Neil Sinyard
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Sex, realism and Yorkshire pudding
Room at the Top (1959)
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Jack Clayton's film of Room at the Top has been widely credited with launching the 'new wave' in British film, bringing realism, the working class and sex to the national cinema. Room at the Top was only part of a tide of change in art and society that was pushing so hard against the British Establishment that something eventually had to give. In film terms, it might be said that Clayton's Room at the Top had the same kind of impact at the end of the 1950s as David Lean's Great Expectations in 1946, both debating the promise of class mobility and social change. The X certificate was an issue partly because at the time Room at the Top was made the Rank Organisation had a policy of not screening X-certificate films, associated in some eyes with sleaziness and horror.

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