Cinema: Dear Old Jungle-Rule Days

Up the Down Staircase is a skillful culling of memorable moments from Bel Kaufman's novel about a teacher's struggle in a New York "problem-area" high school. They have been assembled by Writer Tad Mosel and Director Robert Mulligan into an entertainment of high spirits, its sheen unscratched by the book's real point.

Sandy Dennis plays Tyro Schoolmarm Sylvia Barrett and re-creates with considerable grace her abandonment of college-bred tenets and concepts to cope with realities in the concrete jungle. Both antagonistic forces—a bunch of surly, underprivileged kids on one side and a school...

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