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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 1,007 users  
Reviews: 29 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

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:

19 July 1967 (USA)  »

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

Benjamin Franklin High School on Pleasant Avenue and 116th Street is now the Center for Mathematics and Science. The building is seen on the cover of the DVD with Sandy Dennis in foreground. 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: The theme of MacBeth is that too much ambition can lead to ruthless ambition, and end up in disaster. That's what words are for - to be used. Who can tell me what "ruthless" means? Joe?
[Gets no response, decides to ask... ]
Sylvia Barrett: Eddie?
Eddie Williams: Steps all over.
Sylvia Barrett: Use it in a sentence.
Eddie Williams: Steps all over, like white people. I know because I'm colored.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Acid Eaters (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Better than the book!
30 October 2000 | by (cincinnati, ohio) – See all my reviews

It's a rare thing to watch a movie that's actually superior to the original novel, but Robert Mulligan's 1967 film of Bel Kaufman's contemporary classic UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE is one of those rare instances. Make no mistake, Kaufman's novel is still wonderful, but Mulligan's film, amazingly, manages to capture all of the qualities that made Kaufman's book such a compulsive read, and another strength is in the casting of the film itself. Everyone seems perfectly suited to his/her role. Sandy Dennis, one of the '60's most original and exciting performers, was the ideal choice to play the flighty heroine Miss Sylvia Barrett, the naive, but determined young New York City schoolteacher who finds herself constantly at odds with not only her pupils, but the faculty members as well. I have always had a great admiration for Sandy Dennis' work, but this is the movie that made me a genuine fan. She's absolutely breathtaking to watch. She has this stunning, captivating, and truly unique beauty, and most importantly, she is one of the most extraordinarily gifted actresses to grace the Hollywood screen. In fact, I would say that she was THE most talented actress of the late '60's, early '70's era without peer or rival. Her Oscar-winning supporting role in the previous year's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? was indeed a magnificent triumph, but UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE was the film that proved she was even more capable at handling a leading role and I think, ultimately, this is the film that made her a star.


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