Monday, January 25, 2021

Super Dark Romantic Comedy

The Apartment (1960) - Wilder Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.50.26 PM Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.51.14 PM Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.55.11 PM Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.52.44 PM 
Billy Wilder's comedies always had an edge, that he had a very dark sense of humor, bordering on being offensive. A person taking too much sleeping pills over love or shooting oneself in the leg to get over a relationship aren't really funny. Nor is letting your apartment used as a sex den. It is though, in Billy Wilder's world. HAHAHAHAHA.

The Apartment, about a good natured white collar worker, Baxter (Jack Lemmon) at a skyscraper insurance agency, trying to climb corporate ladder by letting his bachelor apartment on 64th Street in Manhattan to be used as a fuck den for his superiors and also falls for a cute elevator operator, Fran (Shirley MacClaine). But he finds out that she is already taken by an executive (Fred MacMurray) as he pushes Baxter to let him used his apartment for, you know what. Baxter in turn, has to be content with having a reputation as a crazy party monster and sex maniac in his apartment building with music blaring every night and discarded mounds liquor bottles at the door every morning. All these for a shot at promotion!

Heartbroken by the executive who wouldn't leave his wife and family and who has been sleeping around with numerous female office workers at the job, Fran takes the whole bottle of Baxter's sleeping pills one night after the one of those arranged nights and spends 48 hours recuperating under Baxter's care. He tells the story of him shooting himself in the leg getting over a girl in the past. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY. Oh at one point a character says about ending up with Egg Foo Young all over her face in one of those date nights too. SO FUNNY.

Wilder's direction and technical prowess are, as always, a marvel. Both Lemmon and MacClane are aces in their roles. Young MacClane is a beauty to behold. But the blatant sexism, the subtext in male oriented corporate culture of the late 50s, early 60 are all really icky.