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Up the Down Staircase (1967)

 -  Drama  -  19 July 1967 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 996 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 13 critic

The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Up the Down Staircase (1967)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patrick Bedford ...
Paul Barringer
...
Henrietta Pastorfield
...
Beatrice Schacter
...
Sadie Finch
...
Dr. Bester
Roy Poole ...
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 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

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Simple words that could start a war. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

19 July 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia  »

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Technical Specs

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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

Joe Ferone: I've just seen your type before, that's all. There's one every year. "Not living up to your potential," they say. Is that what you were going to say, teach? "Just wanna help you, Joe?" "Just wanna be your friend?" Then they get to feeling very sorry for your about your "environmental factors", and your "low socio-economic level". Till you've just have to tell 'em; "Get your nose outta my environmental factors, will ya? Keep your damn hands off my potential"... and then they turn you in.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in South Park: Up the Down Steroid (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A truly fantastic film
10 August 2004 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews

What can I say? I read the book and enjoyed it. I saw the film and absolutely fell in love with it. I loved Sandy Dennis and her unique method of acting-- yes, I know she sometimes stammered, but don't we all in "real life?" I give high marks for Mulligan's directing because the movie had so many wonderful facets: it could be funny, it could be disturbing, and it could be so moving. The penultimate scene with Jose in the auditorium was so touching, so meaningful, and yet so simple. But exceedingly powerful. I found myself relating to Dennis in every way. Her bewilderment at The System, her deep desire to reach her students, her frustration, her idealism, her disappointment. And, when she finally experiences a victory, her sincere gratification. One reviewer called the film "slick." I don't at all agree. It was subtle, meaningful, and true. And the other actors did such a superb job of acting that it all seemed unscripted. There was no sex, nudity, swearing-- none of the things that today's movies are so laden with. I have a theory that these gimmicks are used for shock value, as filler, or to cover up the inadequacies of the film makers. You can tell that those who made this film were classically educated because the movie's foundation was strong and true. There wasn't a wasted line nor a meaningless exchange. Just full, rich film making at its finest!! Make no mistake: a film needn't be an action thriller or sexy to be compelling. I'm disappointed by today's movies because they lack something: heart, soul, meaning-- I'm not sure-- but I liken them to "cinematic junk food." So if you like pure cinema, see this film. (I don't think there's any comparison to "To Sir With Love," by the way. The latter was entertaining, but that was about it.)


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