best film:  JFK is actually the best  film Jack Lemmon is in and it’s no cameo- though he’s a psoke in the larger ensemble wheel. If you’re going with films that he starred in it would be Some Like It Hot by an eyelash over The Apartment. 

best performance:  The Apartment. Lemmon has a deep filmography and his 2nd and 10th best performances may be fairly close in quality but to me this wins out by a margain (though he won an Oscar for two other films: Mister Roberts, Save the Tiger) and is best remembered for two others: The Odd Couple and Some Like It Hot.  Lemmon is an actor who could do it all and The Apartment has everything. It also gives him back to back great performances in masterpieces in 1959 and 1960. So at a time when you’re thinking about Fellini and the French New Wave– you have Jack Lemmon standing on his head in brilliant Billy Wilder films– haha.

stylistic innovations/traits: Jack Lemmon could do comedy (Mister Roberts, Some Like it Hot, The Odd Couple, The Great Race) ,  drama (Days of Wine and Roses, China Syndrome, Missing, Glengarry Glen Ross) and films in-between (The Apartment, Avanti). He had 8 oscar nominations over 4 decades (50’s-80’s). He’s known for his pairings with Walter Matthau (10 films but only 5 are in the archives I believe) and Billy Wilder (6 archiveable films). I think his work in the 90’s (Glengarry and JFK is huge to add depth to that resume).

directors worked with:  Wilder (6) and the work they did together is worth a close study for sure, Blake Edwards (2) and then John Ford once, along with Oliver Stone and Altman

Top 5 Performances:

  1. The Apartment
  2. Some Like it Hot
  3. The China Syndrome
  4. Avanti
  5. Glengarry Glen Ross

Archiveable films

1955- Mister Roberts
1959- Some Like It Hot
1960- The Apartment
1962- The Days of Wine and Roses
1965- The Great Race
1966- The Fortune Cookie
1968- The Odd Couple
1972- Avanti
1973- Save the Tiger
1974- The Front Page
1979- The China Syndrome
1981- Buddy, Buddy
1982- Missing
1986- That’s Life
1991- JFK
1992- Glengarry Glen Ross
1993- Short Cuts
1996- Hamlet