HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Last Holiday
Zombieland: Double Tap
Mind Benders, The
Mighty Wind, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
   
 
  Life at the Top The World Is Not Enough
Year: 1965
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Laurence Harvey, Jean Simmons, Honor Blackman, Michael Craig, Donald Wolfit, Robert Morley, Margaret Johnston, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Alan Cuthbertson, Paul A. Martin, Frances Cosslett, Ian Shand, George A. Cooper, Nigel Davenport, Andrew Laurence
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) finally has everything he ever wanted: the high-paying job at one of the biggest companies in this Northern English city, married to the boss's daughter, two kids he is proud of, all his dreams have come true. But it's not enough. One raw, cold morning, he invites the paperboy in for a cup of tea and notes how his son looks down on the lad, who after all is starting from a position in life Joe himself had to suffer through to get where he is today. Has he sold out? Or should he be casting his net further to see if even this set of circumstances can be improved? And that could mean going it alone, without the business or his wife Susan (Jean Simmons) to support him...

Room at the Top was such a bombshell in the British culture, in print and on screen, as it ushered in the Angry Young Men, the kitchen sink genre, and eventually the Swinging Sixties as it stood. So influential was it in this tale of a young Northerner who seeks to better himself socially and in employment that its writer John Braine found himself stuck in a dilemma as a follow-up was expected. He duly wrote one - Life at the Top - about the further adventures of Lampton, but he must have been aware in the back of his mind that this character was what he was going to be best known for, it was his legacy to literature and cinema. The odd thing was, he didn't even like Harvey in the role.

Being a tough Yorkshire writer of the sort lampooned in a famous Monty Python sketch of a few years after this, he was not too keen on Harvey's offscreen lifestyle, which included affairs with both sexes and his notoriously hard to get on with personality, yet for the public, Harvey was Lampton after they made Room at the Top one of the big earners at the box office in 1959, so of course he was invited back to reprise the part. Maybe a different star would have made this come across fresher, as long stretches of Life at the Top would have you comparing them to similar scenes in its predecessor, for while Joe has moved up in the world, his concerns and foibles remained more or less the same.

That assists in the character's consistency, in a leopard can't change his spots way, or a faithfulness to what had made Room such a hit, but you couldn't get away from the fact it was running over some very familiar ground, not least because many imitators had sprung up in the intervening years, quite often on television more than the silver screen. Therefore this entry would have to do something spectacular to supersede the memories of the original, and it really didn't, sticking to the maxim that if you're making a sequel, make it as close to the first one as possible otherwise you'll simply annoy the audience. But surely that was no bad thing when Harvey was returning to his signature role? Wasn't this worth a revival? Yet the general reaction at the time was this was the same old, same old.

Nevertheless, there were variations. Here Lampton gets to find out what it is like to be cheated on romantically when Susan has an affair with his best friend and co-worker Mark (Michael Craig); when Joe discovers this, practically walking in on them in flagrante delicto, it crushes him, despite him already making moves on posh TV presenter and activist Norah (Honor Blackman, fresh from Goldfinger). She offers a way out - down South - that he takes, but this sets him even further adrift and involves a lot of soul-searching (basically moping about in a dressing gown and eating cold baked beans). Donald Wolfit was as entertaining as before as the boss, and there were plenty of nice character bits for everyone in the cast as Lampton tries politics (guess what, his heart isn't in it) and tackles the class divide not by bridging it as he in in a position to do, but by being embarrassed by it. Funnily enough, one memorable sequence had a business meeting in a strip club, where the performer goes by the name "Stormy Trooper" and goosesteps in a state of undress. Alas, more memorable than a lot of this. Music by Richard Addinsell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 279 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: