A young man returning home from World War II finds himself caught up in his parents' turbulent relationship.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Don Saxon ...
Nightclub M.C.
Elaine Williams ...
Woman in Club
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Storyline

When Timmy Cleary (Sheen), comes home from soldiering, he's greeted by the open but strained arms of his two parents, John and Nettie, (Neal and Albertson). Once considered sickly and weak, he has now distinguished himself in the service and is ready to begin a new life. His parents, however, are still trapped in the bygone days of early and unresolved marital strife and begin emotionally deteriorating through several drama packed encounters. Now mature, the young Tim Cleary finally understands the family dynamics that has played all throughout his boyhood. By the simple act of bringing his mother roses on behalf of his father, Tim realizes he may have destroyed his family, but is helpless to obtain resolution which must come from both his parents. Written by Teresa B. O'Donnell <sun.moon.stars@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of Three Strangers...A Mother...A Father...And a Son See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 February 1970 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Três Estranhos  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Netty (Patricia Neal) is getting her coins from her dresser, one can see a small picture frame with an older gentleman in it; that is the picture of Ms Neal's real-life father William "Coot" Neal. See more »

Goofs

1960s vehicles can be seen in the background when Nettie rides the bus out to the seashore. See more »

Quotes

John Cleary: Hurry up with your breakfast.
Timmy Cleary: What for?
John Cleary: Mass starts in twenty minutes, you're not even dressed.
Timmy Cleary: Mass?
John Cleary: Mass.
Timmy Cleary: I haven't been to Mass in over three years. You know that.
John Cleary: Lots of bad habits you boys picked up you'll have to get over.
Timmy Cleary: Not going to Mass isn't a habit I picked up. It's a decision I came to after a lot of thought.
John Cleary: Now, what way is *that* for a Catholic to talk?
Timmy Cleary: I haven't considered myself a Catholic for quite a while.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in That Girl: The Subject Was Rabies (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Sunbonnet Sue
(uncredited)
Written by Will D. Cobb and Gus Edwards
Sung by Jack Albertson
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User Reviews

 
What Aspect of Life is Going to Beat Us Up Today!!
11 May 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Coming back from World War II, Martin Sheen is greeted by his parents as they really are and not the adult pretenses they orchestrated to bring up a child...It is a crash course in growing up, between fighting in the war and now being an adult and seeing things for what they truly are..His parents (Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson) fought all their lives to be one notch better than most people who experienced the Depression, they are proud of their summer home and their apartment in New York City...They detest the term "Shanty Irish" because it serves as a resentful motivation due to what it represents. The parents realize the price they paid for assimilation into American culture!! Both of them gave up in life a long time ago, and they will remain cynical in their outlook in life because they are tired of disappointments winning out!!...Suddenly disillusionment is as visible as the kitchen wallpaper!!! The roses Martin Sheen bring home to his mother (supposedly from his father) symbolize an uplifting emotion that never prevailed in the Cleary household!! (The parent's love and marital bond was constantly in question!!!) This coupled with the fifty dollars in quarters that Patricia Neal had been saving all of her adult life which she decides to take and spend in one weekend, creates a spark for a family always bludgeoned by mediocrity...The patronizing demeanor to the mother, the placatory concessions to the father, and the wry and sanctimonious disenchantment with the son, indicates an anger all three of them have for the fact that the entire household situation has dramatically changed without warning!! Martin Sheen has now become thoroughly aware of the fact that his parents' happiness has abrupt and desultory conclusions!! The important bond at the end of the movie is the fact that they all love each other, and all three of them are willing to prove this to each other the hard way!!..What they truly had ambitions for will never happen, even probably for the son (Martin Sheen) because failure in terms of egotistical accomplishment in this household is handwriting on the wall. Adulthood is not about success nor sophistication, it is about acceptance..This movie is a superb character portrayal...It encompasses a 360 degree perspective on what family members go through to fully understand one another, this includes a very distasteful compromising forgiveness by way of accepting the frustration of unanswered questions and deliberate unexplainable shortcomings!! Human inadequacies of this nature are often times neglected in a movie because the characters in a lot of movies are totally flat!!. "The Subject was Roses" was a film which was tremendously bolstered by well accomplished actors who thoroughly comprehended their roles, thus doing an excellent job of depicting a situation that deals with emotional failure being the norm, rather than the exception to the rule!!! EXCELLENT!!!...I GIVE IT A 10!!!!


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