The Apartment

Production year 1960
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray
Running time 125 minutes

The Apartment (1960) is producer/director Billy Wilder's bittersweet, heart-rending tragi-comedy/drama of a compliant insurance clerk (Lemmon) who secretly lends out his apartment to other company executives for adulterous sexual affairs and liaisons. The plot thickens when the clerk realizes that his building's elevator operator (MacLaine) is being taken for trysts by his married boss (MacMurray) to his apartment. The sophisticated yet cynical film of the early 60s is a bleak assessment of corporate America, big business and capitalism, success, and the work ethic, when a lowly but ambitious accountant enables his climb up the corporate ladder by ingratiating himself to his superiors - he literally prostitutes his own standards and moral integrity and allows himself to be exploited.

It won five major Academy Awards out of ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (co-written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond), Best B/W Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing. Three acting awards were passed over: Jack Lemmon for Best Actor, Shirley MacLaine for Best Actress and Jack Kruschen for Best Supporting Actor. It was a triple win for Wilder as Director (Wilder's second directing Oscar), Producer, and Screenplay author.