Blu-Ray Review: The Apartment

For more than five decades Jack Lemmon was a familiar face on big screens and a much-loved actor. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Mister Roberts in 1955 and made over fifty films before he reprised his most famous double act with Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple II in 1998. In between, he won a second Oscar, this time for Best Actor in Save The Tiger, and also starred in such wonderful and memorable films as Some Like It Hot, The Odd Couple, The China Syndrome, Days of Wine and Roses and The Great Race. He teamed up again with Some Like It Hot director Billy Wilder in 1960 to give arguably his best performance in The Apartment.

C.C. “Bud” Baxter (Lemon) is a low-level clerk in an insurance firm in New York. He lives a doleful existence alone in his apartment. However, it has become a hotbed of action for several of his superiors (including Ray Walston and David Lewis) who regularly use it to carry-on extramarital affairs. He grudgingly permits this with the forlorn hope of one day getting a promotion. It seems his luck is in when the Personnel Director, Jeff D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), call him into his office. However, in exchange for promotion he wants exclusive use of the apartment. To make matters worse, Mr Sheldrake is having a tryst with the cute lift operator (Shirley MacLaine), who Bud also likes.

The Apartment is a magical film. Lemon is at his comedic and charming best, but also effortlessly displays a whole range of emotions. Shirley MacLaine is absolutely delightful and the merry menagerie of managers provide great entertainment. It’s beautifully shot by Wilder, who makes great use of the sets, particularly the forced perspective employed by Art Director Alexandre Trauner to portray a large office. This new remastered version serves to highlight the craftmanship at work. The Apartment is a classic which deservedly won five Oscars and is still as wonderful to watch today.

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

The Apartment is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 18 December.

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