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In Search of DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS


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While watching THE MUSIC MAN last weekend on TCM, I remembered how much I loved Robert Preston in DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS. I started searching for this beautiful film on the internet and it isn't available ANYWHERE. Does anyone know why? Also - if anyone has any ideas as to how to purchase this film, please let us all know.

 

I would imagine TCM owns this, correct? If so, PLEASE schedule a showing!

 

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I haven't seen the whole film since 1967. I remember coming home very late from work one night circa 1990 and it was already in-progress on TNT. I can't recall seeing it listed to air again since, but that isn't meant to be the final word on the subject.

 

Similar was the case for the similarly-titled HOME BEFORE DARK, a WB film of roughly the same vintage that hadn't aired in years but recently had two runs on TCM. Here's hoping that we'll get to see DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS soon.

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I've often wondered about this Movie, too . . . and WHY it hadn't been shown. I hadn't seen it in quite a few years. I believe I was in the 8th grade or just starting High School and I had watched it with my Family . . . around 1966 or 1967.

 

 

~ SPOILER ALERT ~

 

 

Some of the lines I remember was when Dorothy McGuire's character tells Angela Lansbury's character, "I've always pictured you Blonde .... Hard." To which Angela answers back, "Well, I'm Not a Blonde ... but I am Hard !"

 

 

And when he receives some disturbing news from his daughter, played by Shirley Knight, Robert Preston retorts back, with Contempt, "Damn People . . . Damn People, Anyways !" It was said with such Force and Power that I had never forgotten it.

 

 

And I remember my Mom's LAUGHTER so well, when an 'Out of Work' Robert Preston, seeking employment on a Farm, physically picks up the Owner and carries him down a stretch of property and back again .... to prove how healthy & strong he was and ABLE to do the manual work . . . My Mom laughed so hard @ the 'stunned' look of the owner's face, not so much @ Robert's strength, but just having been 'swept' off his feet, catching him 'off guard' ! PRICELESS !

 

 

And I remember there was another part where Robert Preston 'overhears' something Eve Arden says, while 'cackling' away ... He gives her such a 'REBUTTAL' that catches her 'off guard', too ...

(but I'm not sure what the exact WORDS that were exchanged).

 

 

And I so enjoyed the 'Turn of the Century' setting. Yes sir ... Hope to see it one day soon ! happy.gif

 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR0UOWzIxOvHoXJsh55rB6images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS1aUL9HNLSyPsxYHf0gtz

 

 

 

 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSkW4xzw1vmEy0SdbMNl6Gimages?q=tbn:ANd9GcSDI5VPFW7IqIRApFwInvZ

 

 

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Hi Sophalee,

 

 

Next to 'The Music Man," I remember "The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs" as one of my favorite Robert Preston movies.

 

 

Now that you folks have brought it up, I can't remember for sure when I last saw it. But I remember it from my high school days being shown late at night when I got of work during a weekend.

 

 

It wasn't that old a movie then.

 

 

Robert Preston was a traveling salesman (farm implements, I think), a proud man that lost his job and was having a hard time of it, because he couldn't give his daughter a prom dress? and didn't want his family to know what he was going through.

 

 

I remember Shirley Knight as a young, innocent ****, who fell for this sensitive young Jewish kid who was a cadet at some military academy, I think he commited suicide late in the movie. And the moma's boy son that kept getting between Robert Preston & Dorothy McGuire when they needed some alone time. I think Angela Lansbury was a hairdresser in this small town that had the hots for her old flame, Robert, and she was one whom he could confide in, when his wife would turn him away.

I think at the end Preston gives his son some money for him and his friend to go to the movies, and orders them to stay and see it twice, so that he and Dorothy would have enough time... The boys had a little conversation as they were walking away, and one says to the other something to the effect that he wasn't sure why parents were sometimes so generous, but it seemed to happen like clockwork evey Saturady? at his house...

Anyway, I may not have the dialogue precise, but the scene made me smile then, when I first saw it, and now as I try my best to remember it. :)

 

 

I sure would like to see this movie again myself, perhaps TCM will air it for us????

 

 

 

I did a little searching around, Amazon doesn't have the DVD, but does have several of the plays by William Inge, whom I just found out also wrote: "Come Back Little Sheba," "Picnic," "Bus Stop," as well as "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs." All turned into hit movies that I enjoy!

 

 

I had no idea that before Delbert Mann directed the 1960 Warner Bros. film version, that in 1957, Elia Kazan directed the hit play version, which also had a stellar cast: Eileen Heckart, Pat Hingle, and Teresa Wright, & Frank Overton, among others.

