Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy
Poor old C.C Baxter (Lemmon) is caught in a cycle of sychophantic submission to his superiors. Baxter works at a New York City (of course) Insurance Agency with a thousand other plebs at the bottom of the corporate pile.
To get out of this white collar cesspool, Baxter agrees to lend out his apartment for his bosses to get busy with their mistresses. Initially, everything goes to plan. Baxter works late to free up his place and is able to get more work done. However, after a while and a sleep on a park bench where he gets a cold, Baxter begins to tire.
One fine day he meets sassy elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (MacLaine), with whom he falls into sweet, deep love. As Baxter moves up the corporate ladder, however, he soon realises the mess he’s got himself into, the icky world of drink, drugs and affairs. He is shocked to realise that the love of his life is tangled up in this seedy world which drives him over the edge.
This film heralded the dawn of a new era in cinema and society. The conservative 50’s were gone, the swinging 60’s had arrived. When you compare Ben Hur to The Apartment, you can see they are polar opposites. The production feels a lot more modern as well as the themes. It has an abstract feel to it.
The Apartment is all about the pleasure generation: sex, alcohol, drugs and television obsession. Baxter represents the 50’s society merging into the 60’s. He’s a little naive but ravenously consuming anything he can get his hands on. He still has old fashioned ideals of love and romance which are shaken by revelations of Fran’s involvement with a married man! Shock, horror.
Imagine how audiences would have reacted to these themes! Apparently they loved it. Perhaps they were ready for more meaty or shocking storylines from Hollywood.
Jack Lemmon is lovable and a bit sad as the fumbling Baxter. Shirley MacLaine is brilliant and natural as Fran. I felt the film ran a little slow and it was excruciating to watch Baxter struggle through under the thumbs of some very powerful men. In the end, though, Baxter comes of age and finally stands up and becomes a man!
The Apartment Trivia: