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“The Apartment” - {Bluray}
John A. Reese
Studio: MGM
Release Date:
January 24th, 2012
Special Features:

See Below


After the wildly successful cross dressing comedy “Some Like It Hot”, Billy Wilder must have been tempted to make a similar slapstick comedy within that vein. However, Wilder did the opposite. He made a dark and controversial comedy-drama. It paid off in the end as the film was nominated for 10 Oscars and won five of them, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.***

Jack Lemmon stars as Calvin Clifford Baxter, a lonely, low rate employee working at Consolidated Life, a very large insurance company. It's a good job and the pay is okay, but he normally has to work late. This is not because he’s waiting for the commute to be less crowded or working for a big promotion. It's because of his great apartment that is perfect for a bachelor, which he is. Unfortunately, his managers are not, but they like to live the bachelor lifestyle and use his apartment for their extramarital affairs.***

He's not exactly happy with the situation but he's not one to complain. Also, he's not happy that his neighbors think he's the one bringing home a different strange woman every night, but he's not willing to make a fuss about that either. He does get something out of the arrangement, namely they give him excellent reviews in his performance reviews to the personnel director, Mr. Jeff D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). He might be on the fast track for upper management. He gets so excited when he's called up to Sheldrake's office, that he asks the elevator lady, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), out on a date. Unfortunately, Baxter is unaware of a couple of things.***

Firstly, Sheldrake is smart enough to see through these impressive performance reviews and immediately realizes there's something up. He is able to get Baxter to confess to his apartment sharing scheme. Baxter thinks he's going to get fired, but that's not what Sheldrake was getting at. He wants to use the apartment with his mistress. Secondly, Baxter is unaware of Fran is Mr. Sheldrake's mistress.***

Until this point the film is a funny romantic comedy with excellent performances from the three main leads. It has a great hook with the plot set up to force Baxter to either stand up to his boss to try and win over the woman of his dreams, or continue up the corporate ladder. However, the film takes a darker and more dramatic turn later on. I am entering spoiler territory so I’m going to stop here. If you go in expecting a lighthearted comedy, the change in tone halfway through the movie may turn some people off. Nevertheless, I think this makes the film unique and Oscar worthy.***

Image & Sound: There's hardly any print damage and the grain is never excessive. The detail level is excellent and the contrast is very strong. The film was originally made in Mono, so the audio is not the greatest. However, the studio subtly expanded the mono mix into a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track. The dialogue is always clear, which is good since this is a dialogue driven film. It occasionally shows its age, but there are never any problems that are distracting.***

Special Features:

There is an audio commentary by Bruce Block, a film historian. Like with most solo audio tracks, there's a problem with energy, but it’s there are some good behind-the-scenes information and trivia. There is 30-minute featurette called Inside the Apartment, which looks at “The Apartment” and how it fits into Billy Wilder’s career. The featurette also includes interviews from the actors, crew, and film historians. Another featurette is called Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon. It’s basically a 13-minute look at the career of Jack Lemmon. Finally there is a theatrical trailer of the film. Unfortunately, the trailer is the only special feature in HD. The two featurettes are only in SD.***

Final Words:

The Apartment is a must have film. I think it’s one of Wilder’s best films. It’s emotional, well-written, and has brilliant performances. It's never looked or sounded better on the home market than it does on Blu-ray. I highly recommended it!***


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