Looks like we won’t be seeing Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, and Pete until 2012. While we wait to see our favorite ad man, I’ll be watching these films for my fill of 60’s fashion, social and abusive drinking, marital unrest, and the corporate rat race.
THE APARTMENT (1960)
Without Billy Wilder, there would be no MAD MEN. PERIOD. The opening shots of Sterling Cooper offices in the pilot are direct lifts from Wilder’s 1960 masterpiece. The film even gets named checked by Joan and Roger in Episode 10 “The Long Weekend.” Wilder’s snappy dialogue and vivid characters probably provided MAD MEN writers with inspiration as well. Wilder’s hero, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has ambitions for management and lets execs use his apartment for their dalliances. Once he realizes the murky machine he’s mixed up in through his relationship with elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), he longs to be more than a corporate stooge and regains his dignity. How Wilder orchestrates tender moments with comedy and devastating drama is rarely out done on MAD MEN or anything else. Two episodes that come close for me are Episode 7 “Red in the Face” from season 1 and “The Suitcase’ from season 4.
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)
Don and Betty’s fights on MAD MEN never came close to the fervent hatred trading between Frank and April Wheeler in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the Wheelers hope a whimsical move to Paris will save their doomed marriage. Like the Draper marriage, the union crumbles under the weight of a lie.