Best Picture: the Apartment

Apartment_60Baxter: The mirror…it’s broken.

Kubelik: Yes, I know.  I like it that way.  Makes me look the way I feel.

Billy Wilder’s 1960 story is one of the winners that focuses on a normal guy in a normal situation.  C.C. Baxter is an ambitious office worker who obtains the support of his superiors by allowing them to use his apartment for their affairs.  A push-over, he lets them kick him out at all hours, and takes responsibility for the noise and complaints he receives from his neighbors and land lady.

Baxter is lonely, and begins to woo an elevator operator named Fran Kubelik, who unbeknownst to him is having an affair with another of his bosses, again in his apartment.  A series of incidents result in Baxter questioning his goals and his actions.

This is one of the movies that I enjoyed right from the beginning.  I found Baxter to be a likable character, even if I was disappointed in how completely unwilling he was to stand up for himself.  He has a quick mind, able to talk others into accepting his version of events, and able to adapt to the situations quickly enough, but it is never for his benefit.  In fact, I even found it heroic how he never divulged his secrets, the dirt he had on other characters, no matter what happens to him.

It was also fun to spend the whole movie trying to recognize Ray Walston in the youngest role I’ve ever seen him in.

I’ve been fascinated with the Best Picture movies, to see how the films jump between color and black and white.  After 1939’s ‘Gone with the Wind’, the entire 1940’s went without a film in color, then switched five times by ‘West Side Story’.  I have to wonder about the decisions and discussions during production.  How did one get chosen over the other?  Alas, the internet resources I look up (IMDB and Wikipedia) often won’t have much on that.

At least it was a good movie.  Really one to watch again.

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