Yesterday B.A. and I dropped by Edinburgh's The Filmhouse to buy a DVD and bought tickets to the 6:20 PM showing of The Apartment instead. I had heard good of it, knew it was a comedy, and saw that it was filmed before 1963, so I thought I would like it.
Well, I loved it. I think I should compile a list of great films for or about Singles, because The Apartment would go to the top of the list.
The themes are adult and rather frank for 1960, I thought. In short, the film is about a Single man (Jack Lemmon) who is working at a huge insurance company in New York city. He has a nice bachelor apartment in the city, and married executives from his company borrow his apartment for dates with their secretaries, switchboard operators, et alia.
Although increasingly annoyed at having to vacate his apartment on five minutes' notice, C.C. Baxter wants to keep in with these executives, who have promised him glowing reviews and advancement. He has serious second thoughts only when he discovers that one of the executives has designs on Miss Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine), the sweet elevator girl he has a crush on.
It's definitely a period piece, and it might be a shocking revelation of what the workplace could be like before contemporary feminism. It presents an astonishing hierarchy of male executives over other male workers and of male workers over female workers. The exploitation could be cruel.
At the same time, though, it shows how working in a big American office during the post-war boom could be hilarious and flirtatious, and this is recognizably the environment that spawned Sex and the Single Girl and Cosmospolitan magazine--neither of which I'm recommending, mind you.
What makes the film fantastic is the efforts of sweet and decent people to remain sweet and decent despite such a decadent and exploitative environment. Both the Single guy trying to get ahead and the Single girl trying to hang onto both love and her self-respect may remind you of yourselves. Let's just say, mistakes are made. Meanwhile, although the viewer is likely to feel angry with the adulterous execs, she is also likely to laugh at them and at their silly girlfriends.
One of the sweetest things about the film is that Mr Baxter and Miss Kubelik keep calling each other Mr Baxter and Miss Kubelik even in the most bizarre or personal circumstances. The polite conventions of 1960 are in such a contrast to its shenanigans.
If you are pondering what to watch tonight, I most definitely recommend The Apartment to readers over 21. In Britain you can see it if you are over 14, but my thought while watching it was that it was definitely a film for Adults. There is no nudity, and very little violence, but there is a lot of suggestion and suggestive talk. It's certainly not crude, but it is still for adults in my Auntie opinion.
(I have a sliding scale of what is an adult, but as this post is about just a classic film, for the purposes of a film review, I am deciding all my readers 21 or over count as adults.)
Update: Anyone who thinks it is acceptable to make fun of my readers is not welcome here. Thanks for the shout-out, Ryan, but my commentators are worthy of respect, and not merely because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Meanwhile, such remarks are why I now actively discourage men from reading my blog. We are women chatting together. If you eavesdrop at least do us the favour of remembering that.
I'm very angry about this. I'm sorry, girls. And for the record, I don't like it being said I have a heart of gold. There is one kind of woman who is associated with a heart of gold, and I do not belong to her profession.
Update 2: I won't link to him, but alas, I have found the first serious Auntie Seraphic detractor. (Not Ryan. Ryan doesn't get the blog, but he doesn't willfully misunderstand it. ) This guy obviously hasn't read much of my blog, or any of my book, or any of my articles in the Toronto Catholic Register or my interview with Radio Maria, because he thinks I hate men. He also seems to think I am a pseudo-trad, but heck. I don't know how you could tell from my blog how trad a Catholic I am or ain't. Oh, and he speculates on my previous sexual sins, which is a definite first for the Catholic blogosphere or Catholic media in general or Catholic men in general, as far as I know.
I'm sorry to mention this last detail, for not only do I love men, a number of men love me very much and at least one of them turned a frightening shade of puce upon reading that. So calm down, Nulli. Although creepy, it wasn't that big a deal. It was, of course, detraction and a sin, and so Mr Super Trad might want to think about mentioning it in the confessional this Saturday.
Incidentally, he assumes my readers never get married. Again, he can't have been reading for very long. Every time a long-term reader writes in that she's gotten married, I post it up as community news or acknowledge it in the combox. And at least one reader became a contemplative nun. Once again, this blog is not about catching a man but about living a happy, holy Single life.
By the way, Tess of Notre Dame has gotten engaged despite my horrible influence. Best wishes, Tess!