IMDb > "Thriller" Someone at the Top of the Stairs (1973)

"Thriller" Someone at the Top of the Stairs (1973)

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Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   113 votes »
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Writer:
Brian Clemens (writer)
Contact:
View company contact information for Someone at the Top of the Stairs on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
28 April 1973 (Season 1, Episode 3)
Genre:
Plot:
A young woman and her friend rent a room in an old dark mansion. Soon they become aware of the fact that the other "renters" are a very strange lot... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Video Tape Sucks! See more (9 total) »

Cast

 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

Donna Mills ... Chrissie

Judy Carne ... Gillian
David de Keyser ... Cartney
Francis Wallis ... Gary
Alethea Charlton ... Mrs. Oxhey
Brian McGrath ... Elgar
Peter Cellier ... Col. Wright
Clifford Parrish ... Thurston
Scott Forbes ... Mr. Patrick
Rhoda Lewis ... Emma Patrick
Alan Roberto ... Jonathan
Laura Collins ... Sally
Charles Hill ... Policeman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Corbet ... Chauffeur

Episode Crew
Directed by
John Sichel (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Brian Clemens (writer)

Produced by
Cecil Clarke .... executive producer
John Sichel .... producer
 
Original Music by
Laurie Johnson 
 
Film Editing by
Moyra Bird 
 
Production Design by
Anthony Waller (designer) (as Tony Waller)
 
Costume Design by
Dawn Evans 
 
Makeup Department
Sheila Mann .... makeup artist
 
Art Department
Terry Royce .... stand-by props
 
Sound Department
Bob Woodhouse .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Tony Mander .... camera operator
Mike Whitcutt .... camera operator
 
Other crew
Ron Brown .... administrator
Joan Reader .... production assistant
Jeremy van Bunnens .... floor manager
 

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Brian Clemens  created by

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Runtime:
70 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Quotes:
Chrissie:Marvelous!
Gillian:What?
Chrissie:Marvelous. That is the single most used adjective people use in this house. 'We're going to have a marvelous time here', 'We'll find the room marvelous'.
See more »

FAQ

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Video Tape Sucks!, 23 February 2015
Author: jadedalex from United States

I must be a snob. I certainly admired the work Brian Clemens did on 'The Avengers', and I was impressed with the intelligence of this episode's script, but I found the use of video tape to be cheesy...not to mention jarring when inter-cut with actual filmed sequences.

I must confess, I have recently viewed much of the old black and white 'Thriller' anthology series hosted by Boris Karloff, and I was truly impressed with the fine black and white photography used on this television series. Clemens' own series, 'The Avengers', used film throughout, and the black and white episodes are fine. Although I'm certainly glad that eventually they switched to cover film to photograph the exquisite Diana Rigg.

But film has a language all of its own, and black and white film can almost be poetry. Lighting and moods are beautifully accomplished on film, but what can you possibly infer with video tape?

As far as the episode itself, I found both Donna Mills and Judy Carne not only in their prime, but capable actresses. The story vaguely hints at the wonderful 'The Innocents', the psychological sixties' horror film starring Deborah Kerr. That movie is brilliant, and so much of it has to do with the language of black and white film.

I know that video tape became the medium of many television shows during the seventies. But in a thriller, such as this story, it only detracts from the suspense. You would think video tape would make everything seem more 'real', and perhaps that is part of the problem.

Black and white film looks 'real', which is a contradiction in itself, since we do not see things in black and white. But video tape almost negates any 'mood' a director is trying to create.

And I often think of another contradiction. Sir Alfred Hitchcock, a superb painter of black and white, often nudges his audiences in the shoulder and reminds them that they are watching a movie. His films are full of obvious toy miniatures, his shots at times look surreal. Detective Arbogast (Martin Balsam in 'Psycho') floats down the stairs in what looks to me a very contrived fall, at least to my eyes. But it is a perfect instance of Hitchcock reminding you that you are watching a movie.

With video tape, I'm always aware someone is making a 'film'. Maybe I've spent too much time behind a video camera, but I still maintain the medium has no 'language'.

I suspect it is an awful lot cheaper to opt for video tape over film. And video tape has its uses. Many people have mixed opinions about 'The Blair Witch Project'. I suspect many viewers were anticipating a blood and gore fest.

But for me, 'The Blair Witch Project' worked BECAUSE it looked like what it pretended to be...a slipshod video tape recording of teenagers exploring a mysterious wooded area. Granted, this was a one gimmick movie, but it was a gimmick wonderfully realized.

I'm sure there are many viewers and fans of Clemen's 'Thriller' series that do not even give the video taped aspect a thought. They are no doubt younger than me. They might be people who have never sat through a black and white film! Sorry if I bored that audience....

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