February 21, 2017


Life at the Top – 1965 | 117 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Life at the Top

John Braine’s resistible anti-hero Joe Lampton returns in this lacklustre sequel to Room at the Top (1958) for another double-edged demonstration of ‘making it’, this time in the glossier world of London. Canadian duo, director Ted Kotcheff and writer Mordecai Richler, fail to capture the Ďangry young maní spirit of Braineís novel and offer up as slightly curious outsiders’ view swinging London. Laurence Harvey and Donald Wolfit return to reprise their earlier roles, but Jean Simmons steps into Heather Sears part as Lamptonís wife, and perfectly captures the sense of disillusionment with the status quo.

Ruthless social climber Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) has shed his working-class mannerisms for an important position in his father-in-law, Abe Brown (Donald Wolfit), mill business. Joe is also persuaded to enter local politics; he runs as a Conservative and wins a seat on the town council. But Lamptonís working-class conscience rears up when he votes on a canal side development scheme against his partyís wishes. He grows increasingly tired of both his marriage and his father in law, and when he finds wife Susan (Jean Simmons) in bed with his best friend, Mark (Michael Craig), he breaks away from Warnley to live in London with his mistress, Norah Hauxley (Honor Blackman), a TV newscaster. He quickly loses interest both in patronising Norah and her sophisticated friends, and given he is unable to secure employment; he is compelled to return to Yorkshire as a big fish in a small pond.

Production Team

Ted Kotcheff: Director
Oswald Morris: Cinematography
Beatrice Dawson: Costume Design
Derek York: Editing
Joan Smallwood: Makeup Department
George Frost: Makeup Department
Richard Addinsell: Original Music
John Woolf: Producer
James Woolf: Producer
Mordecai Richler: Script
John Braine: Script
Norman Bolland: Sound
Bob Jones: Sound


Honor Blackman: Norah Hauxley
Michael Craig: Mark
Jean Simmons: Susan Lampton
Laurence Harvey: Joe Lampton
Margaret Johnston: Sybil
Robert Morley: Tiffield
Donald Wolfit: Abe Brown
Allan Cuthbertson: George Aisgill
Ambrosine Phillpotts: Mrs. Brown

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