Billy Wilder once said he was fed up with always forgetting those incredible ideas that came to him during that creative dream-like state in the middle of the night. So he decided to leave a pen and paper on his night table and jot down ideas in his sleep. Said and done. After the first experiment, Wilder said he woke up the next morning, checked his notes and read “Boy meets girl.” Just like that.
Perhaps this is one of the director’s many jokes, but the truth is his story’s mcguffins were very close to that premise. To verify, just go back to The Apartment (1960), a movie which, by the way, we should watch as often as we drag our finger up and down our Twitter feed, i.e. nonstop. In it, C.C Baxter (blessed Jack Lemmon) rents out his small bachelor pad to cheaters in need, that is, until he falls in love with elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (blessed Shirley MacLaine), who at the same time, is having an affair with one of her bosses—a true “boy meets girl” equation. Finally, on their first date, Baxter’s domestic arts reach a climax while making the perfect seductive al dente pasta. In the absence of a strainer (single men never have strainers, and why would they?), Baxter uses a racket to strain the spaghettis in a match point as if he were Nadal up against Federer. Facing this great achievement, Miss Kubelik whispers: “You’re pretty good with that racket…,” to which he answers from the podium, “You should see my backhand. And wait till I serve the meatballs.”
Let’s get a little (more) corny now: the pasta was al dente but love was what he was really cooking. There isn’t anything more romantic than watching Lemmon’s innocence in saying this while MacLaine throws out flames from her comic book eyes: “Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe. I mean shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand and there you were.” Just as we said: match point.