101 Funniest Screenplays

Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond collaborated on 11 screenplays. The Apartment won them an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award. In an interview with the Writers Guild Foundation, Wilder recalled a five-page outline initially inspired by the David Lean film Brief Encounter, in which the leading man uses a friend’s apartment for an affair. “But what about the man who has to crawl back into his warm bed? What happens to him?” Wilder wondered. Insurance man C.C. Baxter starts loaning out his key to adulterous co-workers and falls into the good graces of the boss, Mr. Sheldrake, who is using Baxter’s place to romance the office elevator girl – the same woman Baxter has fallen for. “The theme was right there,” Wilder said. “A schnook desperately wants a career – the American sickness, higher, higher, better, better, better. Ultimately when he makes it, that’s when he doesn’t want it anymore.”