Review: ‘The Black Orchid’

Orchid has a flavor of Marty, a touch of Wild Is the Wind. The story threads and changing emotions are securely locked in through Martin Ritt's honest direction. Without pushing, he tells an intricately drawn story with a smooth, authoritative hand.

Orchid has a flavor of Marty, a touch of Wild Is the Wind. The story threads and changing emotions are securely locked in through Martin Ritt’s honest direction. Without pushing, he tells an intricately drawn story with a smooth, authoritative hand.

As the widower who falls in love with the pretty widow, Anthony Quinn is excellent, uniting charm with strength. Sophia Loren plays with notable feeling, convincingly portraying the mother, the widow and the bride.

The black orchid literally is a white rose – Rose Bianco – who is the late widow of a man she helped turn to crime to satisfy her own desires. Played by Loren, she mourns her husband and mourns what she has done when a widower (Quinn), with a daughter about to be married, comes along with a joyous manner and serious intentions.

The film technically is excellent, Robert Burks’ photography standing out adeptly in black-and-white VistaVision. The musical score by Alessandro Cicognini aptly points up contrasts in the story.

The Black Orchid

Production

Paramount. Director Martin Ritt; Producer Carlo Ponti, Marcello Girosi; Screenplay Joseph Stefano; Camera Robert Burks; Editor Howard Smith; Music Alessandro Cicognini; Art Director Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1959. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Sophia Loren Anthony Quinn Mark Richman Ina Balin Virginia Vincent Frank Puglia

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