The Apartment (1960)


By Scott Ross

Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s successor to Some Like it Hot is an excoriating expose of dirty little American business practices that was itself, amazingly (and rather hysterically) labeled smutty.

Jack Lemmon has seldom been better than he is here, playing a nebbish who loans out the key to his apartment to his firm’s executive staff in hopes of bettering himself at the office. Shirley MacLaine is almost impossibly adorable as the elevator girl he pines for, in the performance that should have won her the Oscar she had to wait a quarter-century to receive. And Fred MacMurray is used to unprecedentedly smarmy effect as the big boss who’s stringing them both along.

The Wilder/Diamond screenplay contains a plethora of memorable lines, most of them for MacLaine as Fran Kubelik and including one (“Why do people have to love people anyway?”) that came straight from the actress herself.

MacLaine: Some people take, some people get took. And they know they’re getting took, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

MacLaine: That’s the way it crumbles… cookie-wise.
MacMurray: What are you talking about?
MacLaine: I’d spell it out for you, only I can’t spell.

Lemmon: I love you, Miss Kubelik. Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
MacLaine: Shut up and deal.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross


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