Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston
Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
There are definite perks to being a film critic. Among them, chiefly, would be when something like this incredible package comes along with Arrow Films. This limited edition blu-ray, 3000 copies only, of The Apartment has to be one of the best offerings from Arrow Films in a year that has offered several remarkable offerings. Co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, The Apartment snagged five Academy Awards including 1961's Best Picture Award and Best Director for Wilder. Lemmon, MacLaine and Jack Kruschen also snagged acting noms for the film.
The Apartment centers around a man (Lemmon) whose desire for upward mobility leads him to offer up his apartment to adulterous company bosses and their mistresses. When he makes a similar offer to his firm's personnel director (Fred MacMurray) but discovers that the mistress in question just so happens to be the woman of his dreams, Lemmon's C.C. "Bud" Baxter is forced to choose between his career and the woman he loves.
Considered by many to be the pinnacle of both Lemmon's and Wilder's careers, The Apartment followed up their successful collaboration on Some Like It Hot. Having already won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1956's Mister Roberts, Lemmon's nomination here was his third in a career that would eventually include eight nominations and two wins.
One of the reasons that The Apartment is such a cinematic masterpiece is that Wilder magnificently taps into the story's melancholy undertones, the story of a lonely man whose life choices only magnify his loneliness. The Diamond/Wilder script is bathed in the sort of inner turmoil that happens when we make choices that we believe will make us happy, yet deep down know that happiness is untouchable and far off in the distance. Filmed in black-and-white, The Apartment is less effective colorized precisely because the film, which takes place largely around the holidays, uses space to define lack and the lack of celebratory color deepens the emotional impact of the film.
The film's ensemble cast is stellar - indeed, Lemmon is at the top of his game while MacLaine, Kruschen, and MacMurray all helped to create a film that has been often criticized as a Best Picture winner but upon further observation is simply a quieter masterpiece of everyday life.
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
- Limited Deluxe Edition Blu-ray [3000 copies]
- Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
- Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
- Optional 5.1 remix in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with film producer and historian Bruce Block
- New appreciation of the film and select scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
- The Flawed Couple, a new video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon
- Billy Wilder ABC, an overview by David Cairns on the life and career of the filmmaker, covering his films, collaborators and more
- New interview with actress Hope Holiday
- Inside the Apartment, a half-hour “making-of” featurette from 2007 including interviews with Shirley MacLaine, executive producer Walter Mirisch, and others
- Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon, an archive profile of the actor from 2007
- Original screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond (BD-ROM content)
- Theatrical trailer
- Special collector’s packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Ignatius Fitzpatrick
- Collector’s 150-page hardcover book featuring new writing by Neil Sinyard, Kat Ellinger, Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche, generously illustrated with rare stills and behind-the-scenes imagery
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic