The Apartment

Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine and Fred Macmurray
Written by I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder
Directed by Billy Wilder
USA 1960
110 minutes

Ten years ago, on the 12 August 2009, the Acton Film Club started. Mark Mason and I had talked about setting it up for at least two years and when Mark discovered that a rival film club was planned at The Rocket - determined not to be beaten, we took the plunge and began.

Tragically Mark died suddenly in May of the following year. Since then Amanda and I have programmed a film every three weeks – some 150 films altogether – you can see all the titles in the archive pages of this website.

‘The Apartment’ is the very first film the AFC ever screened and was one of Mark’s favourite movies. Like him the film has a marvellous quick-witted and genuine quality combined with a generosity of spirit and a soft if not sentimental centre.

The script is by I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder – they had earlier written ‘Some Like It Hot’ for Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis – a comic masterpiece that we screened outdoors a few years ago. 'The Apartment' is less far less frantic and slapstick – a perfectly-executed, bittersweet romantic comedy that lifts the lid on the cold inhumanity of the corporate machine.

The themes are tough and real – bullying in the workplace, sexual harassment, loneliness and suicide but the film speaks truth to power and gives us one of the most uplifting and beautiful finales in all of cinema.

Lemmon is brilliant as the little guy caught in a trap as a result of his generosity and naivite, Shirley Maclaine is luminous as Miss Kubelik the lift attendant and Fred Macmurray plays the executive with sleazy charm and ruthless motivation.

You may have seen it many times before but 'The Apartment' will always repay another screening – especially one under the stars.

Here’s to you Mark…