7.4/10
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The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960)

Approved | | Drama | 8 October 1960 (USA)
In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Ruben Flood loses his job as a traveling salesman, when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora is frigid because of trying to ... See full summary »

Director:

Delbert Mann

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 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
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Storyline

In Oklahoma in the 1920s, Ruben Flood loses his job as a traveling salesman, when the company goes bankrupt. This adds to his worries at home. His wife Cora is frigid because of trying to make ends meet. His teenage daughter Reenie is afraid of going out on dates, but eventually makes friends with a troubled Jewish boy Sammy, 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. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Stirred with uncertainty...trembling with desire! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "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 468 performances and was nominated for the 1958 Tony Award for the Best Play. Frank Overton recreated his stage role as Morris Lacey in the movie version. See more »

Quotes

Rubin Flood: [To Lottie after he overhears her prejudice comments towards Catholics] Hogwash! Malarky! Horse manure! Woman you oughta get yourself a broom and ride over the housetops! You oughta buy yourself a sheet and poke two holes in it and go around setting fires! Or better still, get yourself a big piece of tape and put it over your mouth because you're too ignorant to live! Lottie sometimes I'm ashamed to be related to you even by marriage!
See more »

Connections

References The Sheik (1921) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
This one stayed with me
29 July 2006 | by ekruperSee all my reviews

I saw this film at the age of 19 or 20 and it colored my days for some time afterward. The subject matter was heavy for me, as it probably was for most young women living in small towns in the 1950s. Most of us were anything but sophisticated and mature in our late teens.

The plot examined those sensitive subjects we were old enough to be aware of and wondering about, but too repressed or timid to discuss with our parents. And my girl friends were little help, as their experience, or lack thereof, was much the same as mine.

Preston was great, and I'll never forget Dorothy McGuire, Shirley Knight or Eve Arden for their roles in this fine film. When seeing this movie, I was closest in age to Shirley's character and completely sympathized with her. Had I been going through the heavy stuff she and her family were dealing with, I would likely have been affected in much the same way.

What a shame this is not available on video or DVD. It's a film of real substance---far better than much of what passes for good viewing these days.


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