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 ...
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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
The original Broadway production of "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" by William Inge opened at the Music Box Theater in New York City on December 5, 1957, ran for four hundred sixty-eight performances and was nominated for the 1958 Tony Award for the Best Play. Frank Overton re-created his stage role as Morris Lacey in this movie. See more »
Robert Preston will be forever remembered as "The Music Man"-and well he should be. However, he gave many other fine performances, and one of the best was as Rubin Flood in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.Dwight McDonald once wrote an essay mocking "Ingeland and Kazanistan", and he may have had a point. At the same time, the series of films based on William Inges plays includes some of the best dramas of the fifties and early sixties..still, perhaps the most underrated period of Amnerican film.This film is not just an example of sentimental "americana". Though set in the past, it is not an exercise in simplistic nostalgia. Instead it reveals the sexual repression, Anti-Semitism,and snobbery which poisoned American life in the early part of this century.However, it does not simply look at the past from a standpoint of smug superiority. Instead, it suggests the dignity and inner strength of these people, as they struggled with economic and moral uncertainty.It has a superficially "happy' ending', yet it is still a sad and troubling portrait of the fragility of quotidian existence.
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