Monday, February 9, 2009

"I'd like to spell it out for you... only I can't spell! "

This will be the first of three posts related to this past weekend.  Because of course, I like to watch old movies at 6:30 in the morning.  There really isn't a greater time to watch, mostly because the SO isn't up (well, usually) and that means that I can watch half of the movie in peace and the other half all I hear are moans and complaints about how old movies (I like to call them classics - which is more than I can say for most modern movies, but that's for another tangent) are so boring.  This is the same SO who can't get enough of National Lampoon's Van Wilder (so you get my drift about her taste in movies).

This may be the first of many posts this week for movies that come from TCM's 31 Days, mostly because the DVR will get backed up quickly, so let's begin.  Saturday morning, I was delighted and amazed at the classic comedy "The Apartment."  Starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, this movie follows the life of Lemmon's C.C. Baxter, a poor sap who uses his apartment to get ahead in the insurance biz.  Unfortunately, he's not getting the ... (yes, I went the sexual joke route).

Baxter allows his apartment to be used for his uppers' trysts (don't try Googling "tryst" - you'll get some interesting first websites).  In order to boost his potential for one day being an executive himself in the company, he goes along with it, allowing four execs the opportunity to use his apartment for their affairs with mistresses.  And all Baxter wants is his own office.  Of course he's the nice guy getting duped, and his neighbors believe he's the scum of the earth (mostly because they think he's the one having the lavish lifestyle).  Along the way we meet MacLaine's Fran Kubelik, an elevator girl that Baxter has a thing for but won't initiate anything.  We know she notices him, but unfortunately we have to find out that she's in on an affair with Fred MacMurray's Jeff D. Sheldrake (who uses Baxter's apartment - you see where I'm going with this).

When Baxter finds out, and when Kubelik realizes Sheldrake won't leave his wife, the two are put in a most difficult situation.  Baxter has to decide if he'll allow this to go on in his apartment, and Kubelik decides life's not worth living.  As far as a comedy goes, this is when it gets dark.  Suffice it to say, everything in the end is what each person deserves.  Some leave with a happy ending (the obvious character, well, characters) and one person celebrates New Year's empty-handed.

For as much as the SO complained, the movie is funny from the get-go.  It's only when Baxter helps Kubelik back to health when it gets a little dark.  The dialogue, the score, everything really works.  You have to feel for Baxter because he's been put in this situation and doesn't know how to get himself out of it.  Sometimes you just have to stop what you're doing and start over.  In this case, starting over somewhere else.  Even if it weren't on any all-time movie lists, I know that this would still be a winner in my book.  Maybe if the SO watched both halves, she'd understand, too.  One post down, two more to go.  Later!

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