7.6/10
1,517
34 user 13 critic

Up the Down Staircase (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 4 August 1967 (Finland)
The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patrick Bedford ...
...
Henrietta Pastorfield
...
...
...
Dr. Bester
...
...
Ella Friedenberg
Vinnette Carroll ...
The Mother
Janice Mars ...
Miss Gordon
Loretta Leversee ...
Social Studies Teacher
John Callahan
Denis Fay
Otto Lomax
Martha Greenhouse ...
Alberta Kagan
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Storyline

Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Simple words that start a war: "Good morning. My name is Miss Barrett. I am your Home Room teacher..." See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 August 1967 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bel Kaufman, the author of the book on which this movie was based, appeared as an extra in the movie, and served as a technical advisor. See more »

Goofs

During the opening montage establishing the first day of school in September in a New York high school, several shots were obviously filmed in dead of winter with extras in heavy coats, gray skies, etc. contrasting wildly with scenes of sunny skies and lightweight costumes of main characters. See more »

Quotes

[Lou Martin gives an oral book report]
Lou Martin: My book is...
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar] The book you read.
Lou Martin: Yeah. The title is called "MacBeth," by Shakespeare.
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar, again] The title 'is.'
Lou Martin: [Finishing her sentence] "... MacBeth."
Sylvia Barrett: Isn't "MacBeth" required reading for last english term?
Lou Martin: I ain't never read it before.
Sylvia Barrett: [Correcting his grammar, again] I' ve never read it.
Lou Martin: Me neither.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Reflections of Evil (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best Teacher Film
26 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

Rivals "To Sir, With Love" (released around the same time) as the best teacher film of all time. The difference: Sandy Dennis.

Dennis was one of those actors they don't make anymore (or at least don't showcase in Hollywood in 2007). She was strange, quirky, not conventionally pretty and she had that quality a lot of new female teachers have-that deer in the headlights look that makes the viewer root for her to make it "work" with those tough students.

The story is strong with some good subplots with the troubled students. It is dated but I would say the same issues facing Dennis here face contemporary teachers.

I take Dennis to Robin Williams in "Dead Poets Society" anyday.


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