The Apartment Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray Director: Billy Wilder The film: Don't be put off or fooled by the appalling cover on this new MGM/Fox Collector's Edition of The Apartment, which, with its ugly and inappropriate 'artwork', suggests a light and breezy, Technicolor screwball comedy. This was, in fact, one of the darker screen outings for both Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, bordering on film noir with an often cynical theme and generous helpings of moral depravity (at least by 1960s standards), which earned some scathing reviews from the conservative press for director Billy Wilder (Some Like it Hot, The Lost Weekend). Lemmon (right) is C.C. Baxter, a low-ranking insurance company employee who loans his apartment out to philandering senior company executives in the hope of furthering his prospects for promotion. When someone even higher up the corporate ladder gets to hear of this, he also wants in and provides Baxter with a senior position in return for his regular absence and a key to the apartment, where he cheats on his wife with a company elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine). Eventually realising, through some deft exposition by Wilder, that this is the same elevator girl that he is currently attempting to woo, Baxter falls into an alcohol-fuelled depression that is alleviated only when she is sidelined by the boss and attempts suicide in his home. Despite the criticism from reviewers used to the apple-pie version of American life that had been served to them thus far, The Apartment's realism, cynicism and frank examination of corporate and social culture earned it a good deal of acclaim, Oscars-wise. Wilder - who received eight nominations for best director and 12 for best screenplay during his career - took home best director, best picture and best screenplay, and the film received 10 nominations in all, against some particularly strong opposition. The extras: Best of the extras is an engaging commentary given by producer and film historian Bruce Block, which points to aspects of the film that might go unnoticed by the casual viewer, notably the camera lighting, composition and subtle bits of business provided by Lemmon and the ever-meticulous Wilder. Inside the Apartment is a 30-minute look at the film, which, being studio-produced, errs on the side of tiresome adulation, while Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon offers similar praise for an actor who, in The Apartment, was at the top of his game. The widescreen-enhanced transfer is much better than the one MGM put out in 2001, with a sharper image, better contrast and improved greyscale, all of which are especially welcome for a film in which dark, scrupulously arranged interiors are so prevalent.