Up the Down Staircase

Up the Down Staircase

Director: Robert Mulligan Cast: Sandy Dennis, Patrick Bedford, Eileen Heckart

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Overview

A serious social drama film of the type that flourished in the 1960's, Up the Down Staircase seems somewhat dated and preachy when viewed by modern audiences. The subject matter is laudable, of course: an ambitious, spirited and concerned young teacher determined to make a difference in a troubled inner city school. And there are quite a few memorable moments, including a very well-directed juxtaposition of Sylvia Barrett triumphing by getting her class excited about A Tale of Two Cities as the lovelorn and dejected Alice Blake quietly and calmly examines the classroom of the teacher she loves before jumping from a window. Director Robert Mulligan also provides appropriate tension to a scene in which another troubled student forcefully comes on to the young teacher, and throughout he does a commendable job of using a hand held camera and a very busy, overlapping soundtrack to convey the tumult, confusion and chaos of the high school. He is less successful in overcoming the script's tendency to excessive earnestness and dialogue that often sacrifices subtlety and nuance to make its points. The film also suffers from a bit of hollowness at its core. Some of this is due to Sandy Dennis's performance - her peculiar brand of acting, while effective in conveying much about the character, also tends to isolate her from the other cast members. However, the decision to present the character solely in terms of the school and its immediate environs and never in her home life also contributes to the hollowness. The supporting cast is marvelous, with a mixture of seasoned pros and novices, although one wishes Eileen Heckart had been given more to do. Despite its flaws, Staircase remains involving.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/28/2016
UPC: 0888574409821
Original Release: 1967
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Time: 2:04:00
Sales rank: 2,992

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sandy Dennis Sylvia Barrett
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
Jeff Howard Joe Ferone
Ellen O'Mara Alice Blake
John Fantauzzi Ed Williams
Loretta Leversee Social Studies Teacher
Robert Levine Mr. Osborne
Elena Karam Nurse Eagen
Frances Sternhagen Charlotte Wolf
José Rodriguez José
Vinnette Carrol The Mother

Technical Credits
Robert Mulligan Director
Folmar Blangsted Editor
Irving Buchman Makeup
Joseph Coffey Cinematographer
George Jenkins Art Director
Fred Karlin Score Composer
Tad Mosel Screenwriter
Alan J. Pakula Producer
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Up the Down Staircase
1. Credits. [2:41]
2. Up The Down Starcase. [4:12]
3. Room 322. [3:17]
4. Disregarding Instructions. [5:07]
5. Joe Ferene. [3:20]
6. Mashed Potatoes At 10:17A.M. [2:44]
7. Assembly. [2:52]
8. Faculty Meeting. [3:26]
9. Why We Read. [5:20]
10. No Time For Teaching. [3:24]
11. Failure To Fill Out Forms. [2:05]
12. Menace, Marriage And Macbeth. [4:50]
13. Tea And Little Sympathy. [1:31]
14. PRCs, PPPs And CCs. [5:07]
15. Hand Off My Potential. [4:45]
16. Suggestion Box. [4:21]
17. 18 To 6. [2:14]
18. Boogalooing. [2:50]
19. A Dance For Alice. [4:00]
20. Proofreading A Love Letter. [1:53]
21. Best/Worst Of Times. [3:27]
22. Jumped Or Fell. [5:32]
23. No Comment. [4:22]
24. Eddie Drops Out. [2:42]
25. Barringer Drops Out. [3:25]
26. Examinations. [3:55]
27. Open House. [5:26]
28. Alone Now. [4:49]
29. Resignation. [4:55]
30. Green Lawns And High Tuition. [2:11]
31. Judge José. [3:06]
32. Hi, Teach. Hi, Pupe. [5:03]
33. Cast List. [3:10]

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Up the Down Staircase 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie! I was knocked out by director Pakula's interpretation of the book. He (and Tad Mosel, the screenwriter) fleshed it out considerably and added dimension and depth to the characters without once bypassing any of the book's tone and purpose. There is much to be lauded about this movie. First, of course, is Sandy Dennis's flawless portrayal of Sylvia Barrett. Dennis imparted considerable pathos and emotion to the young, idealistic teacher. The other parts were perfectly cast, right down to Jose Rodriguez (which is his name in the book, his name in the movie, and his real name, to boot!). There is no sex, no bad language, no nudity-- nothing that current films are so rife with. This was back when movie makers had to rely on their imagination, education, and sensitivity to put together an excellent movie. Not like today, where things tawdry and gruesome and depressing are featured and sensibility is empty and meaningless. See this movie-- you won't be disappointed.