The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  28 December 1961 (USA)
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Critics and the public say Karen Stone is too old -- as she approaches 50 -- for her role in a play she is about to take to Broadway. Her businessman husband, 20 years her senior, has been ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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A woman unhappy in her passionless marriage leaves her husband for a younger and more ardent lover.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Coral Browne ...
Barbara Bingham
Jeremy Spenser ...
Young man
Stella Bonheur ...
Mrs. Jamison-Walker
Josephine Brown ...
Peter Dyneley ...
Lloyd Greener
Carl Jaffe ...
Baron Waldheim (as Carl Jaffé)
Harold Kasket ...
Viola Keats ...
Julia McIlheny
Cleo Laine ...
Elspeth March ...
Henry McCarty ...
Campbell Kennedy (as Henry McCarthy)


Critics and the public say Karen Stone is too old -- as she approaches 50 -- for her role in a play she is about to take to Broadway. Her businessman husband, 20 years her senior, has been the angel for the play and gives her a way out: They are off to a holiday in Rome for his health. He suffers a fatal heart attack on the plane. Mrs. Stone stays in Rome. She leases a magnificent apartment with a view of the seven hills from the terrace. Then the contessa comes calling to introduce a young man named Paola to her. The contessa knows many presentable young men and lonely American widows. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

28 December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Widow and the Gigolo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was Ernest Thesiger's final film before his death on January 14, 1961 at the age of 81. See more »


The handkerchief Karen Stone takes out is different from the one picked up by the young man outside. See more »


Paolo di Leo: Do you know her?
Stefano - The Barber: She's not for you. She only does it for money.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Warner Brothers shield logo which normally introduces a Warner Brothers film appears at the end of this film instead of at the beginning. See more »


Version of The Drift (1989) See more »


Love Is a Bore
Music by Richard Addinsell
Lyrics by Paddy Roberts
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Vivien Leigh Echoing Her Life At The Time
6 October 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Read together the biographies of Tennessee Williams and Vivien Leigh, and you'll know why the depressing aspects of this movie are so realistic!! Vivien was, at the time the movie was made, going through her painful divorce from Laurence Olivier. In the middle of making the film, she had dinner with her beloved Olivier and Joan Plowright, at which time he told her that he was marrying Joan. Vivien had electro-shock treatments right after wrapping this movie. That desolate, soul-searing sadness in her eyes isn't acting!

Tennessee Williams features gigolos, procurers and prostitutes in many of his plays and this was no exception, although the 'action' is disguised by the high-faluting manners of the Countessa (the madam, who lives off the earnings of her 'boys'). You wonder how much Tennessee may have fashioned the play on Miss Leigh's life, as 'Mrs. Stone' is an actress past her prime, whose husband has just absented himself from her life (and his, as well). Williams exquisitely portrays the way we use one another for our own advantage, and Beatty (with a crummy Italian accent) does a great job of 'playing' the self-involved, narcissistic, money hungry Lothario. Once he hooks her, he delights in sadistically attacking her for her 'weakness' in loving him. Ever been there? At that time in his life, Beatty was playing a similar but more innocent role with almost every woman in Hollywood. He has matured well.

The writing was excellent, the scenery in Rome magnificent, but you will be so depressed after seeing this excellent movie that I suggest you also check out 'Bulworth' as a double feature to follow with. Beatty on two sides of his career is worth comparing: drama and comedy, villain and hero. I believe you'll have to say that Warren Beatty is an actor as well as a movie star.

Even though Vivien Leigh did not care for Beatty's arrogance while making this movie, she was able to turn the horror of her personal life into something constructive (as did Tennessee Williams), for which we the public should always be grateful. To make art from the ashes of a marriage----destroyed by death or divorce----- is something each of us would do well to learn.

For those of you with indomitable spirits, another Tennessee Williams film to see for comparison purposes is "Summer and Smoke". The interplay between the romantic leads is more equal, but both portray the sadness from Tennessee's sister Rose's life. She was a beautiful Southern flower, intimidated by her overbearing mother and alcoholic father, who wound up having a lobotomy (as did another sad victim /child of our nation's leading family). Tennessee paid homage to her tragic life in many of his plays, and these are no exception. Intelligent, beautiful but completely impotent at withstanding the aggression of those around her, Mrs. Stone is a prime example of a 'Rose by another name'.

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