 

 

 

I did find the DVD title at this link:

 

 

[orders@urbanclassicmovies.com|mailto:orders@urbanclassicmovies.com] "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (DVD) Item# 9052 $9.95

 

 

http://yhst-128241803912219.stores.yahoo.net/9052.html

 

 

I can't vouch for the credibility of the site, or the quality of the product, but thought I'd pass the info on for anybody willing to make a chance order and pass the info back on to the rest of us.

 

 

I can't remember TCM ever showing it, sure wish they would if they can.

 

 

I'd like to see it again before I die, but if I don't I still can remember the movie pretty well, and I guess now I can order the play from Amazon and at least read it.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Whoops, looks like I was typing when ugaarte was posting.

 

 

After reading his? post, I can hear those lines coming back to me as well. Thanks for the screenshot links as well :)

 

 

looks like we can't post a link to another website even though this title does not appear to be available through the TCM store... Oh well, maybe you can find it by googling like I did.

 

 

Let us know with another post if you end up ordering the movie and if the DVD quality is good I'll likely order one for myself as well.

 

Edited by: Stephan55 on Jul 11, 2012 7:15 PM

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Hey ugaarte! That third picture down you posted....

 

I don't remember Tony Curtis reprising his Josephine character bein' in this movie!

 

(...oh...wait...that's Eve Arden there, isn't it?!...never mind)

 

;)

 

LOL

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Actually, I'm pretty sure *The Dark at the Top of the Stairs* has been aired on TCM, and comparatively recently. That is, within the past 12 months ( I think - now nobody reprimand me if I'm wrong about this, I haven't looked it up or anything.)

 

I was surprised when this good little family story wasn't shown during Angela Lansbury's "Star of the Month " month. ( When was that, January? whoo, time does go fast...)

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The Dark at the Top of the Stairs is one of my favorites. I didn't like how they deal with Sammy.. that's all I am saying.. but I would definitely watch it again..

 

The Natural is playing right now. Memo is ruining Roy's career.. this is one of my favorites..

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Dargo2 ~ ~

 

 

 

{ ... I don't remember Tony Curtis reprising his Josephine character bein' in this movie! ... }

 

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

 

Oh, don't you, Dargo . . .

 

 

 

He 'reprised' it under the new title,

"Some Like it Hot @ the Top of the Stairs" . . . silly.gif

 

Edited by: ugaarte on Jul 12, 2012 3:01 AM

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Not only would I like to see DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS but another long lost Robert Preston film ALL THE WAY HOME. A marvelous, quiet picture also portraying life in the early part of the 20th Century. Some warm, tender and funny moments. Preston is quite superb.

 

The two films would be perfect together.

 

It's been my hope that TCM would try to make them part of a Robert Preston night or SUTS day.

 

Anyone else feel the same?

 

Yancey

 

 

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ALL THE WAY HOME is a marvelous film! Would love to see that again as well! FYI -- I tried to go to the link listed below to purchase DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS and got a prompt that the numbered title was not available -- but thanks anyway -- will continue my search and share whatever I find.

 

In the meantime, TCM -- PLEASE run this film again! As well as ALL THE WAY HOME, if you have it! And a Robert Preston Day is also a fantastic idea!

 

Speaking of Preston -- I found a youtube of him singing "CHICKEN FAT" written by Meredith Wilson specifically for President Kennedy's Council on Physical Fitness in 1961-- if you were in elementary school during the early 60s, chances are you will remember doing squat thrusts to this record! "Go you chicken fat, go!!!!!"

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There is yet, another Movie, starring Robert Preston and Mary Tyler Moore.

 

 

 

But I can't, for the life of me, Remember the name of this movie . . .

 

 

 

does anyone know what movie I'm talking about ? confused.gif

 

Edited by: ugaarte on Jul 12, 2012 4:22 PM

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> {quote:title=ugaarte wrote:}{quote}There is yet, another Movie, starring Robert Preston and Mary Tyler Moore.

>

>

>

>

> But I can't, for the life of me, Remember the name of this movie . . .

>

>

>

>

>

> does anyone know what movie I'm talking about ? confused.gif

>

>

>

 

Finnegan Begin Again, an HBO TV movie.

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Don't forget the wonderful role he had in Blake Edwards send up of Hollywood "S.O.B." where he played Dr. Feelgood, Doctor to the stars, he had an injection or a pill for everything. Or if none of those worked, make a "Bloody Mary"...

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Jul 12, 2012 5:53 PM

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