There are two types of people in this world; takers and those who get took. Unfortunately for C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), he's the one getting taken. Baxter is hard-working and eager to please, and uses the key to his apartment as a tool to get up in rank. The only problem with his home away from home for philandering bosses is how they use it against him. Will Baxter find a way to work his way to the top? You'll have to tune in to find out!
The Apartment is a classic, and a very enjoyable film to watch. Seeing Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in their younger years is quite humbling as well. Their performances are spot on, and the lighting on Shirley is always perfect. The script, direction, and execution of this film produced a classic Hollywood drama. It's no wonder how the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1960. It's rare, especially today, to see a dramatic comedy win this award. Sometimes the humor is subtle, but provides a relief from the other frightening aspects of the story. A well-written and acted film such as this could not be made today. Sadly, the audiences have changed, and so have the demands for what makes a great award winning Blockbuster. I feel everyone should give this one a viewing to see what good classic cinema is supposed to be.
Now let's see what all this Blu-ray has to offer.
Surprise! There is no main menu for this film. Instead, viewers are thrown right into the beginning of the story. In order to access the Audio and Subtitle setup, Scene Selection, or the Extras; viewers will have to find the 'Popup Title Menu' button on their Blu-ray remotes. Once pressed, a very subtle list of options appears along the bottom of the screen. There viewers can choose one of the options listed above. The 'Audio' option includes: 5.1 English, Spanish (mono), French (mono), or the Audio Commentary with Film Historian Bruce Block. The 'Subtitle' languages also include English, Spanish, and French subtitles. The 'Scenes' option displays five screenshots at a time, and lists only the scene number for a description.
Now let's take a look at the Extras included on this Blu-ray.
- Audio Commentary with Film Historian Bruce Block - This is an informative commentary. It’s more instructive rather than a personal commentary that an Actor or Director would give.
- Inside The Apartment (29:36 HD) - This is a great clip that takes a look at Director Billy Wilder, and how he came up with the idea of The Apartment. He had the idea since the 1940's, but knew it would be too risky back in those days. This was a groundbreaking film that changed the rules of cinema.
- Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon (12:47 HD) - This is a wonder clip that takes a look back at Jack Lemmon through the eyes of his son, and people who worked with him. He truly loved being an actor.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:19) - This trailer promotes the quality of the story and the actors. Combined, these aspects really made an excellent film.
Now let's look at the technical side of this Blu-ray.
Watching a Black and White film in 1080p HD can be a great experience. The simplicity of the color scale allows viewers to appreciate the quality of the story and the actors. I was curious about how it would appear on my LED TV, because black levels can appear a little blown out at times. Not in this transfer! The blacks were some of the best I have ever seen, and the whites were so vivid! I will say there were some dark moments in the film, but I believe this was done on purpose due to the darkness of the content. However, the lighting was always spot on, and the actors always stood out from their surroundings. The image simply looks amazing. In watching the theatrical trailer, viewers will see immediately the difference in the original film quality to the transfer to Blu-ray. It's extremely clean. I really like it when they leave something for viewers to compare with. It reminds us that Blu-ray can be a great way to preserve classic art, such as The Apartment.
This is what you'd expect from a dialog-driven romantic-comedy. The transfer was bumped up to a 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio track, but the additional channels don't interfere with the movie much. The majority of the sound still comes from the front and center. The dialog is crisp and clear, and the music is never over bearing or too quiet. With little background noise to interfere, viewers can hear the subtle sounds of a drawer being closed, or a key bouncing as it’s tossed onto a desk. I never had to adjust the volume which watching this film.
Overall, I was very impressed with The Apartment on Blu-ray. The quality of the screenplay, actors, and innovative Director makes this a classic Hollywood romantic-comedy. It consists of the fundamentals which are valued just as much today as they were back then. Its message is to do the right thing, even if it was part of something not socially acceptable. This is a solid story that will warm your heart. If you are looking for a good-quality classic film, don't hesitate to pick this one up. It's worth having in your Blu-ray collection.