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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life At The Top (1965)

After marrying the boss's daughter (Jean Simmons) in his climb up the ladder of success, a man (Laurence Harvey) finds that life at the top isn't what he wants after all. Six years after ROOM AT THE TOP, this sequel shows the protagonist's disillusionment and disgust with the hypocrisy and emptiness of his chosen life. Harvey recreates his Joe Lampton from the earlier film but Jean Simmons replaces Heather Sears. As far as sequels go, this one is very good and Harvey manages to rouse himself out of his usual wooden stupor and actually give a performance. But his character's self pitying and whining hypocrisy, he has contempt for his upper class associates but he's reluctant to give up his comfortable lifestyle, begin to grate after awhile. When Simmons has an affair with another man (Michael Craig), our sympathies are entirely with her. Directed by Ted Kotcheff (WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S) with a fine subtle score by Richard Addinsell. With Honor Blackman (who steals the movie) as a TV commentator who has an affair with Harvey, Donald Wolfit (who has the remarkable ability to overact while standing perfectly still), Robert Morley, Nigel Davenport, Margaret Johnston, Edward Fox, Allan Cuthbertson, Denis Quilley and Geoffrey Bayldon.

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