Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 11th, 2018
BluRay Release Date: December 12th, 2017 (USA), December 18th, 2017 (UK)
Approximate Running Time: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR (USA), PG (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Encoding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $49.95 (USA), £29.99 (UK)
The Apartment was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder whose other notable films include, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot, Kiss Me Stupid and The Fortune Cookie. Key collaborators on The Apartment include, cinematographer Joseph LaShelle (I Was a Teenage Werewolf, The Long, Hot Summer), composer Adolph Deutsch (The Maltese Falcon, The Mask of Dimitrios) and screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, a frequent collaborator of Billy Wilder’s.
The Apartment would reunite Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder, who has previously collaborated on Some Like It Hot. In all, Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder would collaborate seven times. With the other five films being, Irma la Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Avanti!, The Front Page and Buddy Buddy.
And though, The Apartment contains all the ingredients, that have since become synonymous with their other collaborations. Most notably, its use of humor. The end result is a much darker film, than those aforementioned films.
The premise is superbly realized, the narrative is wonderfully paced and the characters are well defined. And performance wise, the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s greatest asset being Jack Lemmon’s captivating performance in the role of C.C. Baxter, the protagonist of the film, who uses his apartment to help further his career. Another performance of note includes, Shirley MacLaine in the role of an elevator operator named Fran Kubelik, who is having an affair with C.C. Baxter’s boss.
From a production stand point, this is a film, where everything perfectly falls into place. And nowhere is more evident, then in regards to Billy Wilder’s masterful direction. Most notable this film moment of truth scene, where a distraught Fran takes a large dose of sleeping pills, after she comes to realization that her affair with a married man has no future. And not to be overlooked, is this film finale, which provides one of cinema’s most satisfying conclusions.
The Apartment comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The 2k transfer created for this release was sourced from a brand-new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release. Contrast and black levels look strong throughout, details look crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression. And when compared to this film’s previous home video releases, this new transfer is vastly superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced throughout. Range wise both of these audio mixes handle the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack well and the score sounds appropriately robust. The more preferred of these two audio mixes is the mono audio mix. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 19 seconds), Restoration Reel (2 minutes 19 seconds), scene select audio commentary (8 minutes 37 seconds) and an interview with film critic Phillip Kemp titled The Key to The Apartment (10 minutes 12 seconds), a video essay titled The Flawed Couple (20 minutes 23 seconds), an Informal Conversation with Billy Wilder (23 minutes 17 seconds), an interview with actress Hope Holiday titled A Letter to Castro (13 minutes 23 seconds), an archival featurette titled Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon (12 minutes 47 seconds), an archival featurette titled Inside The Apartment (29 minutes 36 seconds) and an audio commentary with Bruce Block.
Topics discussed in the scene select audio commentary / interview with Phillip Kemp include, his thoughts about key moments, the cast, Billy Wilder and The Apartment.
The extra titled an Informal Conversation with Billy Wilder is an archival interview with Billy Wilder, who discusses, casting, screenwriting, collaborating with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, The Apartment and Jack Lemmon.
Topics discussed in the interview with Hope Holiday include, her origins as an actress, Billy Wilder / her audition, The Apartment, Jack Lemmon and her thoughts about the film.
The extra titled Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon is a celebration of Jack Lemmon.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Inside The Apartment include, Billy Wilder, The Apartment, I.A.L. Diamond, the plot, the cast, their thoughts about the film, Billy Wilder’s creative process, onset memories, production design and critic reaction to the film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a one hundred and fifty page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Sweet and Sour: The Greatest of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment written by Neil Sinyard, an essay titled Broken Mirrors: Illusions and Disillusion in Billy Wilder’s “Diamond” Comedies written by Kat Ellinger, an essay titled “Shut Up and Deal”: The Changing Candor of 1960’s Hollywood Cinema… Morality-wise written by Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche, information about the restoration / transfer and illustrated with rare stills and behind-the-scenes images. Overall The Apartment gets an exceptional release from Arrow Academy, highly recommended.
Note: This limited edition of only 3000 units produced.