DIRECTOR: BILLY WILDER
CAST: JACK LEMMON, SHIRLEY MACLAINE, FRED MACMURRAY
Jack Lemmon is one anxious face in a sea of stooges at the New York insurance company where he toils, a passive nobody able to distinguish himself to his superiors only by letting boss Fred MacMurray use his shoebox apartment as a love nest, while his tentative romance with an elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) plays out against a backdrop of boozy office Christmas parties, mocking holiday decorations, and mirthless cheer. Oh, and it’s a howl, too! The razor-sharp script by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond gives the film its acerbic slice, while Joseph LaShelle’s elegant, cool black-and-white photography and the brittle tinkle of Adolf Deutsch’s jazz lounge score bring out the underlying sadness of this brilliantly bittersweet paradigm of the comedy-drama.
An MGM/Park Circus release