Shirley MacLaine attended several events at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, she first honored her friend, Christopher Plummer at his hand and footprint ceremony (see more below), she was interviewed by Ben Mankiewicz in the Lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel, she participated in a discussion before the showing of her film The Apartment, and finally, sat for a Q&A with Leonard Maltin on Sunday, March 29, one of the last big events of the festival.
For me, the one event of hers I just couldn’t pass up was to see her talk about her film, “The Apartment” and have an opportunity to see it on the big screen at the TLC Chinese Theater IMax, a gigantic theater with a huge screen.
The film, although made at a time when many films were shot in color, was shot in black and white, but you don’t miss the color one little bit because it’s beautifully shot and the screenplay is exceptional.
Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon are superb in their parts and Fred MacMurray plays the villainous and unfeeling Mr. Sheldrake to perfection. It received many accolades and won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. In my opinion, the stars of the film should have also won Oscars. If you’ve never seen the film, you should; it’s iconic!
Read more about the film here:
Billy Wilder’s films always combined comedy with heartbreak, but rarely did he pull off the balance quite as well as he did in this look at corporate lifestyles. In the role that revealed his ability to play serious drama, Jack Lemmon stars as a cog in the corporate machinery for an insurance company, who, to curry favor with management, lets them use his apartment for extramarital affairs. When the company’s head asks for a key, Lemmon seems to have made it to the top, only to discover the boss’s mistress is the elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) he’s fallen for. The film was a breakthrough for MacLaine as well. She had already received one Best Actress Oscar nomination, for Some Came Running (1958), but was seen primarily as a comic ensemble player. With the success of THE APARTMENT, she established herself as a major leading lady. Wilder only gave MacLaine the first 40 pages of the script so that she wouldn’t tip the ending. She thought he just didn’t have the script finished, which others working on the film have corroborated. During production, he added scenes to the script, like she and Lemmon playing gin rummy and her speech about love, based on things the actors said during breaks.
At the screening of The Apartment, she talked about what it was like working with Billy Wilder and how she created one of the lines in the film, “Why do people have to love people anyway,” and where it came from.
[icon style=”icon-film” size=”small” borders=”no”] Below is a scene from The Apartment with Shirley MacLaine and her co-star, Jack Lemmon. Also, notice Edie Adams as Sheldrake’s secretary.
At the time, she had been hanging out with the rat pack, and learning how to play gin rummy so, that’s how the gin game got into the film. She also explained that she had just had an affair that wasn’t going well and she said the above line, out of despair one day, at lunch with Jack Lemmon, Izzy Diamond and Billy Wilder. Once Wilder heard it, he said, we’re going back and reshooting that scene adding that line! So, Shirley is responsible for that line in the film.
Also, Shirley MacLaine honored her dear friend and fellow Academy Award Winner Christopher Plummer (“Sound of Music”) at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival during his handprint footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatres on Friday, March 27, 2015 in Hollywood California. See a video below of Shirley giving tribute to Mr. Plummer.[icon style=”icon-camera-retro” size=”small” borders=”no”] Below are some photos of her appearances at the festival. These photos are also stored in our 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Shirley MacLaine Photo Gallery.