"Room at the Top", Jack Clayton, 1959

Here's the place to talk about DVDs (or VHS) films and movies you have seen on television and recommend or don't recommend. Discuss actors and scores, too.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Belle
Posts: 1926
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

"Room at the Top", Jack Clayton, 1959

Post by Belle » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:11 pm

Yesterday my "Ship of Fools" arrived via Amazon and I watched and enjoyed this Stanley Kramer film. Simone Signoret was fabulous in that film and her scenes with Oskar Werner were the highlight (god, I could listen to his voice forever!). This led me across to "Room at the Top", a film I hadn't seen for decades. It is downloaded in 2 parts on U-Tube, though slightly out of sync. So, a cold winter's afternoon with intermittent rain saw us both housebound on a Signoret-fest!!

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6vbg5p

This really must be one of the top 10 English films of all time. I love that it's in monochrome and its gritty realism is in counterpoint to some cheesy scenes with Mr. Brown - the father of Susan whom Joe uses to climb the social and wealth ladder. Signoret is again perfect as the world-weary femme fatale who has seen it all, done it all. In contrast to Werner in "Ship of Fools", Joe Lampton (Harvey) is cold and self-serving - up until he falls in love with Alice. Thereafter he's more tender and I love the conflicted nature of his performance; he really captures the ambivalence well. The plot is spare, save for context-creating scenes like those when Joe returns home to his roots. The hiatus in the relationship with Joe and Susan lacks some credibility - giving him time to pursue Alice, but somehow Susan is still there, unquestioning!! These are major weaknesses in the film, but I can overlook them because the rest of it is lacking sentimentality and melodrama. The acting carries the entire film, sans the addition of strings and/ or other emotion-evoking diegetic or non-diegetic music.

Actually, thinking again about Oskar Werner; his delivery and style was not dissimilar to another great Viennese actor, Anton Walbrook. The way his words suddenly dropped from strong to soft, almost silent. Like a musical subito piano!! I wonder if Walbrook was a model for Werner? This has just occurred to me. Oh dear; another reason to adore the Viennese!!! Walbrook was a warmer personality than Werner, but the delivery of lines is somewhat similar - and it isn't just the accent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n4CKeHHbU0

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests