Staircase (1969) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • Harry (Richard Burton) and Charlie (Sir Rex Harrison) have been together as a couple for twenty years. Despite the fact that they love each other, their relationship is characterized by each hurling verbal barbs at the other, often as an attempt to hurt the other in each needing more and continual emotional support from their partner. They live above Chez Harry, Harry's barber shop that they co-manage in London's East End, with Harry's aged bedridden invalid mother (Cathleen Nesbitt), who is prone to hysterics. Ironic as to his occupation, Harry suffers from alopecia, and rather than wear a toupée that he does own but has never worn, he prefers to wrap his head in a bandage in an effort to ignore his medical situation in his embarrassment. Charlie is an actor, "former" an adjective which may largely apply, he living off the legacy of a single television commercial, his most famous acting job, which still does air. He also once performed drag. Being a performer, Charlie has an ego typical of the profession. Conversely, Charlie accuses Harry of wanting to see him fail so that Charlie will be more dependent on him. Their already fractious relationship will be placed to even more of a test with two imminent events: the visit by Cassie, Charlie's biological daughter, who he has not seen since she was born twenty years ago and who he does not know if she knows about his sexual orientation; and Charlie being called to court on a charge of lewd public behavior.



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