joan Crawford's final acting role Trog (1970). In the 1980s Cohen ran a company, Cobra Media, that distributed some films and licensed material such as Teenage Werewolf to Landon for use in one of his Highway to Heaven episodes. By Lang Thompson

Quotes

Be a mensch!
- Doctor Dreyfuss
Shall I light the candles?
- Fran Kubelik
It's a must! Gracious living-wise.
- C.C. Baxter
I like it that way. It makes me look the way I feel.
- Fran Kubelik
The mirror...it's broken
- C.C. Baxter
Yes, I know. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel.
- Fran Kubelik
You see a girl a couple of t imes a week and sooner or later she thinks you'll divorce your wife. Not fair, is it?
- J.D. Sheldrake
No, especially to your wife.
- C.C. Baxter

Trivia

To create the impression of a very large bureau in the scenes where Baxter is behind his desk, director Billy Wilder used dwarf actors and specially designed furniture.

Wilder directed Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch, The (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959). He grew to despise her demands for star treatment and her poor work ethic, and thus included the party-girl Monroe-esque character in this film.

The wool coat Fran wears in various scenes was actually Audrey Wilder's (wife of Billy Wilder).

Billy Wilder also used the character name Sheldrake in Sunset Blvd. (1950).

Billy Wilder originally thought of the idea for the film after seeing _Brief Encounter (1946)_ and wondering about the plight of a character unseen in that film. Shirley MacLaine was only given forty pages of the script because Wilder didn't want her to know how the story would turn out. She thought it was because the script wasn't finished. 'Paul Douglas' was cast as Sheldrake but died before filming began.

