AFI Top 100: No. 80 The Apartment


The AFI-80’s concluded with a controversial (for the time period) Jack Lemmon flick called The Apartment. According to the movie apparently if you are an executive, the way to carry-on an extramarital affair is to use the apartment of an eager subordinate through bribery and threats. Also, no need to look far for a mistress as any young female employee will trip over their feet to bed you…

In the words of my boyfriend, “Everyone in that movie was a bitch”.

I apologize for the bluntness but there is no way around it… the characters were pathetic. From Mr. Baxter allowing his supervisors to walk all over him, to the infidelity of the supervisors, to Fran thinking her entire life was only worth living if she had a man… all were pathetic. Mr. Baxter’s physician neighbor and his wife, Mr. Sheldrake’s wife and frankly the secretary were the only strong, reputable people in the entire movie. Everyone else was caught up with sneaking around with their mistresses, or allowing people to walk all over them.

Honestly, I could handle the infidelity premise of The Apartment were it not for the lax way they handled the subject of suicide. Mr. Baxter (Jack Lemmon’s character) actually joked about he almost shot himself over a woman. Maybe because it’s a different time, but the insensitive way it was handled took away any favorable feelings towards the movie. The last line, “Shut up and deal”, was cute but I still finished the movie feeling nothing but disgust for the two main characters.

While I appreciate it was a controversial movie for its time period, I could not get over the deplorable action of the characters. I saw on Wikipedia that there are comparisons to Some Like It Hot. I hope the earlier Jack Lemmon film is much better than The Apartment.

Next Up: The Wild Bunch

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