Best Picture Winners Part 33 (of 87): The Apartment


Title: The Apartment
Year: 1960
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
Runtime: 2 hrs 5 mins

What It Is: When down on his luck C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) begins loaning out his apartment to his upper managers so that they may cheat on their wives in peace. As this goes along more and more of this philandering fools decide to make “buddy boy’s” apartment their personal love nest. When Baxter begins to fall for the lovely elevator operator named Ms. Kubelik (MacLaine) all bets are off. However, things with this lass might be more complicated than ole Bud thought. There’s more to this girls story than he assumed. And the movie itself is much more than you’d assume, filmwise.

Memorable Quote: C.C. Baxter: Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.

Competition: Fairly weak. To start we have a film that got in on the back of the excessive lobbying by director, producer and star “The Duke” John Wayne and his debut behind the camera The Alamo. This historically inaccurate “retelling”of the stand taken by a group of Texans against over 7,000 Mexicans. Not a well directed film but certainly one that makes it seem as if “The Duke” was wearing too many 10 gallon hats. Elmer Gantry is a film about a philandering street preacher. This film saw itself take home 2 acting wins for Best Actor (Burt Lancaster) and Supporting Actress (Shirley Jones.) It’s Sinclair Lewis roots lead to some controversial subject manner. One has to wonder why Richard Brooks didn’t receive a Best Director nomination. Sons and Lovers deals with having to go against the still in existence (at the time) MPPC guidelines, and the D.H. Lawrence adaptation tries to make the most of it’s restrictions. This one focuses on Paul and Gertrude Morel as well as Paul’s alcoholic father Walter. With lush black and white cinematography and provocative dealings this might be the weakest film in the lot. We, lastly have The Sundowners which is beautiful and sweeping in scope. It’s over long runtime severely affects the films quality. It’s an Australian film without an Aussie in the cast. It follows a Shepard family who finally have enough money to buy a farm, exciting stuff indeed. With such slim pickings one has to wonder how great films like Never on Sunday or the all-time classic Psycho didn’t get a nomination here (despite Hitchcock receiving one for directing his horror-thriller classic.)

Hopefully 1961 brings a better overall cache of contenders, because it’s winner doesn’t hold a candle to this Billy Wilder classic that won this year. Now if you’ll do me a favor and shut up and deal…card wise that is!


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