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Room at the Top

Room at the Top (Jack Clayton 1959)

"An ambitious young accountant plots to wed a wealthy factory owner's daughter despite falling in love with a married older woman."

Love this film!

In the first scene when we meet Joe (Laurence Harvey) I thought I had him pegged as being the handsome cad...a guy who used women, chewed them up and spit them out onto the cold pavement, all without a mere thought of remorse. In the first scene it did indeed look like he would be the guy you 'love to hate'. I mean he did seem predatory at first, with his stalking of the daughter of the richest man in town. He was kinda creepy with his hellbent plan to marry her for money and social status, two things he sorely lacked.

But it was Joe's meager beginnings in a dirty northern England work town that made him who he was and as the film went along we could see that the war and the loss of his family and his early life had shaped him into the person he was and that then creates some sympathy for his character.

Along the way he does begin to change and realize that love is more important than money. But what I really liked is that the film never made that change in Joe clear cut, he was still a cad but a cad that could be understood.

Simone Signoret as Alice the older, married French woman that he falls in love with, made for a very realistic (for film) love story. She's very personable in this and their relationship felt dynamic. I liked the time the film spent on it.