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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone
Actors: Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Coral Browne, Jill St. John, Jeremy Spenser
Director: José Quintero
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     1hr 43min

An ageing starlet is off to vacation in Rome with her husband when he suffers a fatal heart attack on the plane. Mrs. Stone stays in Rome where she leases a magnificent apartment with a view of the seven hills from the ter...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Coral Browne, Jill St. John, Jeremy Spenser
Director: José Quintero
Creators: Harry Waxman, Ralph Kemplen, Lothar Wolff, Louis De Rochemont, Gavin Lambert, Jan Read, Tennessee Williams
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Classics, Television
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/02/2006
Original Release Date: 12/28/1961
Theatrical Release Date: 12/28/1961
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

"But we are all drifting Mrs. Stone"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is a film about need and seduction and the fear of being all-alone in the world. Legendary New York stage actress Karen Stone (the legendary Vivian Leigh) is unhappy with her latest performance, and is even more distraught when the play turns out to be a flop. She decides to retire from acting, telling everyone she needs a holiday to take care of her ailing husband.

However, when he dies on board a jetliner on the way to Rome, she decides to stay in the City and book herself into a lavish rooftop apartment. She wonders the streets, drifting in a haze of expensive loneliness, wondering what to do with her life now that acting is over for her. She soon falls in with the Contessa (Lotte Lenya), a female pimp, and a sharp procuress of handsome young men for forlorn wealthy old widows.

The Contessa hooks her up with the young Paolo di Leo (Warren Beatty). The sexy Paolo thinks nothing of acquiring money out of rich, older women, and with the Contessa's encouragement, he wines and dines Karen. Karen, however, isn't your typical widow. At around fifty, she's is still very beautiful, although she worries about getting older, she's obviously enamored of Paolo and she's desperate for affection, but she's determined that Paolo's need for money will not triumph her need for love.

They eventually become lovers. Karen showers gifts upon Paolo and they take a trip to Tangier. The Contessa becomes furious that Paolo isn't "cutting her fifty-fifty on the deal." Karen also doesn't heed the warnings of her friend, journalist Meg (Coral Browne) that she has "a disease" that can't be fulfilled. When Paolo begins to make the movies on younger starlet Barbara Bingham (Jill St. John), Karen begins to see Paolo for what he really is.

Based in Tennessee Williams novella, Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is full of his trademark themes of desperation and isolation of fearful people aching to connect. There's no doubt that Paolo is an attractive man, but he's also selfish, spoilt and petulant and he thinks nothing of two-timing Karen. Karen is an intelligent and intuitive woman, and she's well aware of Paolo's agenda, but it's as though she's observing life through a looking glass, and is ultimately seduced by the gigolo lifestyle.

Director Jos? Quintero bathes the movie soft hews of gold and orange and he makes the most of Rome's stunning surrounds. Vivien Leigh remains a rather downcast presence - she's plays Karen with a fascinating mixture of neurosis and foreboding, she knows the relationship with Paolo will probably lead nowhere but she just can't help herself.

When their romance starts to sour, she and her young and deceitful companion trade sharp words but there no extravagant theatrical exchanges. Likewise Beatty plays down the truculent Paolo - much has been made of his Italian accent, but I found it perfectly suitable, and he's totally convincing as a manipulative pretty-boy Italian gigolo.

The Romance of Mrs. Stone was probably pretty sensational when it was released in 1961; and it's moral ambiguities - paying for sex and high-class prostitution, quite shocking to some. The film as aged well, although it dances around the more intimate aspects of the relationship - there's only one short love scene, which fades to black - the film certainly does a good job of highlighting the trials and tribulations of poor lonely women with bags of money who find themselves at a loss, living in exotic places and desiring to connect with someone. Mike Leonard May 06.
Touching and Heart-breaking
algabal | 10/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is the most wonderful moment to enjoy Vivien's outstanding performance. The role suits her very much. She could touch those hearts who are also losing their youth. This film is just as good as Katherine Hepburn's "Summertime"."
Beauty and elegance
algabal | 08/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"why you should buy this wonderful movie... -to breathe the magic aura of Rome in the 60's -to admire 24-year-old and breathtakingly handsome Warren Beatty,and Vivien Leigh's great performance and Balmain couture clothes Great Great Great"
Edward Oleksak | New Jersey USA | 02/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Get it too see Vivien Leigh in her fragile second to last film roll (it was "art imitating life"). She was fascinating in everything she did.
Warren Beatty's "preformance" is excruiatingly "high school play" - way out of his league with Leigh, Lotte Lenya (an over the top, scenery-chewing interpretation), and Coral Browne. Beatty's accent is "Eye-Talian" rather than Italian, his continental "flair", that of a soda-jerk (it's right up there in miscasting idiocy with John Wayne's, Genghis Kahn (THE CONQUEROR) but embarrassing instead of hilarious {Wayne}.
I have a sentimental soft-spot for this film, but in reality it really isn't a success the SHOWTIME adaptation ( with the great Helen Mirren) is very close to the original short story. In 1961 the moronic censors would not allow a Williams adaptation to be filmed without major alterations (A Streetcar Named Desire - Sweet Bird of Youth - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, were all but ruined had it not been for some very clever screenwriters).
The DVD transfer is good - with the Trailer and a short infomative documentary about it's making.
If you can afford both versions, by all means get both, otherwise SHOWTIME made the definitive "ROMAN SPRING"."