This week's selection is Billy Wilder's wonderful social satire, The Apartment (1960).
Jack Lemmon stars as CC "Bud" Baxter, a struggling clerk in a huge New York insurance company. He's discovered a quick way to climb the corporate ladder - by lending out his apartment to the executives as a place to take their mistresses. He finds himself falling for his office's elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (played by the wonderful Shirley Maclaine), but is crushed to discover she is mistress to his boss, Mr Sheldrake, who has no intention of leaving his wife. Should he cave in to corporate pressure and reap the reward of the executive washroom, or should he follow his heart?
Although you may be better acqainted with Wilder's Some Like It Hot, in my opinion this is - along with Sunset Boulevard - his best film. Controversial in its day, it deals with themes of adultery, corruption and suicide in a no-holds-barred way. Fran is blissfully happy when Sheldrake tells her he'll leave his wife for her, but things quickly turn sour when she attempts to take her own life by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills. Each character is faced with their own moral dilemma, and Wilder presents it to us in his trademark cynical manner.
I love this movie. Shirley Maclaine is so beautiful and innocent and Jack Lemmon plays the role perfectly. Although the subject matter may seem dated in this day and age where morals rarely play a part in people's lives, the script is still as sharp and biting as ever.
Trivia: While filming the scene where Baxter sleeps in Central Park in the rain, Billy Wilder had to spray Jack Lemmon with anti-freeze to keep him from freezing.
If you have never seen this film before, it would make my day if you went out and rented/bought it now. If you love old movies, you will not be disappointed.