7.1/10
1,066
19 user 4 critic

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:
... Nettie Cleary
... John Cleary
... Timmy Cleary
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:

"Deeply moving film!" 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  »

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

Martin Sheen and Jack Albertson reprised their roles (Timothy Cleary and John Cleary) in this film after previously playing the characters in the stage version on Broadway. See more »

Goofs

After arguing with Timmy about cousin Willis, Nettie goes into her bedroom and pulls down one blind on the door, leaving one up. In the next shot from outside the bedroom, both blinds are down. 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

References The Set-Up (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Me and My Shadow
(uncredited)
Written by Billy Rose and Dave Dreyer
Portion sung by Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen
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User Reviews

Intense Character Study.
6 May 2002 | by See all my reviews

Parents Patricia Neal (Oscar-nominated) and Jack Albertson (Oscar-winning) welcome back son Martin Sheen from World War II and the event leads to emotional fireworks for all involved in this intense and sometimes difficult-to-sit-through drama from 1968. Albertson has ruled with an iron-fist for years and basically done whatever he has wanted to do, while Neal has been stuck in a loveless and heartless marriage. Sheen has always been somewhat unaware of all that had transpired due to being physically sick for much of his youth. Sheen brings roses to his mother and say they are from Albertson and this small, kind gesture starts an almost unending string of events that will affect all three of the key players and in the end happiness is not a certainty by a long-shot. The film is an intense character study in the tradition of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Albertson, known for comedy and sometimes uninspired performances, gives the performance of his lifetime and easily one of the best performances of the 1960s. 4 stars out of 5.


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