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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

Vivien Leigh is the star of this gloomy, pessimistic portrait of the artist as a middle-aged widow, from Tennessee Williams' only novel. She portrays a lonely, uncertain ex-actress who has given up her profession and her past to settle in Rome following the sudden death of her wealthy husband. However reluctantly, she soon falls prey to the interests of the fortune-hunting parasites and pimps of Rome who seek monetary rewards in return for romantic favors.

Vivien Leigh is the star of this gloomy, pessimistic portrait of the artist as a middle-aged widow, from Tennessee Williams’ only novel. She portrays a lonely, uncertain ex-actress who has given up her profession and her past to settle in Rome following the sudden death of her wealthy husband. However reluctantly, she soon falls prey to the interests of the fortune-hunting parasites and pimps of Rome who seek monetary rewards in return for romantic favors.

But Leigh has the misfortune to fall in love with her ‘young man’ (Warren Beatty), who convincingly feigns amour, then flutters away on another attractive assignment provided by agent-panderer Lotte Lenya.

Leigh gives an expressive, interesting delineation – projecting intelligence and femininity, as always. Mrs Stone, however, is no Blanche DuBois. There’s less to work with. Although every once in a while a little Guido Panzini creeps into his Italo dialect and Marlon Brando into his posture and expression, Beatty gives a fairly convincing characterization of the young, mercenary punk-gigolo. Lenya is frighteningly sinister as the cunning pimpette.

1962: Nomination: Best Supp. Actress (Lotte Lenya)

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

UK

  • Production: Warner. Director Jose Quintero; Producer Louis de Rochemont; Screenplay Gavin Lambert; Camera Harry Waxman; Editor Ralph Kemplen; Music Richard Addinsell; Art Director Roger Furse
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 103 MIN.
  • With: Vivien Leigh Warren Beatty Coral Browne Jill St John Lotte Lenya Jeremy Spenser