Up the Down Staircase
Directed by Robert Mulligan
available on Amazon Prime
The story unfolds over the first three months of the school year at New York inner-city Calvin Coolidge High School. This is Sylvia Barrett’s (Sandy Dennis) first job. Barrett has problems balancing obedience of the adminstration’s bureaucracy and responsibility of teaching the not-so-dedicated students.
It’s like a fast moving traffic jam, if that makes sense. The disrespect of the students, bureaucracy of the administration, and anxiety of a rookie teacher make for a world for of chaos, learning, and defiance.
Although the book is written in epistolary form, the movie is not. The script writers have also taken liberties to change the plot to make it faster moving and more “compelling”. I thought it lost a little of the original flavor of the original story, and it eliminated the connection with the letter-writing / mail theme.
IMDB gave it a 7.6 out of 10. I give it a 5.0 – read the book instead.