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The Rose Tattoo (1955)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1956 (Brazil)
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 »



(screenplay), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Seaman Jack Hunter
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Sandro Giglio ...
Father De Leo
Florence Sundstrom ...


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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The boldest story of love you have ever been permitted to see! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1956 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

A Rosa Tatuada  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


Come le rose
Written by Adolfo Genise
Lyrics by Gaetano Lama
Sung in part by Marisa Pavan (uncredited) and behind credits
See more »

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User Reviews

25 September 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Tennessee Williams was a good friend of Anna Magnani, the great Italian screen star. It was with her in mind he wrote "The Rose Tattoo", but she never played it in the theater because she didn't feel too comfortable, at the time, in doing the play in English.

Anna Magnani was born to play Serafina; she smolders the screen every time we see her. She is the sole reason for watching the film. Daniel Mann miscalculated in the adaptation, by Hal Kanter, of the play he had directed on Broadway, and it shows. The basic failure is that he made the character of Alvaro Mangiacavallo into a buffoon. Burt Lancaster seems to have been directed to go for laughs rather than being the sensual man he is in the play. He must awaken Serafina from the self imposed mourning she is experiencing at the time they meet.

"The Rose Tattoo" has a Greek tragedy feeling. Watch Serafina at the beginning of the film shopping at the grocery store among the neighborhood women. Later, the same thing happens. At the most dramatic moments, the chorus comes to surround Serafina; it's a ploy to make her react to them and vent her anger at the ignorant women who are her neighbors and clients, but not her real friends.

Serafina is a dignified woman who is still living back in Sicily, even though she is now in New Orleans. Her daughter rebels against her mother, who can't understand the American ways. When her husband Rosario dies, her whole world falls apart. Rosario has been the only man in her life and she wants to stay at home and not face reality, until the appearance of Alvaro, who manages to win her over with his simple ways.

Anna Magnani gives a performance that is larger than life.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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