7.1/10
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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>

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Taglines:

"Deeply moving film!" 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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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

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: You know, it's one of the big regrets of my life I was never in the service?
Timmy Cleary: I know.
John Cleary: The day World War One was declared, I went to the recruiting office. When they learned I was the sole support of the family, they turned me down.
Timmy Cleary: I know.
John Cleary: It's always bothered me. Missing out on the whole thing. I keep wondering what difference it might have made in my life... but then I wonder how I would have made out? Because I wouldn't have settled for a desk job: I would have gone to the Front!
Timmy Cleary: I'm sure of ...
[...]
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Connections

References South Seas Adventure (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Written by Sandy Denny (uncredited)
Sung by Judy Collins
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User Reviews

 
Bouquets for the Weary
12 January 2002 | by See all my reviews

Martin Sheen returns home from the war to the New York apartment of his parents Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson. The return of the soldier brings to the head unspoken hurts and slights that have flamed within this family circle for years. Neal's first role after recovering from several strokes finds her shaky yet determined as the long-suffering wife/mother, while Jack Albertson is full of spit and vinegar as the husband/father who longs to be king of his 2-bedroom castle. Sheen finds himself used as a weapon by each of the parents against each other, yet he sees that deeper than the sparring and disappointments is a deep love between Neal and Albertson. There is a truly moving section of the film, when Neal leaves the family for a day with no explanation and wanders along the beach while the soundtrack plays Judy Collins' haunting "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". I saw this film for the first time last year on TCM, and it has become one of my favorites, due primarily to the emotional performances of Neal, Albertson, and Sheen.


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