An aging actress travels to Rome with her husband; after he suddenly dies during the flight, she begins a passionate affair with a young gigolo.


José Quintero


Tennessee Williams (novel), Gavin Lambert (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Vivien Leigh ... Karen Stone
Warren Beatty ... Paolo di Leo
Coral Browne ... Meg
Jill St. John ... Barbara Bingham
Jeremy Spenser ... Young man
Stella Bonheur ... Mrs. Jamison-Walker
Josephine Brown ... Lucia
Peter Dyneley ... Lloyd Greener
Carl Jaffe ... Baron Waldheim (as Carl Jaffé)
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Tailor
Viola Keats Viola Keats ... Julia McIlheny
Cleo Laine Cleo Laine ... Singer
Bessie Love ... Bunny
Elspeth March ... Mrs. Barrow
Henry McCarty 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


The story of an American woman and her abandonment in Rome


Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Features Lotte Lenya's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »


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


Woman Theatergoer #1: My God, what's happened to Karin Stone?
Woman Theatergoer #2: Yes, isn't it strange?
Woman Theatergoer #1: She used to be so wonderful.
Man Theatergoer #1: Well, you know the time comes when Mother Nature catches up with all you old gals.
Woman Theatergoer #1: Oh, come now, she can't be that old.
Woman Theatergoer #2: Oh, she's forty-five.
Man Theatergoer #2: And then some.
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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 »


Referenced in Inside 'From Russia with Love' (2000) See more »


Love Is a Bore
Music by Richard Addinsell
Lyrics by Paddy Roberts
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User Reviews

Interesting Tennessee Williams tale...good performances...
18 July 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

There's a haunting, poetic quality to some of the lines in 'The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone' and this is as it should be--for the author is none other than Tennessee Williams.

Once again, Vivien Leigh is perfectly cast as a sadly adrift Williams heroine and she is still a fragile looking beauty as the aging actress who finds herself strangely attracted to gigolo Warren Beatty, just one of the studs under the employ of the Contessa (Lotte Lenya). Leigh gives her role all the nuances she could always bring to a part and finally throws caution to the wind when she throws her keys to a man who has been following her, waiting for his chance while keeping a discreet distance. The ending is sheer Williams and does not disappoint.

Ironically, at the same time this was being filmed in Italy, Olivia de Havilland (Vivien's co-star in 'GWTW') was doing an entirely different sort of Italian romance called 'Light in the Piazza' which also made handsome use of Italian locations. In 'Roman Spring' Warren Beatty assumes an Italian accent that is not quite convincing. In 'Light in the Piazza' George Hamilton assumes a somewhat better one and has fun in a more humorous role. Both pictures are entertaining and deserve wider recognition.

Final note: As usual, in 'Light' de Havilland played a more wholesome role. In 'Roman Spring' Vivien was decidedly neurotic. Some say her character was very much like the real Vivien Leigh.

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Release Date:

28 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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