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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Apartment

Ahh....December.  It's the worst month for getting ordinary things done.  Who has time to write a blog post on some old movie? Well, I do.  Let's call this my Christmas post.

The Apartment.  This movie should be of great interest to the readers as of late.  It begins with C.C. Baxter, loser.  He is the worst kind of nice guy who lets anyone and everyone walk all over him.  He's an office drone who allows his bosses to use his apartment for their extramarital affairs.  In turn, they dangle a promotion above his head.

Personally, I'd take an issue with other people having sex in my bed, but that's me.  Also, this movie was released in 1960 and may--or may not--have set the premise for Mad Men, what with all the skanky broads and New York heavies sleeping with a new one every night.  But I digress.

For a such a tragic film, I'd say the jokes are pretty good

--A cab?  Why do all you dames gotta live in the Bronx?
---You mean you bring other girls up here?
--Certainly not!  I'm a happily married man.

Anyway, C.C. Baxter has a crush on his building's elevator operator, Fran Kubelik, supposedly a nice girl who doesn't respond to any of the boys in the office.

Baxter gets a call to report to the office of Jeff D. Sheldrake, douchebag.  He's the VP or something and an absolute scumbag.  But more on that later.  Sheldrake lets Baxter believe he's in trouble, since he's been recommended for a promotion by 4 different managers and there is a rumor of a mysterious key floating around the office.  Baxter spills all, thinking he's been caught.  But Sheldrake has aspirations to use the apartment for himself.  He even pretends to be nice about it mentioning a "shift in personnel" and offering tickets to The Music Man in exchange.  How nice.

Baxter decides to ask Miss Kubelik to the show that night, but she has to meet a man-friend for a drink.  She offers to meet him at the theater after.  Baxter is ecstatic.  Meanwhile, guess who that man friend is.

That's right.  Jeff D. Shelldouche.  Actually, what follows is a magnificent scene with some fantastic writing and excellent delivery by Shirley MacLaine.  She calls Shelldouche out on his bullshit and his lying and his stringing her along, but then he drops the bomb:  he is leaving his wife.  (of course he's lying)  And so they go to the apartment.  And Baxter gets stood up.

Fast forward, Baxter gets his promotion and a nice office while Miss Kubelik is getting screwed in his apartment.  At the office Christmas party, Sheldrake's scorned secretary gets drunk and tells Fran all about Sheldrake and his lying, cheating, scummy-scum-scumminess.  Later on at the apartment, she is "celebrating Christmas" with Mr. Sheldrake and she gives him his present, a record that would have made a very thoughtful gift if Mr. Sheldouche had ever had an honest bone in his body in his entire wretched life.  He forgot to get her anything, so he gives her a $100 bill.  He leaves and Fran decides to take an overdose of sleeping pills.  (see?  this is a Christmas post.)

Meanwhile, C.C. Baxter is getting drunk in a bar downtown where he meets a young lady of questionable character.  (She's actually married, but her husband is in jail.  BTW-her husband is a jockey, we never see him, but the whole scene is peppered with jockey jokes, which I love.  Jockeys are creepy mo-fos.  I once took a spin class that was taught by a jockey, a wisp of a guy with way too much energy who kinda made me wish I were on a real bike so I could frantically ride far far away from him and his jock jams.  But I digress.  Again.)  They close down the bar together, so Baxter decides to take Mrs. Jockey home with him.  But his romantic endeavors are stalled by a nearly-dead Fran Kubelik.

Luckily, his neighbor is a doctor and they manage to save Fran (or else this would be a very different kind of movie and the jockey jokes would have been in pretty poor taste.)  Baxter has been taking the rap for his coworkers' indiscretions this whole time, so Fran's case is no exception.  Everyone in his building berates him for ruining that poor girl.  He takes it upon himself to nurse her back to sanity.

Thus begins the transformation of C.C. Baxter.  It is interesting to watch him grow a pair and stop being such a loser.  He gets another promotion, but it's short lived because he stands up to Sheldrake and refuses to let him use his apartment.

Actually, I've only described about half of the movie.  I won't ruin it for you.  Though it shouldn't be hard to guess at.  Rom-com scripts tend to follow the formula, though this one being a Billy Wilder project and all, it's fairly believable for what it is and brilliantly written.  Highly recommended.

And with that, some pictures for your viewing pleasure....

I found this picture of Billy and Shirley on the interwebz.  I think it's cute.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I've been calling Sheldrake a son of a whore for years, when he was actually a douchebag. You rock.