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Horror » » »
Dark At The Top Of The Stairs


1960       Eve Arden

Teaser Storyline for "The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs"

This is a story which could take place in an average home in any one of our 50 states. It does take place in the early 1920's in a small Oklahoma town. Rubin flood (ROBERT PRESTON), his wife Cora (DOROTHY McGUIRE), their daughter, Reenie (SHIRLEY KNIGHT), and their 10-year-old Sonny (ROBERT EYER) are preparing for the day ahead.

In town, while Rain learns that his harness agency is going out of business, Con is buying an evening dress for Reenie to wear on a blind date arranged by her friend Flirt (PENNEY PARKER).

The purchase of the dress occasions a heated family argument during which Corn charges her husband with "frisking over the country like a young stallion" and specifically with buying black hose fur Mavis Pruitt (ANGELA LANSBIJRY), a widow who runs a beauty shop. Taunted by Con, Rubin slaps his wife and storms out.

Reenie, distraught by the parental fight, rushes from the house and is

almost run down by the car of Sammy Golden (LEE KIN-SOLVING), a cadet front a nearby military academy. Reenie's normal shyness vanishes with Sammy. Back home, Reenie tells her mother she's met a boy who likes her, then suddenly realizes she doesn't know his name or whether she'll ever see him again.

An intoxicated Rubin bursts in on Mavis' beauty shop, just as two customers, the Harper sisters are leaving, later, he passionately embraces Mavis and though she would like him as a lover, the romance goes no further.

It's the night of the country chub dance. Cora's sister, Lottie (EVE ARDEN) and her husband, Morris (FRAINK OVERTON), are having dinner at the Flood home. The wandering Rain returns during dinner with an apology for slapping Con. Another argument erupts with Cora admitting she can't make love at night after a day filled with dissent. The worry about money has driven a wedge between them.

Flirt arrives 'with two boys. Reenie's blind date turns out to be Sammy in full military uniform. After the children leave for the dance, Lottie urges Con to forgive Rubin. Lottie wishes she had a handsome and masculine husband and admits that Morris hasn't made love to her in over three years.

When Lottie and Morris leave, Cora slowly goes up the stairs into the darkness at the top. Loneliness is what she faces in the breakup of her marriage. Sonny, a frightened figure in his pajamas, awaits her. He, too, is terrified of being alone.

At the country club Reenie has a wonderful time with Sammy until they are caught kissing by the hostess, Mrs. Harry Ralston. Noting that Sammy has a Jewish name, Ilirs. Ralston points out the club is restricted. Once again, Sammy feels rejected and immediately drives Reenie home.


The next morning Reenie rushes to the hospital to see Sammy, who attempted suicide during the night. lie dies soon after Reenie's visit.

Cora calls on Mavis, who tells the unvarnished truth-that she has been in love with Rubin, but he hasn't shown any interest. Then Con first learns that Robin has lost his job. Meanwhile at the local hotel Rubin is being hired as a salesman for an oil drilling machinery comp any.

Rubin is surprised to find Cora waiting for him in the lobby. She regrets her constant nagging. They walk home together happily. At home Sonny is playing with a grimy little friend. Rain gives the boys a dollar for a movie so that he can be home alone with Con.

We have the feeling that then is nothing to fear in the Dark At The Top Of The Stairs, if somebody is climbing them with you. If this somebody can offer love or un4erstanding the endless stairway which we call living is an easy climb.

Running Time, 123 Minutes



Item Details:
1-Sheet Folded




Dark At The Top Of The Stairs

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ROBERT PRESTON ....................... Rubin
DOROTHY McGUIRE ....................... Cora
EVE ARDEN ....................... Lottie
ANGELA LANSBURY ....................... Mavis
SHIRLEY KNIGHT ....................... Reenie
Lee Kinsolving ....................... Sammy
Frank Overton ....................... Morris
Ruben Eyer ....................... Sonny
Penney Parker ....................... Flirt
Ken Lynch ....................... Harry Ralston


Produced by ....................... Michael Garrison
Directed by ....................... Delbert Mann
Screenplay by ....................... Harriet Frank, Jr. and Irving Revetch
Basedontheplayby .................... William Inge
Produced on the stage by ............ Saint-Subber and Ella Kazan
Director of Photography ............ Harry Stradling, Sr., A.S.C.
Art Director ....................... Leo K. Kuter
Film Editor ....................... Fomar Blangsted
Music by ....................... Max Steiner
Orchestration by ....................... Murray Cutter
Sound by ....................... Stanley Jones
Costumes ....................... Marjorie Best
Set Decorator ....................... George Jainea Hopkins
Makeup Supervisor ....................... Gordon Bau, SMA
Assistant Director ....................... Russell LLewellyn
Dialog Supervisor ....................... Norman Stuart






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