17 user 4 critic

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960)

Approved | | Drama | 8 October 1960 (USA)
In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Rubin Flood (Robert Preston) loses his job as a travelling salesman when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora (Dorothy ... See full summary »


Delbert Mann


Harriet Frank Jr. (screenplay), Irving Ravetch (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Robert Preston ... Rubin Flood
Dorothy McGuire ... Cora Flood
Eve Arden ... Lottie Lacey
Angela Lansbury ... Mavis Pruitt
Shirley Knight ... Reenie Flood
Lee Kinsolving ... Sammy Golden
Frank Overton ... Morris Lacey
Robert Eyer Robert Eyer ... Sonny Flood
Penney Parker Penney Parker ... Flirt Conroy (as Penny Parker)
Ken Lynch ... Harry Ralston


In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Rubin Flood (Robert Preston) loses his job as a travelling salesman when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora (Dorothy McGuire) is frigid because of trying to make ends meet. His teenage daughter Reenie (Shirley Knight) is afraid of going out on dates, but eventually makes friends with a troubled Jewish boy Sammy Golden (Lee Kinsolving), 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 (Dame Angela Lansbury). Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The great Broadway play now on the screen! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When asked which one of her movies stands out to her, Dame Angela Lansbury cited this movie, saying, "That's one I felt we did a good job with, one that didn't get the attention it deserved." See more »


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 got in ...
See more »


Referenced in Fame (1980) See more »


The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs
Composed by Max Steiner
Performed by Chet Atkins with Bob Thompson And His Strings
See more »

User Reviews

no words can truly say how good Angela Lansbury is as Mavis
19 February 2000 | by lew-11See all my reviews

Angela tends to play baddies - and she is good at it. In the Manchurian Candidate she was a black widow spider and praying mantis combined - with lipstick. In this movie, she is young and plump and wholesome and pretty - and in one scene with Robert Preston where they share a single kiss, she is more desirable than all the millions of boobs on the Internet.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

8 October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La oscuridad al final de la escalera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed