Wilder Connection

By prior arrangement a cat sitter is living in my apartment until next Sunday so I won’t be able to watch these five Blurays (not to mention Amazon-purchased Blurays of The Apartment and Cleopatra) for a while. So from my room at the Hotel Santa Barbara I’ve been looking to experience these Blurays by proxy, and John Nolte‘s Big Hollywood piece on The Apartment Bluray is the best I’ve come across so far.

This is the only time in my life that I’ve felt any sense of values-based kinship with Nolte, whose conservative political views have often appalled me. But it’s never difficult to find common ground on movies with problematic people. Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was an admirer of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Foreign Correspondent, so by that standard I could probably have a nice chat with him if we could somehow meet. John McCain likes Shane, George Bush loves High Noon, etc. I’ll bet Pol Pot liked some of my all-time favorites.

What I don’t get is how an unhinged rightwing loon like Jon Voight could point to his work in Coming Home, Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy and Runaway Train and say, “That was good, I’m proud of those films, they’ll always be part of me” and still think like he does.

  • JLC

    I think The Apartment is a great case study of the rift that exists in movies right now, and the main reason many have gone so far off course. Modern filmmakers seem to think that profound=dark and depressing, and vice versa. Entertaining, on the other hand, is something to be shunned as flippant.

    The Apartment is about some of the most dark and depressing subject mattter of all time, including infidelity and suicide. But it’s entertaining as hell. It’s not afraid to tell a joke and then five minutes later stare into the pit.

    A lot of it has to do with the immeasurable talent involved, including Wilder, MacMurray, MacLaine and, especially, Lemmon. But it captures a worldview that filmmakers on both ends of the spectrum can’t, or won’t, attempt. People that throw around the term “masterpiece” on every other film would be well advised to watch The Apartment and see what one actually looks like.

  • The Reek

    It’s called “free thinking.”

  • patches23

    Billy Wilder used to say something like “you can give the audience some nasty medicine as long as you also give them honey to help it go down easier.” (Maybe I saw that in Cameron Crowe’s book?)

    Anyway he did that masterfully in The Apartment. And who better to capture the tone of that writing than Lemmon and MacLaine.

    Stalag 17, too.

  • Raising_Kaned

    What’s actually scarier to me is the people who exclusively recommend/appreciate movies that only reaffirm their own personal values.

    What’s that great quote about true intelligence — or, I suppose, “wisdom” — being the ability to hold two totally contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time?

  • Manitoba

    There is one beautiful interior evening apartment scene where Wilder says a lot about 1960 era television. Every time I see it,I give thanks to Ted Turner for TCM. Lemmon is enjoying a TV dinner in front of his set. His Bud Baxter is all eyes and ears as he catches an announcer: “And now, Grand Hotel–starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford–pause for a Baxter closeup–Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. But first a word from our alternate sponsor…Friends, do you have wobbly dentures?”

    Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond at their best.

  • HarryWarden

    Are cat sitters really necessary? Sure, dog ones are but cats don’t go outside or really drink that much water. Leave enough food and you’re good. Maybe someone to change the litter a few times but other than that, what would you need someone there at all times for?

  • corey3rd

    A link to Muppet Hater John Nolte’s site will never be clicked by me. John Nolte probably spread the lie that Mr. Rogers was a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War.

  • nemo

    “Are cat sitters really necessary? Sure, dog ones are but cats don’t go outside or really drink that much water. Leave enough food and you’re good.”

    I have two cats, and it depends on how long I’m gone. For a 3-day weekend out of town, I don’t bother with a cat sitter. But for 5 days or more, I have someone come in twice a day. Even if the cat water doesn’t get drunk down or all evaporate, it does get nasty with lint and cat hair after a few days. And the cat litter is a lot less nasty to sift after 3 or 4 days than after 6 or 7 days.

    But yeah, I’ve never had someone live in the house with the cats the whole time I’m gone, even when I’ve left town for an entire month. They always stop by twice a day. I guess it helps with security to have someone living there, but I live in the relatively crime-free Midwest.

  • nemo

    By the way, the comments on the greatness of The Apartment are excellent. Right on the money.

  • nemo

    Another reason for having someone come in once or twice a day is that my cats will turn feral and destroy furniture if they get really bored. They like the stimulation of a twice-daily visit by the cat sitter.

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