|THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE (director/writer: Jose Quintero; screenwriter: Gavin Lambert/from the novel by Tennessee Williams; cinematographer: Harry Waxman; editor: Ralph Kemplen; music: Richard Addinsell; cast: Vivien Leigh (Karen Stone), Warren Beatty (Paolo di Leo), Lotte Lenya (Countess Magda Terribili-Gonzales ), Coral Browne (Meg), Jill St. John (Barbara Bingham), Stella Bonheur (Mrs. Jamison-Walker), Bessie Love (Bunny), John Phillips (Tom Stone), Jeremy Spenser (Young Psycho); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louis de Rochemont; Warner Bros.; 1961-UK)|
|"The disappointing pic is right in
Vivian Leigh's wheel-house, as she inhabits
her aging and fading beauty character to the
fullest and gives a superb performance."
by Dennis Schwartz
feature-film directorial effort of
experimental-theatre maven Jose
Quintero is unfulfilling because of stagy
dialogue and plodding direction. Writer Gavin
Lambert adapts it from the first and only
full-length novel by Tennessee Williams.
The drama reeks of gloom and moral decline, making it
an unpleasant watch. But the disappointing pic is
right in Vivian Leigh's wheel-house, as she inhabits
her aging and fading beauty character to the fullest
and gives a superb performance.
the 45-year-old actress Karen Stone (Vivien
Leigh) bombs in a Shakespeare play in London,
she quits show business and talks her ailing much
older wealthy businessman husband Tom (John Phillips)
into going with her on an extended vacation to Rome.
When Tom dies of a stroke on the flight over, Karen
decides to live in Rome, anyway, and resides in a
luxurious apartment. Manipulative business-minded
Contessa Magda (Lotte Lenya, German actress),
a procurer, takes advantage of the lonely and insecure
woman and introduces her to the handsome young gigolo
Paolo di Leo (Warren Beatty).
He is employed by the Contessa to begin a romance with
Karen and take her for as much money as possible.
While the gigolo professes his phony love for her, the
lonely woman falls for his act and falls madly in love
with him. But the Contessa tires of Karen
giving her boy only expensive gifts and not paying him
off in big money for his services, and re-assigns the
young mercenary to court the young
rich Hollywood actress Barbara Bingham (Jill
St. John). For Karen, she's resigned into
accepting her life ended when she could no longer play
parts for younger actresses.
lushly filmed pic has nice scenery to look at, but the
degradation of Karen Stone left me feeling cold.
REVIEWED ON 4/17/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