Room at the Top is somewhat tame by current standards, but in 1959 it caused the British Board of Film Censors to loosen their standards and allow the film’s unusually frank dialogue. The British public was unaccustomed to films in which characters might admit that they enjoyed sex, and, as such, Room at the Top represented a breakthrough, even though it’s a minor part of the film. Newfound frankness notwithstanding, the story is conventionally moralistic in its disapproval of its protagonist, who opts for the comfort of money over the ideals of love, honor, and compassion. The lead performances are first-rate. Simone Signoret won a Best Actress Oscar, though the film lost Best Picture to Ben-Hur. Also receiving an Oscar was screenwriter Neil Pareson, who adapted the John Braine source novel.
Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret, Heather Sears, Donald Wolfit, Donald Houston, Ambrosine Phillpotts
1959, B&W, 118 minutes