Note: This article spoils 'The Apartment' as much as 'The Apartment' could ever really be spoiled.
It's been fifty years since Billy Wilder's 'The Apartment' won an Oscar for Best Picture, and not only does it remain one of the best romantic comedies that Hollywood has ever produced, but it's also still one of the darkest. A corporate fable equally indebted to Ernst Lubitsch and the timeless appeal of mousy women, 'The Apartment' is a spiked ode to the joys of the moral high ground, and the ultimate fantasy for all the nice guys out there who are patiently waiting for life to reward their compassion.
Ostensibly set in 1960's Manhattan, each viewing of 'The Apartment' adds to the feeling that the film actually transpires in a post-apocalyptic hell, an 'I Am Legend' riff where a plague has swept through the city, turning all of its men into unrepentant assholes. Except, of course, for one: C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), a giddy and congested office drone who's traded his backbone for a chance to slither up the corporate ladder. Each and every one of Baxter's bosses is an adulterous jerk (including the awesome David White, who played Larry Tate on 'Bewitched'), and Baxter is their favorite doormat.