Last night I went to a lovely birthday party where the swag included Sudoku books and the works of Richard Dawkins (I got The Selfish Gene!). When I got home I watched Billy Wilder’s The Apartment (1960), one of the most cynical of romantic comedies, i.e. the best kind. If you don’t want to read any spoilers, stop right here.
C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), an employee of a big insurance company in Manhattan, gets ahead at work by providing a special service to his bosses. He allows them to use his apartment as a fuckpad (they’re too cheap to get a hotel room and too old for drive-in movies). Baxter has a crush on an elevator operator named Fran Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine as the very definition of cute), and just when he thinks he’s getting somewhere, he finds that she’s been in his apartment.
Fran is having an affair with Baxter’s boss Mr Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who always meets her at this Chinese restaurant; every time they come in, the resident pianist plays the movie theme. I think the pianist was the Filipino jazz musician Bobby Enriquez, who worked in Manhattan clubs in the 60s. Unfortunately my copy doesn’t have end credits, and the imdb page for The Apartment doesn’t mention the piano player. Can anyone confirm or rebut?
If you don’t feel like weeping at It’s A Wonderful Life again tonight, consider The Apartment, which also ends on New Year’s Eve, with fewer or no tears.
The pianist playing “Jealous Lover” (theme song of The Apartment) in the Chinese restaurant, was, in my opinion, almost certainly NOT Bobby. At the time that movie was made, Bobby would have been 16 or 17 years old, and while he did start performing as a teenager, this was in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and later in Hawaii. He only arrived in mainland USA in 1967â€”at the invitation of actor William Conrad (“Cannon”; “Jake and the Fatman”, and many others). He first stayed for several years on the West Coast (playing, in particular with bop alto saxophonist Richie Cole’s group), and I don’t believe he played in New York clubs (like the Village Vanguard) until much later (70’s and 80’s). Hope this helps. Cheers, Patrick de K.