Room at the Top (1959) (mini-review++)

room(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 8

directing 8

effects 8

editing 8

writing 9


4.1 out of 5 🐙


There is that old Gypsy curse: “may you get what you wish for”. In ‘Room at the Top’, Joe Lampton (a working-class fellow who has moved to a middle-class city to take a middle-class white-collar job and rise out of his social caste – and played with a kind of cold bottled fury by Laurence Henry – who looks like he could be Ewan McGregor’s father) wants to be high class. He wants to marry a high-class woman. He wants to be rich. There is no devil here to give Faust a twisted prize. Is it fate or irony or the noir universe that makes everything go wrong for Joe? Or is it his shallow and vain intentions? Is it a morality tale against classism? Probably. Simone Signoret plays an older woman (Alice, a sultry, world-weary French immigrant) trapped in a loveless marriage and she and Joe fall in love. It’s an awkward love that is doomed but while it seems fake at first, it becomes depressingly real. But Joe doesn’t realize this until it is far too late. They part briefly because Alice reveals that she once posed for a nude painting. I wonder if James Cameron saw this movie and that inspired the nude painting scene in Titanic? And the last shot of him, his eyes welling up with tears, on his marriage to a high-class woman he always wanted, perfectly encapsulates how everything has gone completely wrong.  He got exactly what he wanted; the perfect curse.







(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)


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