The Apartment: Collector's Edition Billy Wilder

The Apartment: Collector's Edition Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder’s classic adultery comedy gets first-rate treatment with this much-improved DVD edition. Released in 1960, The Apartment is a scathing satire of corporate America and post-war sexual mores. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. "Bud” Baxter, who regularly lends his Manhattan apartment to his bosses for their sexual trysts so that he can climb the ladder at their insurance firm. When Baxter lends his apartment key to the big boss, J.D. Sheldrake (played by a sleazy Fred MacMurray), Baxter gets the office with a view but becomes entangled with MacMurray’s mistress, the sweet Fran Kubelik (a note-perfect Shirley MacLaine) and starts to question his character. Does he go for the girl of his dreams or keep his job and lose his soul? Film historian Bruce Block weighs in with an almost obsessive commentary that details the making of The Apartment, from concept through to its premiere. Block describes details found in the script that Wilder obsessively translated to the screen, such as the half-empty liquor bottles found in Baxter’s abode. Constantly, Block imparts Wilder’s working methods, such as his "show don’t tell,” "two plus two” screenwriting rule, which sets up a dramatic situation for the audience to figure out instead of leading them by the nose. Block also offers substantial background about the office set and the cast (it was MacLaine’s first major role and she was nervous throughout filming). "Inside The Apartment” is a well-researched featurette that allows sources such as Ed Sikov (Wilder’s biographer), co-writer I.A.L. Diamond’s son, film historian Molly Haskell, and MacLaine herself to tell the film’s history during a sexually uptight period in America. The other featurette, "Magic Time,” is more a hagiography than biography of Jack Lemmon, but will amuse his many fans. The main prize, however, is the film. Though The Apartment’s sexual shenanigans are tame by today’s standards, the laughs remain fresh and the characters real. This film remains one of America’s greatest comedies. (MGM)