7.6/10
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36 user 15 critic

Up the Down Staircase (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 4 August 1967 (Finland)
The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writers:

Bel Kaufman (novel), Tad Mosel (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandy Dennis ... Sylvia Barrett
Patrick Bedford Patrick Bedford ... Paul Barringer
Eileen Heckart ... Henrietta Pastorfield
Ruth White ... Beatrice Schacter
Jean Stapleton ... Sadie Finch
Sorrell Booke ... Dr. Bester
Roy Poole ... Mr. McHabe
Florence Stanley ... Ella Friedenberg
Vinnette Carroll Vinnette Carroll ... The Mother
Janice Mars Janice Mars ... Miss Gordon
Loretta Leversee Loretta Leversee ... Social Studies Teacher
John Callahan John Callahan
Denis Fay Denis Fay
Otto Lomax Otto Lomax
Martha Greenhouse 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 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:

Simple words that start a war: "Good morning. My name is Miss Barrett. I am your Home Room teacher..." See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1967 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Park Place Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this film was shot before the release of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Sandy Dennis was cast in this, her first starring role, based in large part on industry word-of-mouth about her performance in that film - a performance that would win Dennis a Best Supporting Actress Oscar before Up the Down Staircase was released. See more »

Goofs

During the opening montage establishing the first day of school in September in a New York high school, several shots were obviously filmed in dead of winter with extras in heavy coats, gray skies, etc. contrasting wildly with scenes of sunny skies and lightweight costumes of main characters. See more »

Quotes

[Lou Martin gives an oral book report]
Lou Martin: My book is...
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar] The book you read.
Lou Martin: Yeah. The title is called "MacBeth," by Shakespeare.
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar, again] The title 'is.'
Lou Martin: [Finishing her sentence] "... MacBeth."
Sylvia Barrett: Isn't "MacBeth" required reading for last english term?
Lou Martin: I ain't never read it before.
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar, again] I' ve never read it.
Lou Martin: Me neither.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Replacements: Hollywoodn't (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Drama
15 January 2003 | by someinfoSee all my reviews

Reminds me of the wonderful movie "To Sir, with Love" starring Sidney Poitier, which came out one year earlier in 1966. Both have an academic setting and emphasize reaching difficult young adults through intellect and respect. The direction and the script on this one is somewhat darker, and scenes are allowed to build up suspense with realistic danger that comes very close to the edge. The film explores the spectrum of student characters and the delicate balance a teacher has with both students and faculty. A very hard to find film, I've seen it only once just after midnight and commercial free on a highly rated classic movie channel, Turner Classic Movies. I highly recommend at least one viewing of this great drama.


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