Shiny Shelf

SHINY ADVENT: The Apartment

By Eddie Robson on 07 December 2006

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

What could be more Christmassy than suicide? It’s a highly popular fact amongst Christmas curmudgeons that the suicide rate goes up around the holiday, so we shouldn’t be surprised that it pops up not only in the most famous Christmas movie ever (‘It’s a Wonderful Life’) but also in this remarkably bleak romcom from Billy Wilder.

CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon) attempts to climb the corporate hierarchy by lending the use of his apartment to workmates cheating on their wives – a tactic which rebounds on him when one of them starts dating life operator Fran Kubelik, whom Baxter has been wanting to ask out for some time. (This is understandable – she’s played by Shirley Maclaine, who was possibly the prettiest girl in the entire world at the time, and so cool that even that notorious boys’ club the Rat Pack welcomed her into the fold. She has the best hair ever and looks awesome in that uniform.)

‘The Apartment’ shows a Christmas experience rarely seen in Christmas movies – that of those who spend the holiday alone. It’s sensitive to the downtrodden Baxter’s predicament without being maudlin, and it’s quite inspiring in the end. If you find ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ a bit mawkish (I don’t, I think it’s superb, but some might), here’s the alternative everyman Christmas suicide movie.

Buy ‘The Apartment’ from Amazon.

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By Eddie Robson

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