Man at the Top Film Details
Overview: Joe Lampton, the protagonist of Man at the Top (1970), learns that an untested drug from the shady pharmaceutical concern he works for made hundreds of African women sterile. When he turns to his superior, he finds that he’s in over his head.
Tagline: Lampton’s back – on top of everything
Review: The story of Joe Lampton began in 1957 with the publication of John Braine’s novel Room At The Top. It told the story of Joe, an ambitious 25 year old who has to choose between heart and head in deciding whether to sacrifice the warmth and love of an older woman who is dependent on him in order to marry Susan, the daughter of a wealthy businessman to get his foot on the ladder of success. He chooses the expedient option – but when the older woman commits suicide, he’s so ripped apart with grief, he’s unable to enjoy his triumph. It was filmed in 1959 with Laurence Harvey as Joe. The story continued in 1962 with the sequel Life At The Top in which the 30 something Joe finds the fruits of success have turned into ashes – Susan is having an affair, and he’s utterly trapped by his father in law, Abe. An attempt to break away and succeed on his own terms proves fruitless and he realises he’s truly a victim of his own ruthlessness. This too was filmed with Harvey, in 1965. There were no further novels, but in 1970 Braine created the TV series Man At The Top which carried the Lampton saga into the 70s with Joe now in his forties. It ran for two series from 1970 to 1972 with Kenneth Haigh replacing Harvey as Joe. Abe has set Joe up as a management consultant with his friend from Room At The Top, Teddy Soames. As the series progresses, with much heartache for Susan, Joe loses the aunt who raised him like a mother back in his home town, Dufton, which provokes a crisis of conscience and he finally breaks free of Abe – for a while. Subsequently the business folds. After struggling,eventually Joe is employed again, but when his ruthlessness causes the death of his little girl, his conscience flares up again and he tells his employer he’s through eating s**t. Abe persuades him to enter politics, but when he realises the aim is to exploit the workers of Dufton, he publicly denounces Abe and his partners – and effectively self-destructs. The big screen spin off arrived in 1973 and had to be consistent with Joe’s backstory without requiring a PhD in John Braine to follow the story. It had to stand alone, as well as tie in with what had gone before. It does this very well indeed, and casual viewers can enjoy the film as well as seasoned Lampton followers. After irretrievably damaging relations with Abe and Susan, Joe is single and now has a relatively low level job on a construction site, but has been head hunted by the Ackerman Group, a pharmaceutical company, to be their managing director. Joe takes the job, but can’t help wondering why they want someone with no scientific background. He investigates – and soon he finds a sinister conspiracy to discredit and destroy him. But as many a devious businessman has found to his sorrow, if you try and shaft Joe Lampton, it’ll end in tears – and Joe’s eyes will be dry as a bone……….. Much more explicit visually and vocally than the series was able to be at the time, Man At The Top is a minor, but unjustly forgotten film which has been long overdue for reissue. Haigh brilliantly recreates his TV role and there’s ample supports from such dependable actors as Harry Andrews and Nanette Newman. There’s even an appearance from then-popular TV comedian Charlie Williams to savour.
Duration: 92 min
Also known as: Man at the Top,Sex se dyo tableau