Charles Dyer (Sir Rex Harrison) and Harry Leeds (Richard Burton) are a couple that have been living together for nearly twenty years. Both earn a living as hairdressers in the West End of ...
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David Hyde Pierce,
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Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.
Charles Dyer (Sir Rex Harrison) and Harry Leeds (Richard Burton) are a couple that have been living together for nearly twenty years. Both earn a living as hairdressers in the West End of London and both care deeply for their mothers, but not each other as time apart takes its toll on their relationship when Harry has to care for his invalid mother who snips at him every chance she gets.
A critical and financial disaster at the box-office for Twentieth Century Fox. According to studio records, ten million six hundred seventy-five thousand dollars in rentals was required to just break even, but only about one-fifth of that amount was realized. See more »
Playful, occasionally moving, often funny comedy about a gay hairstylist and his lover/business partner living in London, an aging couple going on 30 years together who each jab at the others' ego like two bitchy woodpeckers--but who consistently lean on each other (and feed off each other) like two halves of the same person. Richard Burton and Rex Harrison were reportedly unhappy making this film, but they do manage to get a rhythm going that is rather infectious. Charles Dyer adapted his own "intimate" British play--and was probably reeling once his quaint, humble material got blown up on the big screen with major stars--yet his theatrical and literary pretensions are worked out charmingly, and some of his lines get big laughs. There are times when Burton seems more apt to go the distance personally with his character than Harrison is; then, in the very next scene, they flip and it's Harrison who takes off. The "plot" doesn't amount to much (Harrison's Charlie must attend court after being caught in lascivious garb at the same moment his estranged daughter is planning a visit), but to director Stanley Donen's credit the focus of the piece seldom wavers--we never even meet the daughter, which in this case is a blessing. The gay text is not handled madly or foolishly; Donen pairs the scenes down to quick, efficient little episodes, and this keeps the pacing brisk and gives the lead performances a nice edge (we never tire of them). Much ballyhoo was made over two heterosexual stars "camping it up" on screen, but I saw very little swishing. Dyer gets a few dramatic moments perfectly right, and he's written some good lines (such as when Harrison tells Burton, "I need someone new now and then"). The finer sequences are not trampled on by Donen, nor by his editor. "Staircase" is pithy and beguiling and should resonate with audiences who don't mind a tentative mix of sassy humor, self-pity, impatient wisecracks, and a tearing down of vanity. **1/2 from ****
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