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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Jack Clayton
UK 1959

 

In post-war industrial Yorkshire, climbing Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) aims to woo the boss's daughter as he attempts to reach the top of his profession. But when his working class background hampers his efforts, Joe seeks solace with the unhappily married Alice (Simone Signoret) an affair that will have dire consequences.

A mature treatment of sexuality and class, Jack Clayton's Room at the Top is a landmark of the British New Wave. Winner of two Academy Awards®, including Best Actress for Signoret and Best Adapted Screenplay, this kitchen sink classic is available on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK to mark the films 60th anniversary.

***

An ambitious young man from a poor family, gets a job in a mill town in Northern England. He woos the daughter of the richest man in town, but he also falls in love with a married woman with whom he has an intense affair. The married woman commits suicide and he finds himself married to a woman who loves him but whom he does not love.

***

The English factory town is dreary but Joe Lampton has landed a job with a future. To have something to do at night he joins a theatrical group. His boss's daughter Susan is playing ingenue roles on stage and in real life. She is attracted to Joe and Joe thinks about how much faster he will get ahead if he is the boss's son-in-law. This plan is complicated by his strong desire to be with an older woman who also belongs to the theatrical group. She is French and unhappily married. Joe believes he can get away with seeing both women.

***

Although John Osborne's Look Back in Anger had already opened at the Royal Court Theatre, it was Jack Clayton's adaptation of John Braine's scathing portrait of northern working-class life that turned social realism into headline news. It was one thing for continental films to tackle such taboo topics as pre-marital sex and adultery. But no British film had previously discussed such adult situations in so caustic a vernacular, let alone depicted them with such casual frankness. For viewers reared on Ian Carmichael and Norman Wisdom, Room at the Top was a devastating discovery, made all the more thrillingly immediate by the fact that so much of the action related to their own everyday experience.

Excerpt from EmpireOnline located HERE

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: January 22nd, 1959

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:57:18.000        
Video

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,503,157,195 bytes

Feature: 30,833,854,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Commentaries:
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
BFI

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,503,157,195 bytes

Feature: 30,833,854,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Feature commentary by Neil Sinyard (2009)
• Feature commentary by Dr Josephine Botting (2019)

• The Visit (1959, 34:43): Jack Gold's quietly devastating drama portraying the everyday life of a working-class single woman
• The West Riding in Archive Film: Bradford Town Hall Square (1986, 1:51); Bailey's Royal Buxton Punch and Judy Show in Halifax (1901, 2:41); Tram Ride into Halifax (1902, 3:33); Halifax Day by Day (1910, 2 mins); We of the West Riding (1945, 22:02); This Town (1969, 8:23): everyday Yorkshire life captured across a century of dramatic change
• Original trailer (2:53)
• Image galleries (1:53, 4:44)
**FIRST PRESSING ONLY** Fully illustrated booklet with writing by John Oliver, Kieron McCormack, Michael Brooke and Vic Pratt, and full film credits

DVD


Blu-ray Release Date:
May 20th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: BFI Blu-ray (May 2019): BFI have transferred Jack Clayton's Room at the Top to Blu-ray. The 2-hour feature is housed on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. I only noticed one instance of damage and the HD's layered contrast produces a strong black and white image in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Grain textures are supported and the resulting 1080P image is excellent showing depth and appearing very film-like.

On their Blu-ray, BFI use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is clear and clean with the film exporting few aggressive effects but a pleasing score by Mario Nascimbene (The Vikings, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, The Barefoot Contessa, Barabbas, A Farewell to Arms, Love in the City) which gains benefit from the uncompressed transfer. BFI offer optional English subtitles (see sample below) on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The BFI Blu-ray have included the two, separate, 2009 commentaries - one by Jo Botting and, the other, by Neil Sinyard. They are both exceptional with Dr. Botting giving excellent background information and production details with, soft-spoken, Sinyard exporting specific analysis sync'ed to the film's scenes as they play. There is coverage of the British cultural movement of 'kitchen sink' realism that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960, Jack Clayton, Laurence Harvey and much more. Included is The Visit, Jack Gold's (the director who was also part of the British realist tradition which followed the 'Free Cinema' movement) 35-minute, 1959 quietly devastating drama portraying the everyday life of a working-class single woman. There is some brief footage from The West Riding in Archive Film: Bradford Town Hall Square, Bailey's Royal Buxton Punch and Judy Show in Halifax (1901); a 1902 Tram Ride into Halifax; Halifax Day by Day (1910) plus Ken Annakin's We of the West Riding from 1945, running 22-minutes and 1969's This Town about everyday Yorkshire life captured across a century of dramatic change. There is also an original trailer and image galleries. For the initial pressing run on the DVD and Blu-ray there is a fully illustrated booklet with writing by John Oliver, Kieron McCormack, Michael Brooke and Vic Pratt, and full film credits. There is a second disc DVD included. 

Room at the Top is a brilliant film on the void of class structure that extends to both work and social bonds starring Laurence Harvey as an opportunistic character with 'chip on his shoulder' insecurities about his modest roots and who boldly, and bitterly, defends against any who try to curtail his aspirations to advance beyond his proudly modest upbringing. It's a film I am very happy to own on Blu-ray. The two commentaries provide wonderful analysis advancing appreciation for this kitchen-sink drama impressively directed by Jack Clayton. "A Landmark of the British New Wave". This has our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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