Room at the Top

I sat down to watch “Room at the Top,” which had Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret, and Hermione Baddeley in it.  Laurence Harvey received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance, even though some people thought he wasn’t very good in it.  I think I did like watching him much more in “The Manchurian Candidate.”  According to what I have read, people like Kim Novak and Jane Fonda didn’t like him much, while Elizabeth Taylor was one of his friends.  Simone Signoret was a good actress, although I noticed how she didn’t pronounce the word “humble” too well.  I had never heard the term Kitchen Sink Realism before I read about this movie.  Joe Lampton was one of those angry young men in a stifling atmosphere.  Is it a convention in these types of stories that the main character should juggle two women at once?  The turning point that marked the last part of the movie came at the 1:40 mark, and you could predict that there were only about twenty minutes left in the film.  Joe gets to stew in his misery for only so long, otherwise the audience would squirm for a very long time.  Does the hero always get beaten up in this type of movie?  The makeup job above Harvey’s eye was quite terrible. There is a lot of talking in this film.  I don’t quite believe in the fate of Alice, the Simone Signoret character.  I thought Alice was supposed to be the strong one and Joe the coward.  Signoret did win the Oscar for this performance.  The other nominees that year were Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor.  I liked “Room at the Top,” as I thought it was a good film, although I had much the same feeling watching it as I did watching “Sons and Lovers” recently.  There was a sequel called “Life at the Top,” which had Laurence Harvey repeating his role as Joe Lampton, but Jean Simmons as Susan.  Honor Blackman was in the cast.  Bosley Crowther expressed his opinion that the hero was nothing but a cliché when he reaches the top.  The cinematographer of “Room at the Top” was Freddie Francis, known for “Sons and Lovers,” “The Elephant Man,” and “Glory.”  I liked his work.  The director was Jack Clayton, known for “The Innocents,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”  He died in 1995.  Francois Truffaut praised “The Innocents,” and Martin Scorsese said it was one of the scariest movies of all time.  Steven Spielberg reportedly liked “Our Mother’s House,” which is one of those forgotten movies that I never forgot because I never heard of it before.  I’m not too sure that I want to see this one, but maybe I will seek “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.”  Some of the people who died on April 6 include Raphael (1520), Igor Stravinsky (1971), Isaac Asimov (1992), Greer Garson (1996), Wendy O. Williams (1998), Tammy Wynette (1998), Mickey Rooney (2014), and Merle Haggard (2016).  Today is a birthday for Paul Rudd (48), Marliu Henner (65), John Ratzenberger (70), and Billy Dee Williams (80).

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