15 user 8 critic

The Black Orchid (1958)

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 <mailcall@intersource.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | Romance


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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

Remarkable and intelligent account about a mature couple , being well directed and wonderfully performed
11 December 2014 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Patchy weeper with terrific and enjoyable performances , in which a businessman Frank Valente (Anthony Quinn) romancing criminal's widow named Rose Bianco (Sophia Loren) and the principal problem results in convincing their children that marriage will make all their lives better . As the Italian Frank wooing a mobster's widow that leads to unexpected consequences . Both of whom are strongly involved with their sons , as Frank has to convince his sternly moralising daughter (Ina Balin) about marry herself to Noble (Peter Mark Richman) , while Rose must convince her little boy Ralph (Jimmy Baird) who usually is locked at remand home like in N.Y. State Farm .

This is a plain and simple film with plenty of interesting drama , Soap opera , emotion and a sensitive as well as unexpectedly tender romance . Filmmaker Martin Ritt has got a considerable success in delineating their troublesome roles in this fabricated Soaper . Various character-studios furnish the basis for this agreeable drama and it results to be a superb piece of acting . Excellent interpretation by protagonist duo , as Anthony Quinn as the bungling businessman romancing a moll's beautiful widow , this was the first of Anthony's European roles leading to his hit five years later in ¨Zorba the Greek¨ . And Sophia Loren playing magnificently the mature but attractive crook's widow , though she was 23 years old during filming, only 10 years older than the actor playing her juvenile son . The picture also established Loren's claim as a player of some worth and paved the way for her Acadeny Award-winning success three years later in ¨Two women¨ and her triumph in ¨The Cid¨ . It is a mostly staged drama in which the two main actors spend the majority of the movie attempting to persuade their children that all will be better if they marry and it can work out . Nice screenplay by Joseph Stefano dealing with sensitive themes such as the disintegration of a family , an enticing love story , rebellious childhood and including engaging dialogs . Evocative cinematography in VistaVision by Robert Burks , he's a classic cameraman and Hitchcock's usual . The music is sparse, but it's potent and lively every time it appears , it was composed by Alessandro Cicognini .

This understatement motion picture was well produced by Carlo Ponti , Sophia Loren's husband , and professionally directed by Martin Ritt, who worked with Paul Newman in three Westerns : ¨Hombre¨ , ¨Hud¨ and ¨Outrage¨. Ritt was an expert on dramas such as ¨Stanley and Iris¨ , ¨Nut¨ , ¨Norma Rae¨ , ¨The front¨, ¨The Sound and the Fury¨ , though also directed films of all kind of genres such as : ¨The Spy Who Came in from the Cold¨ , ¨The Great White Hope¨ , ¨Mafia¨ and ¨Molly McGuire¨ . This ¨Black orchid¨ film will appeal to drama enthusiasts and Anthony Quinn/Sophia Loren fans . Rating : Above average, well worth watching ; along with ¨Hud¨ ,and ¨Outrage¨ being one of Ritt's best movie.

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