Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT blends his customary harsh cynicism with a humane streak that appears only fleetingly in his films. It stars Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter, an office clerk who curries favor with the executives in his office by giving them the key to his small apartment for the odd afternoon dalliance. Among them his is his callous boss, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who Baxter eventually learns is using his place to sleep with Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the sweet elevator operator the clerk has loved from afar. When Sheldrake coldly dumps the vulnerable young woman, she tries to commit suicide, but is saved by the intervention of Baxter. As the clerk lovingly nurses the young woman back to health he begins to realize, with the help of epigrammatic neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), exactly how much of a fool he has been. Wilder brilliant depiction of the average American office as a place of brutality, coldness, and alienation conjure up Kafka and Marx. The director seduces the audience into what appears to be an unusually frank sex comedy, but turns the tables in displaying the consequences of the executive's cold indifference. Lemmon and MacLaine both give career performances and MacMurray is memorable as the blandly smiling snake.
Academy Awards Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w) 1960
Academy Awards Best Film Editing 1960
Academy Awards Best Picture 1960
Academy Awards Best Director 1960 Billy Wilder Director/screenwriter/producer
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay 1960 Billy Wilder Director/screenwriter/producer
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay 1960 I. A. L. Diamond Screenwriter/Collaborator of Billy Wilder