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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)

Vivien Leigh , Warren Beatty , José Quintero  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Coral Browne, Jill St. John, Jeremy Spenser
  • Directors: José Quintero
  • Writers: Gavin Lambert, Jan Read, Tennessee Williams
  • Producers: Lothar Wolff, Louis De Rochemont
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EBD9TO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,551 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New featurette The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone: Looking for Love in All the Dark Corners
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 terrace. Soon, a contessa comes calling and introduces Mrs. Stone and a young man named Paola. A wary Mrs. Stone ultimately succumbs to Paolo's charms.

DVD Features:
Featurette:? New Featurette Mrs. Stone: Looking for Love in All the Dark Corners

Vivien Leigh, so stirringly memorable as Blanche in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, stars in this 1961 adaptation of Williams's only novella, giving a nuanced, slightly neurotic performance that is haunting and all the more tragic by its being one of the actress's last performances before her sad death at age 53. Leigh plays Karen Stone, a 50-ish theater actress whose comeback vehicle never gets off the ground; en route to Rome for a brief escape, she's devastated by the sudden death of her beloved husband. She decides to stay in Rome, and there, her loneliness takes root against the spectacular backdrop of the city. Lotte Lenya plays a viperous contessa who pimps young men to older rich ladies, and introduces the handsome Paolo (played with dissolute perfection--though his Italian accent is shaky--by Warren Beatty) to Mrs. Stone. Leigh's performance is unnervingly raw, though one wonders why a woman with a long, happy marriage and at least one very real friend (played by Coral Browne) should be doomed to such relentless loneliness--surely she and her hubby had some pals back in New York? But with Williams, you simply must go along for the ride, and the journey through the emotional dark spaces of Mrs. Stone's life is gripping. The location shots of the glorious, decaying beauty of Rome are fabulous, as are the costumes. Extras include a featurette, Mrs. Stone: Looking for Love in All the Dark Corners. --A.T. Hurley

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "But we are all drifting Mrs. Stone" May 5, 2006
By A Customer
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect, yet deeply poignant December 4, 2006
By profile
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is a magnificent failure of a film: it addresses the themes of fear, self-loathing and the decay of age more sensitively than any other Hollywood film which springs to mind, but ultimately feels a bit cramped and over-done at times. Based on a Tennesee Williams novel, it tells the story of Karen Stone, an aging actress known for her light, comedic performances, who, after a failed turn in Shakespeare's As You Like It begins to fret that her career is over. She makes the decision to set off for Rome with her husband, who dies on the plane taking them there. She meets up with a handsome young money-hungry gigolo, played by an out-of-his-league Warren Beattie, whose terrible faux-Italian accent threatens to turn this film into camp. It contains one of Vivien Leigh's darkest and most autobiographical turns as the miserable Mrs. Stone, who shacks up with Beattie to try to bring some meaning to her life. She is as beautiful and sensitive here as she ever was. Two excellent performances by Lotte Lenya and Coral Browne help to bolster the film's quality. Lotte Lenya's lends a superb performance as the witch-like Contessa whose stable of handsome boys entertain the bored, wealthy American expatriates, both male and female. The always-engaging Coral Browne is brilliant as Karen's close friend, Meg, who attempts to help her and pull her out of the downward spiral of decay in which she is so clearly headed. A bonus featurette on the DVD discusses the troubled making of the film, it is particularly poignant in its discussions of the insecurities that Williams, Leigh and Beattie faced at the time of the film's creation.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Taking on the role of Karen Stone was an act of considerable courage by Vivien Leigh; there were too many unfortunate parallels where life imitated art. Mrs. Stone loses her husband of twenty years to a fatal heart attack, Ms. Leigh was divorced from her husband of twenty years Sir Laurence Olivier shortly before she began filming, which was his choice not hers. Both were starting new lives alone, were approximately the same age in the late forties, and were worried about aging and losing their beauty, and as both were actresses, the scarcity of roles that were age appropriate. That is where the resemblance ends however; Mrs. Stone inevitably gives in to despair, but not so Vivien Leigh who would gallantly challenge and valiantly fight the cruel fates of manic depression, aging and tuberculosis that would ultimately cause her untimely death at age fifty-three.

Based on a Tennessee Williams novella, "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" is the story of a renowned middle-aged American actress Karen Stone (Leigh), who flees to Rome with her wealthy invalid husband (John Phillips) after a disastrous try as Shakespeare's young heroine Rosalind in "As You Like It". En route, Mr. Stone succumbs to heart failure. Bereft of both her husband and her career, Mrs. Stone decides to take an apartment and remain in Rome indefinitely. At loose ends, she is increasingly aware she's beginning to "drift" without any direction, which alarms her. This plus her status as a vulnerable rich widow, makes her prey for an unsavory Contessa (Lotte Lenya) who is nothing more than a female pimp that dangles vain pretty boy Paulo DiLeo (Warren Beatty) in Mrs. Stone's path. At first resistant, Mrs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 12 days ago by Patricia Holder
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Boyfriend loved this movie
Published 13 days ago by WG Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
A very grownup Vivien Leigh and her acting skills just got better with age. Hard to see her, though as an older actress, but do admire her making the movie.!
Published 6 months ago by NanAnn
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!
I received my movie yesterday. I LOVE this movie. I recently watched the remake with Helen Mirren. HATED IT!!!! It was nothing more than soft porn. The original is very well done. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sondra C. Celese
5.0 out of 5 stars nastalgic
arrived just packaged perfectly
i cannot wait to watch it
what a good old movie
when the stars were SO young!!
Published 9 months ago by Patti E.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
This was the older version of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. I prefer the newer one with Helen Mirren and Oliver Martinez. The story line was better and the acting was better.
Published 10 months ago by Lavender
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Spring of Mrs Stone
'Roman Spring of Mrs Stone' is so sensuous lwhich is lacking in most current films. I rate this the highest of classic films.
Published 12 months ago by Richard M. Sacksteder
5.0 out of 5 stars The roman spring of mrs Stone
I loved this kind of movie well played actors sad some but would highly recmmend lady even loved it.
Published 16 months ago by julie layman
2.0 out of 5 stars Vivien vs. Helen
Vivien Leigh Seems lethargic throughout the movie, as though she wasn't very interested in the role. The version of this film with Helen Mirren in the title role is far better
Published 18 months ago by Edward W. Roth
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Final Film
Rome after WWII was a bleak city with widespread destructions and rampant poverty.
This story is about the loneliness and escapades of a newly widowed past-prime stage... Read more
Published 19 months ago by B. Ying
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