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Room at the Top 1959
Description: In late 1940s Yorkshire, England, ambitious young boy Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey), who has just moved from the dreary factory city of Dufton, arrives in Warnley, to assume a secure, but poorly-paid, post in the Borough Treasurer's Department. Determined to succeed, and ignoring the warnings of a colleague, Soames (Donald Houston), he is drawn to Susan Brown (Heather Sears), daughter of the local industrial magnate, Mr. Brown (Donald Wolfit). He deals with Joe's social climbing by sending Susan abroad; Joe turns for solace to Alice Aisgill (Simone Signoret), an unhappily married older girl who falls in love with him.
Released: 22 Jan 1959 Director: Jack Clayton Writers: Neil Paterson (screenplay), John Braine (adapted from the novel by) Actors: Simone Signoret, Laurence Harvey, Heather Sears, Donald Wolfit Genres: Drama, Romance
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Room at the Top Reviews:

Loneliness and longing in this extraordinary, ageless masterpiece. The movie is dominated by the phenomenal Simone Signoret and I got dizzy looking at her beautifully complicated face. Laurence Harvey's petulance works wonders here and Jack Clayton, the director, orchestrates a soap opera for the thinking man. Everythings rings real even the most wonderful details. The older girl syndrome is so masterfully captured here that, at times, you wish to look away because the truth in Signoret's eyes is piercing as she sexily smokes her cigarette blowing the smoke right at us. I'm just rambling I know, my intention is to wet your appetite. Other additional premium is the magnificent performance by Hermione Baddely, renamed by Noel Coward as Miss Gooddely. A total must!


This movie hasn't lost any of its bitter bite since it debuted in 1959. Laurence Harvey plays an ambitious young boy who leaves a squalid industrial city somewhere in England for a nice job in a nicer city. He instantly makes mates in the office and joins an amateur theater group when he learns that a cute rich woman (Heather Sears) is a member. He also meets an older French girl (Simone Signoret) who is also a member.He begins an affair with the older girl while he blatantly pursues the rich girl, much to the dismay of her parents. Her father is a coarse but self-made man; the mother is a snooty society woman. The woman has a sort of boyfriend who constantly uses his wealthy upbringing and schooling to place Harvey "in his place." Even in post-World Fight II England, the "class system" is very evident. Harvey's attempts at being upwardly android are constantly shot down.The woman is sent to France in an attempt to receive her away from Harvey, and he falls into a torrid affair with Signoret. But he cannot receive the woman (and her money) out of his head. Months go by before he runs into the woman and renews his pursuit. Of course she gets pregnant and the family relents, rushing her into marriage, an act that has bitter and surprising consequences for all involved.Signoret won the best-actress Oscar (and just about each acting award that year) for her work here and she is magnificent. She is worldly and sad yet is not about to agree her fate. Harvey (Oscar nominated) gives his greatest performance as the blatant social climber. His "angry young man" is at once despicable and sympathetic. Sears scores as the naïve young girl who tries to balance her life and her parents' wishes.Hermione Baddeley (also Oscar nominated) has a nice stage toward the end of the film. She plays Signoret's friend, the one who enables their affair by lending them her apartment. Donald Wolfit is perfect as the girl's father. Ambrosine Phillpotts is nice as the mother. Donald Houston, Raymond Huntley, Wilfrid Lawson, Beatrice Varley, and April Olrich are all nice in smaller roles.


This is a magnificent movie. The plot is reminiscent of "An American Tragedy." But it takes zone in England, and the character is very much an Mad Young Man. Nevertheless, it is so beautifully written and directed it feels as new and fresh as if the such problems had never before been touched in movies.Laurence Harvey, whom I'm generally not crazy about, is magnificent as the lower-class guy determined to create it big. He sets his sights on the boss's daughter, appealingly played by Heather Sears. But something happens to sidetrack him. And that something -- Simone Signoret -- is the main reason to see and to cherish "Room At The Top." She is very believable as the slightly shady older girl with whom he has a romance. And her eyes! Her eyes, suggesting wisdom and nice depths of sadness, will break you heart. It seems like a easy performance and it is uncluttered, stark. But it is flawless. I can think of almost no another performance by a girl in an English-language film that compares to Signoret's.



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