After mobsters murder her husband, Rose Bianco works long hours making artificial flowers, to support herself and her son. Some suspect that Rose's demand for a lavish lifestyle pushed her ... See full summary »




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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Alma Gallo
Henry Gallo
Jimmy Baird ...
Ralph Bianco
Guilia Gallo
Mr. Harmon
Robert Carricart ...
Joe Di Reda ...
Jack Washburn ...
Tony Bianco
Mary Valente


After mobsters murder her husband, Rose Bianco works long hours making artificial flowers, to support herself and her son. Some suspect that Rose's demand for a lavish lifestyle pushed her husband to a life of crime, and they blame her for his death. Widower Frank Valente is attracted to Rose, and must convince her that real love exists. He must also deal with his own daughter, who has her own reasons for opposing his marriage to Rose. Written by Molly Malloy <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


More than a story of love... a story of life!


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 February 1959 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Den sorte orkidé  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sophia Loren earned her first acting award with this movie (she picked up the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival). Many more would follow. See more »


Frank Valente: Working at night? Even God doesn't work at night.
Rose Bianco: To make a living people do many things God doesn't do.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Olivia Newton-John (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Movie
14 March 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Black Orchid, The (1958)

*** (out of 4)

Rose (Sophia Loren) is a young Italian woman who has just buried her husband who was murdered by the gangsters he worked for. Rose's depression soon takes another turn when her young son gets sent to a boarding school for breaking into parking meters. News gets even worse for her son after many attempts at running away, one more attempt will send him into a reform school where he won't get released until he is much older. With all the heartbreak going on, Rose spends her evenings alone making what money she can.

Down the street is Frank (Anthony Quinn), another widower who is getting ready to see his only daughter married. Frank is the type who keeps a smile on his face no matter how much bad luck life delivers him. When he first sees Rose he notices her extreme beauty but soon he becomes interested in the person that he has so much in common with. Rose finally drops her guard and the two become quick friends and soon start to fall in love but Frank's daughter, bitter with jealousy, refuses to let their relationship go anywhere.

Perhaps I missed something or the entire film went over my head but the back of the DVD case called this a sensitive comedy romance and a couple other film books I owned called this a bittersweet romantic comedy but I certainly didn't find any comedy in The Black Orchid. Why this film would be called a comedy is beyond me but it's certainly romantic in the sense of meeting two lonely people who must travel a hard road and learn tough lessons before seeing a greener field.

The movie has its heart in the right place, although near the end things start to tumble a little bit. The biggest key to the film is its two stars who both turn in wonderfully charming performances. Sophia Loren has always been known for her beauty, which is in pull blossom here but she also manages to be quite believable as the distraught widow trying to make good for her troubled son. Loren does a very good job during various quiet scenes where she must confront her past and she also fairs very well in her louder, bleaker moments where she's trying to push people away from her.

The key highlight to the film is Anthony Quinn who was an actor who never received enough praise for his work. Quinn gives one of the most charming performances I've ever seen in a film and this here really brings the relationship of all the characters together. No matter who he's sharing the screen with Quinn sells the viewer on each subject brought up and we can't help but want him to smile and be happy no matter what. Quinn features a certain grace that makes him appear to float through his scenes and this adds all the believability that a viewer will need.

They certainly don't have star chemistry like this any more and that's one shame when it comes to people refusing to watch older films. Director Martin Ritt (Norma Rae, Stanley & Iris) does a very nice job at holding the film together and not letting the melodrama become too thick, although his selection for the music score is really distracting. The score seems to be something from The Twilight Zone, which really isn't needed here. The biggest problem with the film is the forced, if cute, ending and some of the scenes with the daughter become very obnoxious and annoying. Other than that The Black Orchid offers two great stars the ability to shine and create a wonderfully quiet little film that has enough charm to make it worth watching.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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