Notes

The film begins with voice-over commentary by Jack Lemmon, as "C. C. `Buddy' Baxter," who describes the vastness of New York and the large, impersonal nature of the Consolidated Life Insurance Company. The picture involves a running gag in which Buddy affects the executives' jargon by adding "wise" to the end of numerous words. This form of slang, which was popular at the time, was also used in the film's advertising. The last line of The Apartment, "Shut up and deal," has gained the status of one of the cinema's iconic lines. The character of "The blonde," played by Joyce Jameson, is referred to in the film as "a Marilyn Monroe lookalike" and imitates that actress' voice and mannerisms.
       Contemporary sources note that associate producer I. A. L. Diamond and producer-director Billy Wilder wrote The Apartment specifically for Lemmon, just after filming finished on Some Like It Hot (1959, see below). Wilder stated in a modern interview that he was inspired by the character of the man who lends his apartment to the lovers in Brief Encounter, the 1945 David Lean film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Wilder described his story note as reading, "Movie about the guy who climbs into the warm bed left by two lovers." The 1960 New York Times article stated that Wilder had originally planned the story as a play, but upon realizing that the important office set could not be shown to full effect on a stage, he and Diamond reconceived it as a film. Diamond asserted in the article that the film comments on "the mores of the American business community."
       Although Hollywood Reporter announced in August 1959 that Paul Douglas was cast as "J. D. 'Jeff' Sheldrake," he suffered a fatal heart attack on September 11, 1959 and Fred MacMurray was offered the role. In interviews, MacMurray stated that he was initially reluctant to portray such a nefarious character when the public associated him with roles such as the father in the popular television comedy My Three Sons, but that he reconsidered after thinking about his successful role as a murderer in Wilder's 1944 film noir classic Double Indemnity (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1940-51).
       According to a feature on Wilder in New York Times in January 1960, the script for The Apartment was only half-finished when shooting began, a customary practice of Wilder's that allowed him to tailor the roles to the actors after they were cast. Press materials note that exterior shooting all took place at night in New York City, including locations such as Central Park, the Majestic Theatre lobby and Columbus Avenue. The rest of the film was shot at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Los Angeles. There, the filmmakers constructed the huge interior set of the insurance office, designed to represent the demoralizing, impersonal nature of the corporate environment.
       According to press notes, the set was made of glass and metal and covered more than 25,000 square feet. In a modern interview, Wilder described the techniques they used to create the vast office space, including forced perspective with progressively smaller sized desks that recede into cardboard cutouts. Although Wilder claimed in a modern interview that he placed progressively smaller actors at the desks, finally casting dwarves, art director Alexander Trauner has stated that the actors in the back rows were children. Hollywood Reporter reported in December 1959 that the set included nearly $4 million worth of loaned office equipment, attended to by operators supplied by the IBM corporation.
       Press materials add that the artwork seen in the office of Sheldrake, including paintings by Massimo Campigli and Paul Klee, were from the personal collection of Wilder, a well-known art collector, and that the bed in Buddy's apartment was owned by Wilder, who had previously used the prop as Audrey Hepburn's childhood bed in Sabrina (see below). Edie Adams and Hope Holiday made their feature film debuts in The Apartment. Although December 1959 and January 1960 Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed: Edith Simmons, Shirley Adams, Elaine Walker, Diana Green, Lynn Cartier, Darlene Hendricks, Dorothy Partington, Charna Haven, Italo De Nubila, Nona Carver, Beverly Ravel, June Smaney and Anita King. A modern source adds David Macklin, Dorothy Abbott and Mason Curry to the cast and credits Angelo Laiacona as assistant director.
       As noted in the Variety review, Charles Williams' song "Jealous Lover" was retitled "Theme from The Apartment" for its popular commercial release. The film's Los Angeles premiere on June 21, 1960 benefitted the Vista Del March Child Guidance Foundation. The film was chosen as the official U.S. entry in the Venice Film Festival, 24 August-September 7, 1960. Reviews of the picture were strong, with the New York Times reviewer stating that Lemmon "takes precedence as our top comedian by virtue of his work in this film." The Apartment marked the beginning of a transition for Lemmon from purely comedic roles to dramatic ones, culminating with his portrayal of an alcoholic in 1962's The Days of Wine and Roses (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). He went on to make more five more features with Wilder, including 1963's Irma La Douce (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70) and The Front Page in 1974. Despite references in modern sources to tension between MacLaine and Wilder, she also went on to work with him as the title character in Irma La Douce, for which she won an Academy Award nomination.
       The Apartment won many honors, including Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Art Direction (Alexander Trauner and Edward G. Boyle) and Editing (Daniel Mandell). In addition, Lemmon, MacLaine, Jack Kruschen, cinematographer Joseph LaShelle and sound director Gordon E. Sawyer received Oscar nominations. (The Apartment marked the last completely black-and-white film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, although the majority of 1993's winner, Schindler's List, was shot in black-and-white.) The film garnered Golden Globe awards for Best Picture, Actor and Actress; the Grammy for Best Soundtrack; the Directors Guild of America Award for Wilder; and the picture won the British Film Academy Award for Best Film. More recently, The Apartment was ranked number 93 on AFI's 100 Best Films in 100 Years list.
       The musical Promises, Promises, which was based on The Apartment, opened on Broadway on December 1, 1968. The play, which starred Jerry Orbach, was produced by David Merrick and was written by Neil Simon with a score by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David. A January 1969 Daily Variety news item stated that United Artists retained first rights to the purchase of the musical's film rights. Although some modern sources state that the 2000 film Loser, directed by Amy Heckerling and starring Jason Biggs, was based on The Apartment, as Heckerling asserted in a July 2000 Daily Variety article, the similarities are coincidental.

Miscellaneous Notes

Co-Winner for Best Picture and Best Director of 1960 as voted by the New York Film Critics Association.

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1960 New York Times Film Critics.

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the National Board of Review.

Winner of the Award for Best Actress (MacLaine) at the 1960 Venice Film Festival.

Winner of the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Comedy of 1960.

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States June 1991

Released in United States Spring May 1960

Re-released in United States December 23, 1991

Film was later adapted into a Broadway play "Promises, Promises".

Selected in 1994 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Re-released in United Kingdom December 15, 2000.

Shot between November 1959 and February 1960.

Released in United States 1972 (The Billy Wilder Marathon)

Released in United States Spring May 1960

Released in United States June 1991 (Shown in New York City (Film Forum) in the series "Billy Wilder: 85 Years an Enfant Terrible" June 7-10, 1991.)

Re-released in United States December 23, 1991 (Film Forum 2; New York City)