Monday, July 28, 2008

The Apartment

Speaking of public spectacles, I made it out to see The Apartment at Bryant Park as part of HBO's Monday night movie screenings. It was excellent. If you haven't seen it before (and why wouldn't you have? it only came out 48 years ago), here's an excerpt from the original New York Times review to whet your appetite:

YOU might not think a movie about a fellow who lends his rooms to the married executives of his office as a place for their secret love affairs would make a particularly funny or morally presentable show, especially when the young fellow uses the means to get advanced in his job.

But under the clever supervision of Billy Wilder, who helped to write the script, then produced and directed "The Apartment," which opened at the Astor and the Plaza yesterday, the idea is run into a gleeful, tender and even sentimental film. And it is kept on the side of taste and humor by the grand performance of Jack Lemmon in the principal role.
That's right. Taste and humor and one more elusive quality, ladies and gentlemen -- timelessness. What's great about The Apartment is that nearly 5 decades later, it retains just enough of the right cultural signposts to still resonate with an urban audience. The (mostly young, tipsy) Bryant Park crowd responded loudly when Jack Lemmon's Buddy Boy confessed what he paid for rent for his place in the Upper West Side. And Shirley MacLaine's sharpest lines (addressed to a lover) got a similar reaction. Apparently some things about 1960s New York are pretty much the same today -- like the desirability of prime real estate, the rituals of corporate culture, the hazards of dating, and the versatile wisdom of McLaine's final sweet words to Lemmon: "Shut up and deal."

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