Thursday, April 23, 2009

Room at the Top (1959) (2nd time)

An ambitious young accountant schemes to wed a wealthy factory owner's daughter, despite falling in love with a married older woman. [imdb]

Nominated for 6 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Jack Clayton
Best Actor: Laurence Harvey
Best Actress: Simone Signoret (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actress: Hermione Baddeley
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)

Lots of interesting facts about this film. And it's fair, as it is an interesting film itself. It's a rough, very British, quite non-Hollywood drama. What you notice the most upon a second viewing is probably the precise, clean, subtle direction. He knew what he was doing and how to get the best out of his actors.
The trivia I was mentioning: at about 2 minutes and 20 seconds on screen, Hermione Baddeley holds the record for the briefest Oscar nominated performance ever. But you can't miss her because it's an important small part; she's like the conscience of the film.
The real leading actor of the film is Laurence Harvey and not Simone Signoret; Room at the Top is about one man's journey and this older woman, lover of his, is just a chapter. His nomination is worthy even though I don't like the character. Also it's good to see Simone Signoret nominated and she gives a strong subtle performance, though I'm not sure she deserved to win. And it must have been a surprising win back then, as Elizabeth Taylor was the favorite for Suddenly, Last Summer.
Though the subject might sound boring, the film is actually quite catchy, so it was pleasant to watch even the second time around. It's a film with a "real" feel to it; and as I've said all the performances are good, solid, dependable and the direction smart, clean and never boring.
My rating for the film: 8/10. Definitely better than Ben-Hur. :D

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