Life at the Top (film)

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Life at the Top
Life at the top.jpeg
Original film poster
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by James Woolf
Written by Mordecai Richler
John Braine (novel)
Starring Laurence Harvey
Jean Simmons
Honor Blackman
Michael Craig
Donald Wolfit
Music by Richard Addinsell
Cinematography Oswald Morris
Edited byDerek York
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
14 December 1965 (1965-12-14) (U.S.)
Running time
117 min
CountryUnited Kingdom

Life at the Top is a 1965 drama film, a production of Romulus Films released by Columbia Pictures. The screenplay was by Mordecai Richler, based on the novel Life at the Top by John Braine, and is a sequel to the film Room at the Top (1959). It was directed by Ted Kotcheff and produced by James Woolf with William Kirby as associate producer. The music score was by Richard Addinsell and the cinematography by Oswald Morris. The film's art director Edward Marshall received a 1966 BAFTA Award nomination. [1]


The film stars Laurence Harvey, once again playing Joe Lampton, with Jean Simmons, Honor Blackman and Michael Craig. Four actors reprised their roles from Room at the Top: Harvey, Donald Wolfit, Ambrosine Phillpotts and Allan Cuthbertson.


In Room at the Top , Joe Lampton's escape from his working-class background through his seduction of, and marriage to, the daughter of a wealthy mill owner had been portrayed.

Ten years on, Joe is living the dream of the successful young executive, complete with luxurious suburban house, white Jaguar, and two young children. However, Joe's life is not the dream it appears to be.


Joe's father-in-law Abe Brown is the mayor, and to Joe's disapproval sends the children to a private boarding school. Meanwhile Joe invites in the paper-boy for a cup of tea, while his son looks jealously on.

He goes to a sherry party with his wife, but would rather be in the pub. The party is in the huge house of his father-in-law. There he meets Norah.

Joe says goodbye to his son at the railway station. Later that night at his in-laws they, not he, are choosing which carpet will be in his house.

Joe no longer makes love to his wife and she is having an affair with Joe's married friend.

Joe goes to the Savoy Hotel in London with his friend for lunch with Titfield. When Titfield leaves they go to a strip show and the friend discusses dodgy business deals.

Joe meets Ainsgill and they discuss how Joe caused the death of his wife: but he has a new love - Norah.

Joe goes home wearing a Huckleberry Hound mask and finds signs of another man in the house. He hears them in the bedroom but does not enter. He is sitting downstairs when they come down for a drink.


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  1. "Edward Marshall". BAFTA. Retrieved 6 January 2012.