the first scene of the movie establishes there is something wrong with marlon brando's character (paul). he's standing under an elevated train, screaming. but, as no one can do that forever, he trudges on his way and soon finds himself behind a young woman.
maria schneider (we eventually learn her name is jeanne) is dressed fashionably when we first see her. she's anticipating something good... as evidenced by her hurried, but light steps.
(m.b. age of character = 45. m.s. acs = 20. ages of actors similar to acs. released 72/73.)
everyone in the universe over age 18 knows what happens next AND next, next, next; but what most people don't get is that's just another piece to the puzzle of wtf is going on in this movie? no, they did not make a feature film starring hollywood's top man to introduce us to alternate uses for butter (the klum masters probably count that as a bonus, however)
THE APARTMENT, a lot of people i've read on the internets miss the fact that this thing is across the street from the residential hotel where paul lives (and he owns it; therefore no matter what he says, paul does not need the apartment as a residence).
so, the landlady of the apartment knows paul. she's LYING to jeanne every time she claims she has no idea who he is (she probably thinks he'd want her to lie). this is never explicitly stated, but common sense? that's happening.
so, knowing none of this, jeanne enters the apartment and looks directly at a broken mirror with a piece missing from the center. (hehe, clue.) we see her reflected in this mirror.
then, she finds out this apartment has a man in it. he's just been kind of... there (following her) and he might rent the place... who knows...
interestingly, paul gets a freaking phone call right then (hmm...) which jeanne listens in on... and he catches her. he puts down his receiver and very quietly sneaks over to where she is...
somewhere around this time, they decide to hook up. well, they don't so much "decide" that's just what they do. then, quickie accomplished, they get themselves in order and go on their way. but not before paul makes a suggestion "let's do this again" (secretly). and without further ado, they go their separate ways. THIS shocked the crap out of audiences at the time for some reason...
jeanne, now sans pantyhose, goes to meet HER FIANCE at the train station. her hair's still styled, her makeup still looks good... she's almost as put together as she was which is good luck as her fiance is going to do a sort of reality movie with her called "the life of a girl." filming begins right this second, in fact, she has to ask him about the cameras.
at some point around this time jeanne makes her first trip to the bar around the corner. irl this is the john f. kennedy, jr. bar (seriously).
paul goes on across the street to talk to the maid who's cleaning up the bathroom where his wife rosa just died of a violent case of cutwrists. the maid tells him how the police wondered if it was murder and had her act out rosa's moments to account for how blood got some places it got.
she chattily tells paul (who you know is ready for her to stfu) the cops asked many questions about him! why didn't he work? why didn't paul and rosa have children (she's fishing, we find out why no kids much later)? she says she told the police that paul has ben a boxer, an actor, a journalist in JAPAN, a south american revoluntionary, he learned french and married rosa (the maid calls her "a woman worth money"). basically, even though we're constantly reminded paul IS AN AMERICAN, he hasn't been in the u.s. for 20 years... he's been going "from country to country."
rosa suicide(?) was in room 12. she used a straight razor. the maid gives paul the razor. he puts it in his pocket.
now, for some reason, a lot of people think paul and rosa weren't together. they WERE. he found her. she had affairs (though ended the last one long before her death) and they talked about these, but they lived together as a couple. this is made obvious so many ways (things characters say, etc) I really don't know how people miss it.
so, who are paul and rosa? well... probably not what they seem(ed). was the hotel (which was a much nicer place when he parents ran it) a cover? a retirement plan? but, i'm getting ahead of myself, we haven't even met maurice yet.
(apologies if some scenes are a little out of order, it's been a while since i've seen it... it's a great movie. but not that pleasant to watch once you look past the sexy time... which I did on the first viewing, so... haha)
to be continued...