7.6/10
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Up the Down Staircase (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 4 August 1967 (Finland)
The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patrick Bedford ...
Paul Barringer
...
Henrietta Pastorfield
...
Beatrice Schacter
...
Sadie Finch
...
Dr. Bester
...
Mr. McHabe
...
Ella Friedenberg
Vinnette Carroll ...
The Mother
Janice Mars ...
Miss Gordon
Loretta Leversee ...
Social Studies Teacher
John Callahan
Denis Fay
Otto Lomax
Martha Greenhouse ...
Alberta Kagan
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Storyline

Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The first mistake this pretty young teacher made was to get off the bus. The second was to walk into Calvin Coolidge High School for the first time. The third was to fall in love with it. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 August 1967 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bel Kaufman, in the Preface to the 25th anniversary edition of the book, writes: "The movie was filmed in New York City, in and around Haaren High School, which had been emptied for the summer." See more »

Goofs

When GO President Kagan is talking to Miss Barrett, his tie keeps changing lengths. In the close-ups it is short, just above his belt. In the long shots is appears to be tucked into his belt. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Barrett: If you deny what you know, or what you are, or where you are, you deny the simplest part of being alive, and then you die.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Acid Eaters (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If There Is A Collision, I Want To Be In The Middle!!
11 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you ever stopped to think about it, what is life really about? Making a difference!!! Who likes adversity? On the other hand, adversity makes you aware of the fact that you are alive... For teachers, there are thousands and thousands of students out there who have a subconscious reliance on them!! Students bring on a bevy of inhibitions, fears, and acute human inadequacies which teachers have thrust upon them and become burdened with!! Kids have problems, as do adults, teenage problems are just different from adult problems, nonetheless, we all have problems, problems are what make us human!! Without challenges, we lack a rudimentary purpose!! This is what the movie "Up the Down Staircase" is all about!!

Sandy Dennis plays the brand new teacher who is emotionally barraged by a bunch of reprobates (students) from the Bronx!! Who would want such a job? Evaluating Miss Barrett's aggregate circumstances, back in 1967, teachers made so little money! In compounding this utterly deplorable situation, now descends the grief, the lack of funding for basic materials, the violence, the faculty/student apathy, and the overall administrative despondence!! Such an obstacle course makes the job of teaching in the inner city a living nightmare!!When does all of it end? Why doesn't everyone who is teaching in this inner city rat trap just get the hell out of there, and focus on preserving their sanity!!! Miss Barrett (Sandy Dennis) quickly becomes an advocate of throwing in the towel!! Now strikes the proverbial and humanistic nerve cord which enlightens her, and makes her realize that at some level she has made a difference.. If you can communicate with one student at some time, and be told that you made a difference in their lives, you have been rewarded.. If you are able to conceptualize that a quality in a student is not ordinary because it is extraordinary, then you have attained a metamorphosis in human behavior that sparks a coveted gratification!!!Such a fate affected Sandy Dennis, and such a movie "Up the Down Staircase" articulated the importance of such an accomplishment!!! The director, Robert Mulligan ("To Kill A Mockingbird") is one of the greatest directors in Hollywood!! The movie, "Up the Down Staircase" is very powerful in it's ideological premise!! Sandy Dennis is remarkable in this film, of course, how can she top her performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"? Nevertheless, Sandy Dennis was superb in this movie!! The supporting actors and actresses in the film "Up the Down Staircase" did an excellent job as well!!! I very much endorse the idea of seeing this movie, definitely!!! The underlying realization of necessary challenges has a very intellectual cohesiveness in this film!! A must for educators!!! Without a doubt, one of the better efforts of the cinema!!


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