7.4/10
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14 user 3 critic

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960)

Approved | | Drama | 8 October 1960 (USA)
In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Ruben Flood loses his job as a traveling salesman, when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora is frigid because of trying to ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Rubin Flood
...
Cora Flood
...
Lottie Lacey
...
Mavis Pruitt
...
Reenie Flood
Lee Kinsolving ...
Sammy Golden
...
Morris Lacey
Robert Eyer ...
Sonny Flood
Penney Parker ...
Flirt Conroy (as Penny Parker)
...
Harry Ralston
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Storyline

In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Ruben Flood loses his job as a traveling salesman, when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora is frigid because of trying to make ends meet. His teenage daughter Reenie is afraid of going out on dates, but eventually makes friends with a troubled Jewish boy Sammy, and his son is a mama's boy. He finally storms out of the house when Cora falsely accuses him of having an affair with Mavis Pruitt. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everytime a woman turns her face away because she's tired or unwilling - there's someone waiting like me! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La oscuridad al final de la escalera  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Dark at the Top of the Stairs" by William Inge opened at the Music Box Theater in New York City on December 5, 1957, ran for 468 performances and was nominated for the 1958 Tony Award for the Best Play. Frank Overton recreated his stage role as Morris Lacey in the movie version. See more »

Quotes

Executive: We sell new machinery. What do you know about drilling equipment for oil fields?
Rubin Flood: Not a thing.
Executive: Then why should we hire you?
Rubin Flood: You chew tobacco, mister?
Executive: I beg your pardon!
Rubin Flood: You talk crops and weather? You know who's had a baby lately? You know who goes to church and who don't? Who likes corn liquor and who likes store liquor? Who's a Republican, who's a Democrat?
Executive: Our methods are a little more modern than that.
Rubin Flood: Well, I'm telling you that the people out here are farmers, no matter how much oil they ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Angela Lansbury: A Balancing Act (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poignant, well acted , low-key film
31 March 2000 | by (warren michigan) – See all my reviews

Robert Preston will be forever remembered as "The Music Man"-and well he should be. However, he gave many other fine performances, and one of the best was as Rubin Flood in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.Dwight McDonald once wrote an essay mocking "Ingeland and Kazanistan", and he may have had a point. At the same time, the series of films based on William Inges plays includes some of the best dramas of the fifties and early sixties..still, perhaps the most underrated period of Amnerican film.This film is not just an example of sentimental "americana". Though set in the past, it is not an exercise in simplistic nostalgia. Instead it reveals the sexual repression, Anti-Semitism,and snobbery which poisoned American life in the early part of this century.However, it does not simply look at the past from a standpoint of smug superiority. Instead, it suggests the dignity and inner strength of these people, as they struggled with economic and moral uncertainty.It has a superficially "happy' ending', yet it is still a sad and troubling portrait of the fragility of quotidian existence.


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