C.C (Bud) Baxter (played by Jack Lemmon) is a lowly clerk at an insurance company in New York City. He is a nice guy with a mundane life – apart from the fact that his apartment happens to be in the middle of the city and very handy to the office. Bud has gradually built up a following amongst the senior managers in the company (including by Ray Walston and David White) because he allows them to use his apartment for their regular extra marital rendezvous. Although he has to vacate his home every time, Bud happily does this in return for a “good word” from the bosses when it counts. However, when Bud gets a promotion and then takes a shine to a friendly co-worker, Fran Kubelik (by Shirley Maclaine), he decides he wants to have his apartment to himself – so things start to get a bit complicated. The Director of Personnel, Jeff Sheldrake (by Fred MacMurray) is also keen on Fran and can influence lots of things within the company. What’s a guy to do? This just cannot end well for Bud’s career or his love life, can it?
This movie is entertaining. It makes you realise that back in those movie-making days (absent of special effects and computer generated everything), a movie really had to provide all the entertainment through the characters, dialogue and actions on screen. This one delivers on all fronts. The screenplay is great – witty and full of links and threads back to previous scenes (just to make sure you’re listening!), there is also a marvellous use of the suffix “wise“, throughout the movie …. script-wise. The characters are wonderfully played, particularly Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine and Fred MacMurray. It is a very interesting narrative about those times in the workforce – men in dark suits, women dressed to the nines (all in support roles) and extra-marital activities being “just part of a senior manager’s life”. The plot is straightforward but entertaining and very watchable. If you haven’t seen it (either for a while, or at all), watch it next time it’s on late night television. It’s worth it.
At the 1961 Academy Awards (Oscar) Presentation, the film won five Oscars for Art Direction-Set Decoration, Director, Film Editing, Picture and Writing. In addition, Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine were both nominated for Best Actor in their leading role.
Made in 1960. Directed by Billy Wilder