Following the popular and critical success of his gender-bending farce Some Like It Hot (1959), Wilder reteamed with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond for this darker comedy set in the world of nine-to-five corporate New York. Jack Lemmon was again on hand, this time as lonely office bottom-runger C.C. Baxter, who goes after promotion by allowing his seniors the use of his apartment for their extramarital liaisons. Meanwhile, he hopes to catch the eye of the sassy elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine).
Deliriously funny, The Apartment is also shot through with Wilder’s customary wit and cynicism, creating a bleak vision of estrangement in the modern working city. Celebrated art director Alexander Trauner designed the cavernous open-plan office. The film won five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.
“I’m still not sure if it’s really a romantic comedy or a heartbreaking film about loneliness. Maybe it’s both...” Simon Duffy
“Imagine being as good at anything as Jack Lemmon is for every second of this tragicomic masterpiece.” Helen O’Hara
“This is a movie that will never age. A painstaking, heartbreaking, perfectly funny portrait of Western society.” Ilaria Feole
“Comedy gets short shrift in lists of this kind; sometimes it looks too easy to create. Billy Wilder made it look easy and yet you know it was hard. The Apartment has a lot to say about heterosexual love but manages to say it while commenting on class.” Oris Aigbokhaevbolo