Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Apartment

The last movie to win Oscar Best Picture in Black ‘n’ White was this movie. Of course, it was before Schindler’s list (1993). The Apartment made in 1960 was classic with reputed performers like Jack Lemmon (I cant stop ravishing about him), Shirley Maclaine aptly directed by Billy Wilder. This was a follow up from his previous smash hit comedy ‘Some Like it Hot’.

I was in tears, because I was touched by the simplicity in which Jack Lemmon suppresses his feelings. The feelings when his boss played by Fred McMurray out of his marriage has an affair with Shirley Maclaine and he can just stand and do nothing about it.

It is the apartment, which is in demand for few employees working at an insurance company in New York. The Apartment belongs to Mr. C.C Baxter played by Jack Lemmon. To climb up the corporate ladder, he lends his apartment to his fellow selected higher officials to spend time with their muses outside house. The four managers keep their promise by spending positive appraisals to the personnel director, Mr. Sheldrake played by Fred McMurray.

C.C Baxter is attracted to the elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik played by Shirley Maclaine. It turns out, Mr. Sheldrake had sights on Miss Kubelik and they were involved in a relationship, which ceases to have an identity.

In adverse circumstances, Miss Kubelik cannot tolerate the mystery of their relationship contemplates suicide and consumes sleeping pills at the Apartment.

C.C Baxter to his shock finds Miss Kubelik in a state of horror. Next few days, he consoles Miss Kubelik and even tries to bring a smile.

While his heroics of saving Mr. Sheldrake gave him a chance to become Asst. director. He always dreamt of this position, now he stalls himself to enjoy the newfound position.

Jack Lemmon puts a remarkable performance. Shirley Maclaine looks cute in her hairstyle.
Fast forward 37 years, Bollywood had its own movie in Yes Boss loosely inspired by the theme where Shahrukh Khan helping his boss Aditya Pancholi to get Juhi Chawla in return for a better corporate future.

And in 2006, another Bollywood movie ‘Life in a Metro’ finds a sub-plot similar to the screenplay of ‘The Apartment’. Sharman Joshi does justice to his role similar to Jack Lemmon while Kangana Ranaut and Kay Kay Menon plays Shirley Maclaine and Fred McMurray to perfection.

However, according to director Billy Wilder, The Apartment was inspired when he had seen the movie ‘Brief encounter’ in 1945.

I quite like the ending scene…. Its about time when C.C Baxter and Miss Kubelik about to start a game of cards….
C.C. Baxter: You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Its a Wonderful Life

I always wondered, why life has lot to give to us when least expected. Is it its own way of testing one’s response? In any case, this movie gave an insight as to how situations pan out which are very different from one’s dream.
This is a story of George Bailey (James Stewart) and his altruism. He always dreamt of traveling places. However, due to his sudden death of his father, his plans had to take a back step, instead he takes over his father’s loan and building company. Mr. Potter’s (Lionel Barrymore) malicious intentions are always cut short by Bailey’s love and affection for his town and the people.

Just to give a glimpse of what this movie is about:
Few days before Christmas, disaster strikes and some part of company’s money is lost when Bailey’s uncle was depositing in the bank. Mr. Potter who was well aware of the possible consequences would hide the money. Fearing about his company shutdown for the loss of money, a frustrated and clueless Bailey contemplates suicide.
His years of goodwill ensured, an angel named Clarence who wants to earn his wings comes to earth. He shows Bailey how his town was if he hadn’t been born. The town would have been in shambles under Potter’s reign. His family members are either dead or led a life of misery.
This probably made Bailey understand the positive impact he had on people’s lives and did re-consider his suicide and also realize what a wonderful life he has had. He did want his life back and more than ever, he wanted to live again.

This was the first movie I had seen of James Stewart and also that of Frank Capra. This was starring debut for Donna Reed who plays Mary Bailey.
Movie has many claims, and is widely rated as one of the top films never to have won Best Picture Oscar only behind Shawshank Redemption. On technical front, this film did innovate a unique method of creating snowfall.

Released in 1947, this movie will go down as one of all time classics not to have won any Oscar.

Personally, this movie was one of the first Black ‘N’ White movies I had seen as a college student. It did have a positive impact on my life then. 4 years hence, I still feel the same vibes when I think about this movie.
The Last scene when Bailey’s daughter is very apt looking at the situation he had to deal with the angel.
At his home when party is on, sound from Christmas bells…
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey: That's right, that's right. Attaboy, Clarence.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


A viewer's delight. This movie had two of the great movie stars seen on screen and this marked the first time they starred together. This is Stanley Donen’s romantic-suspense drama ‘Charade’.
The first time when I heard about this movie was in a local quiz competition. Our team didn’t get the answer to the introduction scene of this movie. The movie title always fascinated me. That was just one of many reasons to watch this movie. Little did I know then, it would star Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn?
Cary Grant was 59 and hence wasn’t convinced about the idea of romancing Audrey Hepburn who was just 33 at that time. He did refuse the offers made to him because of the age-difference.
Finally, Cary Grant did agree because of a certain change in the script by Peter Stone, the writer. It was decided that Audrey Hepburn would be pursuing him and promptly the romantically aggressive lines were shifted to Audrey Hepburn's character.
This film also reiterated the fact of Cary Grant playing action roles with ease. He refused James Bond owing to age. Apart from these legendary actors, Walter Matthau plays a pivotal character.

Audrey Hepburn plays the character of Regina Lampert, who would lose her husband through murder. Many of his friends would come to take the money, which was stolen in the form of gold from US Government during WW II. She is ignorant about his past and plot continues when three of her husband’s ex-partners in crime, US Government all chase her in search of the money. Screen name of Cary Grant changes every 20-minutes in the movie who has protective as well as selfish motive in the movie. The movie is shot mainly in Paris and Switzerland.
This movie made in 1963 was a box office hit and this movie happened to be the only time, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn appeared together on screen. Cary Grant had refused ‘Roman Holiday’ earlier. This movie was listed in Time’s 100 Greatest Movies.
Apart from the lines of Audrey Hepburn, i love the last scene where Cary Grant chases Audrey Hepburn.