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Why, you wonder? Because the friends at Filmspotting are in the middle of their Billy-Wilder marathon, and I really had not seen those films in a long time (some actually never before). “The Apartment” I have seen, but literally decades ago, and what a treat this is. Roger Ebert correctly asserts that the quality of this film has nothing to do with context of the time. It is just outstandingly written, directed and played. It is also a bit sad to see what a great actress Shirley McLane was before she went bonkers. Jack Lemmon… what can be said that has not been said about his performance. Not many actors get such a chance for a lifetime performance, and the apocryphal story a bout the directors needing to stop him acting in order to get the best out of him may only be too true, because he balances on the thin line between charging and understatement, and he does never fall off (my favourite: when he keeps dealing the cards while the girl lies in bed, she wants to talk but clearly is too weak, he does not want to get involved now, not now… so he keeps dealing and counting). And the nice neighbour Dreyfus and the sad barfly at Christmas night, and all those great lines of dialogue about the broken mirror and “shut up and deal”… what a masterful way of cornering poor CC Baxter and then letting him out in the last minute.

Ebert Review

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