An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period ... See full summary »
An immigrant Nevada rancher brings a woman from Italy to be his second wife but when he neglects her, she becomes involved with his trusted assistant. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including Best Actor.
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Pier Paolo Pasolini
An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period of years draws more and more into herself, trying to force her lovely teenaged daughter Rosa to do likewise. On one eventful day, Rose finally breaks away; Serafina learns of Rosario's affair with another woman; and a new carefree, handsome Italian truck driver enters her life... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Though the script places the location in a small Mississippi Gulf town, exteriors were shot in Key West. When scouting for locations, a perfect fit was found for the exterior of the house owned by Serafina Delle Rose on Duncan Street. A fence indicating a goat paddock was needed next door and the crew was worried the owner may object to the filming nearby and the addition of a ramshackle fence on his property. They needn't have worried - the house and property next door at 1431 Ducan was the home that Tennessee Williams shared with his lover Frank Merlo himself who happily agreed to its use even inviting Magnani (close friends of Merlo and Williams) and Lancaster to use it as their dressing rooms. In later years, Williams had an enormous mosaic of a rose tattoo embedded in the floor of the pool behind the house, which is still there today. See more »
When the truck crashes in flames and rolls down the hillside, it is obvious from the beginning of the sequence that there is nobody in the cab. See more »
It ain't easy to steal the spotlight from Burt Lancaster, but Anna Magnani in her Oscar winning performance managed to do just that. Of course it helps to have the female role be the protagonist here.
In the 1951 season on Broadway, Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo came to Broadway and ran for 306 performances and starred Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach in the Magnani and Lancaster parts. Like all of Tennessee Williams's work it is set in the south, but a different kind of south than we usually see. Surely Serafina Derosse is a lot different than decadent southerners like Blanche Dubois, or Alexandra Del Lago, or Violet Venable. She's from a different world than they, being an immigrant. She brings her culture and its values to the gulf area.
Serafina's husband is killed in a brief prologue in a car crash, he's a truck driver who does a little smuggling on the side. He also does a bit of womanizing on the side as well which comes out at his death. As a result Magnani just withdraws from the world and even tries to turn her daughter, Marisa Pavan, into as a bitter a creature as she is.
Enter Burt Lancaster into her life, who's also a truck driver. His is a pretty expansive role also, but he's just not in the same league as Magnani, few are. Burt was cast in the role because Paramount wanted some box office name as Magnani was not known in this country, though she was Italy's biggest female star.
In a recent biography of Burt Lancaster it said that Lancaster was lucky in this part because he grew up in East Harlem, one of the few WASP types there and had many Italian immigrant friends and their families to draw upon for his character. It's a good performance, Lancaster stops well short of making it a cartoon creation and getting the Italian American Civil Rights group down on him.
Still it's Magnani's picture and she dominates it thoroughly. She did only a few English language films after this, Wild is the Wind and The Secret of Santa Vittoria with Anthony Quinn and The Fugitive Kind with Marlon Brando among them. Brando in fact turned down this film because he was afraid she'd upstage him. Guess he got his courage later on.
The Rose Tattoo is probably the closest Tennessee Williams came to doing a comedy. It's well short of a comedy, there's too many serious parts to this film to consider it that. Still I think it's something different from Tennessee Williams, something unique, and something wonderful.
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