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 »
Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge and predictable complications result.
Prudence Cole is an unsophisticated Quaker girl being raised by her two aunts. Prudence is flirted with by snobbish Henry Garrison, who actually disdains the girl for her lack of ... See full summary »
Robert G. Vignola
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>
In The Mardi Gras Club scenes, there are a few familiar faces amongst the extras. As Serafina storms by the men on bar stools, Tennessee Williams himself can be seen sitting at the bar in a striped shirt. The man beside him is producer Hal B. Wallis. The shorter man in the white shirt standing directly behind Estelle Hohengarten (actress Virginia Grey) helping to restrain her is Frank Merlo - William's long-time companion and lover. 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.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?