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The Subject Was Roses (1968)

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

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
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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Language:

Release Date:

12 February 1970 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Três Estranhos  »

Filming Locations:

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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

The "shabby genteel" Bronx apartment in Frank D. Gilroy's largely autobiographical "The Subject Was Roses" was recreated and filmed in a warehouse on New York's West 26th Street. Exterior scenes of the Bronx were filmed in that borough's University Heights section, where Pulitzer-winning playwright Frank D. Gilroy spent the first eighteen years of his life before serving in World War II. The neighborhood had changed a great deal in twenty-plus years and was now "down at the heels" but a number of older residents remembered the Gilroy family from back in the day. For authenticity, crew members rolled back prices in the window of a vegetable store to 1946, posted signs to buy War Bonds, and lined the street with period automobiles. Said one older resident: "They even cleaned up the streets. Humph, it takes a movie company to get this neighborhood cleaned up." See more »

Goofs

Though closing credits say movie was filmed entirely in NYC, some was filmed in Spring Lake, New Jersey. See more »

Quotes

John Cleary: You don't know what you believe in?
Timmy Cleary: Do you?
John Cleary: Yes!
Timmy Cleary: Tell me. Go on...
John Cleary: I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I believe God created Man in his own image...
Timmy Cleary: [Interrupting] Pop! If your faith works for you, I'm glad. Really, I'm very glad. I wish it worked for me, but it doesn't.
John Cleary: Do you believe in God - yes or no?
Timmy Cleary: I don't believe in heaven or hell or purgatory...
John Cleary: [Interrupting, shouting] YES or NO!
Timmy Cleary: I believe there is something bigger than myself. What you call it or what it is, I don't ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Albatross
Written by Judy Collins (uncredited)
Sung by Judy Collins
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User Reviews

 
Defining a dysfunctional family.
19 March 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Basically a stage play set to film, Roses showcases some real acting talent. The talent referred to belongs to Jack Albertson (who one the Oscar for Best Actor), Patricia Neal, and a young Martin Sheen. Aside from two minor roles, these are the only actors in the play/film. So are they good enough to hold your attention? You bet. This film just clips right along.

Reminiscent of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", Roses is about the cold relationship between a husband, his wife, and, to a lesser degree, their son. There is no laughter, no touching, no warmth. There is plenty of anger, denial, and despair. These people are pretty much total dysfunctional. Do their conflicts end up being resolved? You tell me.


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