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Room At The Top [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret, Heather Sears, Donald Wolfit, Donald Houston
  • Directors: Jack Clayton
  • Writers: John Braine, Mordecai Richler, Neil Paterson
  • Producers: James Woolf, John Woolf, Raymond Anzarut
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Dd Video
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Jan. 2002
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UWOW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 162,905 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Classic 'kitchen sink drama' from the British New Wave of the 1960s. Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) is an ambitious young man who is tired of slaving away at his job and sets his sights on his boss's daughter, Susan, thinking she will provide a short-cut to the top. Hindered by his working class background, and frustrated by the opposition of Susan's parents, Joe seeks solace in the arms of a lonely older woman named Alice (Simone Signoret). But when he then inadvertently causes Alice's death in a road accident, Joe's whole world begins to unravel.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
Throughout the 1950s, a group of young British writers were referred to as "angry young men" because, in their novels and plays, they excoriated what they perceived to be the dominant materialistic values of their society following World War Two. They included playwrights John Osborne and novelists John Braine, John Wain, and Alan Silitoe as well as other prominent authors such as Kingsley Amis. This film is based on Braine's novel Room at the Top; Neil Patterson received an Academy Away for best adapted screenplay. Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) is the focal point. Driven by smoldering ambition to overcome his modest circumstances and deeply resentful of the wealthiest man in a North Country village (Brown, played by Donald Wolfit), he finally obtains a position in Brown's company and begins his difficult journey to "the top" while including marriage to Brown's daughter Susan (Heather Sears) among his ultimate objectives. Along the way, he meets an older but still attractive Frenchwoman, Alice Aisgill (Simone Signoret) with whom he has an affair. For Joe, it is a mere dalliance along his career path; she, however, falls in love with him. Beyond the passionate sex which she enjoys as much as he does, Alice also helps Joe to refine his social graces and increase his understanding and appreciation of the cultural arts. (Signoret received an Academy Award as best actress for her performance in this film.) Joe seems grateful for her contributions to his self-improvement but really has no long-term interest in her. He remains obsessed with reaching "the top" with wife Susan at his side, possessing great wealth, power, and prestige.
And then he learns from Susan that....
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This is one of the four great films of its period, illustrating the social and cultural conditions of the time. The others are : "A KInd of Loving"; "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"; and "This Sporting Life".

Others of the same genre are : "Up the Junction" and "A Taste of Honey".

If you don't know these clasics, you have missed an experience - indeed, an education.
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One of Laurence Harvey's best performances equally matched by Simone Signoret as his tragic lover Alice. The film was given an "18" rating when it was first released due the bedroom scenes, however, considering the material we are now shown on television, time has made this film seem very tame.
This film is a fine example of the British "kitchen sink" dramas so popular in the late 1950's. Joe Lampton arrives in Warnley to work in the accounts dept. for the local council. From the word "Go" he is resentful of anyone who has more money/status than he has and sets out in ruthless fashion to use anyone or anything to achieve his goal, which in this case is the daughter of the local industrial tycoon.
Enjoy!!
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Format: DVD
I have seen this film many times over the years and to this day remains one of my favourites dating from the 1950s.

It was an important film made at the time since adult films as a rule in those days did not explore human relationships in any great depth. Room At The Top however, changed all that.

Based on a best selling novel by John Braine who also wrote "The Jealous God" the story centres around an ambitious social climber Joe Lambton who has moved to a northern town in order to fulfil his ambitions and to get on in life and be a success.

After securing a post in Local Government, he joins a local drama group and meets Alice Aisgill an unhappily married woman played by the lovely Simone Signoret (who oozes sex appeal throughout and dominates all her scenes). Seeking more from life however, he then meets Susan Brown (Heather Sears) drifts into a relationship with her, and at the same time continues with his relationship with Alice. Being ambitious however, he knows perfectly well that marrying the bosses' daughter will enhance his own personal standing and secure his future.

Although the film may seem rather dated today, and the sex scenes extremely tame, (they were tastefully done for the time) strong performances from the lead actors have made this film the classic it is.

Older viewers will recognise many of the locations where the film was shot, the railway station at Halifax, and the main street in Bradford where Joe Lampton gets off a bus when he sees Susan Brown in a shop.

It does remain to this day one of the finest films made in Britain.

Now perhaps, we can have a re-release of the sequel Life At The Top which starred Jean Simmons who has died recently as a tribute to her.
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Laurence Harvey plays womaniser Joe Lampton, with big ambitions, who moves up north for a new job. He soon wants things that are out of bounds, in the shape of Alice Aisgill, played by Simone Signoret, who is already married, and much older than he is, and Susan Brown, played by Heather Sears, who is much younger, and the daughter of a top industrialist in the town. It's not long before he starts dating Alice, who is unhappily married at best. But the challenge to gain Susan is still there and he can't abandon it. Soon lust, passion and greed take over, and it's not long before he is dating both women. But he must choose one of them. It soon becomes apparant that he is really in love with Alice, but after Susan becomes pregnant, he marries her.
This is a brilliant British New Wave (kitchen sink) film from the late fifties which is 5 stars, but only gets 2 because of the transfer.
Network are marketing this film as a Special Edition, and a brand new transfer from the original 35mm film elements. The special features are a commentry, and an image gallery and Jack Clayton's press cuttings. Hardly a special edition.
The transfer is appalling. It has scratches throughout the print, some heavy, the soundtrack is also appalling. It has at least one splice in the print, the image is too contrasty, and there is minor dropout, which means it could be from a tape transfer. A nice touch is the inclusion of the original censor's certificate which is X. But this also means that the print used, was probably a release print. There is no way that this is a transfer from a brand new print, which is what Network are implying.
The film is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Which is why it gets 2 stars.
But at the moment it is still the only version available and if you can put up with the transfer, which is dire, this film deserves to be in any collection where there is an interest for British New Wave.
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