"Room At The Top" Is Released
Room at the Top is a 1959 British film based on the novel of the same name by John Braine.
The novel was adapted by Neil Paterson with uncredited work by Mordecai Richler. It was directed by Jack Clayton and produced by James Woolf and John Woolf.
The film stars Simone Signoret, Laurence Harvey, Heather Sears, Donald Wolfit, Donald Houston and Hermione Baddeley. In smaller roles were Allan Cuthbertson, Raymond Huntley, John Westbrook, Richard Pasco and Ambrosine Phillpotts. There are also early cameos by Prunella Scales, Wendy Craig, Derek Benfield, Miriam Karlin, Derren Nesbitt and Ian Hendry. Wilfrid Lawson makes an uncredited appearance as Harvey's uncle.
Signoret won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this film, while Baddeley's performance became the shortest ever to be nominated for an acting Oscar (she had 2 minutes and 20 seconds of screen time).
Ruthless young working-class Englishman Laurence Harvey takes a job in a North Country village controlled by millionaire Donald Wolfit. Harvey resents Wolfit's class consciousness and vows to rise to the top by wooing the millionaire's daughter, Heather Sears. Meanwhile he has an affair with Frenchwoman Simone Signoret. Though he regards Signoret as a mere self-gratifying conquest, she takes their romance seriously enough to kill herself when Harvey impregnates Field. Only as he leaves the chapel after marrying the millionaire's daughter does Harvey that his "smart" marriage, coupled with the guarantee of a fabulous business career, has been attained at the cost of his soul. Based on the novel by John Braine, Room at the Top was one of the most successful films of the British angry-young-man school; it later spawned two sequels, as well as a weekly TV series. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide