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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 28 December 1961 (USA)
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.

Director:

José Quintero

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 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)
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Storyline

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 <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

contessa | gigolo | actress | death | widow | See All (48) »

Taglines:

The story of an American woman and her abandonment in Rome

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Widow and the Gigolo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?


Goofs

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

Quotes

Campbell Kennedy: Did you see Meg before she left?
Karen Stone: Meg? Where'd she go?
Julia McIlheny: Oh, some place in the Middle East. She says its a big trouble spot.
Karen Stone: I thought everywhere in the Middle East was a big trouble spot.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in High Hopes: The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rather depressing...but well done.
10 November 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In general, it seems that most big name actresses are loathe to admit that time has caught up with them. Too often, as they get older, the become vain about their age and often portray women MUCH younger than they really are. However, in the case of "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone", Vivian Leigh does something rather brave--she plays a woman who is about 50 (just like Leigh was at the time) and who can no longer play these young woman parts. And I can really respect her for playing a character who hits close to home, so to speak.

When the film begins, Karen Stone (Leigh) is starring in a play. The problem is that her character is just too young for this aging actress to play. Not surprisingly, the audience members think the same and instead of continuing, she decides to quit and take her husband to Italy. He's been ill and this is the perfect excuse to allow her to gracefully pull out of the play. However, on the flight to Rome, he has a heart attack and the credits begin. Soon you learn that he died on the flight and Karen is in this strange city...alone and grieving for her husband.

Because Mrs. Stone is so vulnerable, a horrid old lady has been grooming her--grooming her to be taken by a handsome young gigolo, Paulo (Warren Beatty). Slowly, Paolo insinuates herself into Karen's life and after a while, they become lovers. However, some possible problems occur--Paolo MAY be falling for her for real and Karen soon learns that Paolo has taken advantage of other women and is planning on doing this to her as well. Oddly, however, the relationship continues--even though his prey knows what she's getting into with him.

As I watched this movie, I kept wondering why they cast the characters like they did. Although Beatty did a good job as an Italian, why not just get a handsome young Italian actor?! Also, while Leigh was very good, why have her play an American actress--why not change the story to make her a Brit? I just cannot understand the producer's thinking in both these cases.

So is the movie any good? Well, yes. But you also have to have a very high tolerance for seeing a woman in pain and not mind how unrelentingly grim the story is. This isn't surprising, since it's a story from Tennessee Williams.


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