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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Sous-titres français) [Import]

Vivien Leigh , Warren Beatty , José Quintero    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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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

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Vivian leigh romances Warren Beatty. May 20 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Vivian Leigh (Gone With The Wind [1939]) plays a Broadway star, Mrs. Karen Stone. She is 48 years of age. Her husband suddenly dies on an airplane trip. She retreats to Rome. She is mouring, miserable and lonely. She meets a Contessa (Lotte Lenya) who arranges a young french man, Paolo (Warren Beatty) to be "company" to her. Paolo is an "escort", a "gigolo" if you will. Mrs. Stone and Paolo begin to date on a professional level. It is nothing but cordial. After weeks of courting and Mrs. Stone keeping this "arrangement" at a discreet level, she finally relaxes with Paolo and recites the memorable line, "When the time comes when nobody desires me for myself, I'd rather not be desired at all." Mrs. Stone awaits in the bed. Paolo catches the hint and takes the lead and they make love for the first time. A wild romance begins. It is love springs eternal for mrs. Stone. But can this may-December romance last? The very surprise end of this film will have your mouth dropped wide open. If your jaws are not sore already. Very provocative and sexy film for 1961 and even for 48 year old Vivian Leigh. Also in the cast: Jill St. John, Jean Marsh and Coral Browne. Sadly, Vivian Leigh died six years later after this film in 1967.
Lotte Lenya was in From Russia With Love (1963). Jill St. John was in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Both are "James Bond 007" films.
Showtime cable network presented a 2002 version of "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stome", starring Helen Mirren and Olivier Martinez with Anne Bancroft. This 2002 version is a much better version in adult storytelling and is jaw-dropping and erotic as well. "(...). Available on DVD.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "FLEETING CONSUMMATIONS" Feb. 13 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Yet, one more study of intense loneliness captured by Vivien Leigh as the freshly widowed actress - alone, affluent, and so bored in the Eternal City,
It's that vacuous 'la dolce vita' climate for her until a rather 'shady' madame [a scary Lotte Lenya] procures a companion - Warren Beatty, with obligatory accent, he defines "boy- toy" in this one!
This premise is vaguely dated, and everyone seems to be having a real bad hair day [ugh! those ugly wigs!], and our Karen is suitably disillusioned as the evenings churn on and on ....

Good moments from Corale Brown and Jill St. John in supporting roles BUT it's that wonderful free-spirited, is it[?] conclusion [similar to 'Summer and Smoke'] that stays! Another Great view from the Terrace! AND just what is it with these lone American ladies abroad??
Good companion to Hepburn's "Summertime" - possibly "Death In Venice" [just a shade darker though.........]
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4.0 out of 5 stars reading between the lines.... July 30 2003
Format:VHS Tape
As usual,in the day, Hollywood manages to turn a Tenessee Williams into a Barbara Cartland. not so much a "bodice-ripper", more of a "feel-copper"
Karen Stone is the quintessential woman on the verge and Paolo is the tart that will keep her teetering there.
Warren Beatty (with an accent equal only to Dick Van Dyke's "chimernee" sweep) looks the part, all low rent in high fashion.
Miss Leigh about to lose her marbles at any moment, wondering whether this is scripted or the real world.
Coral Browne as butch as ever and a great performance by Lotte Lenya, doing an early rehearsal for "Rosa Klebb".
4 stars for cinematic camp, especially the sets, (the villa party set is tragic!), but it needs Sir Ian McKellan in a modern remake... (as "Darren Stone".)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Leigh saves the day! June 13 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In this rather tepid film suave Warren Beatty attempts to seduce aging actress Vivien Leigh following the death of her husband. Based on a story by Tennessee Williams, this was one of Leigh's last, great showcases. Even towards the end of her life she still remained captivating (and a consumate actress). Her performance makes this slow, trying film worthwhile. Warren Beatty approaches camp with his greasy giggolo character, and the accent is just a touch shaky. At any rate, Lotte Lenya received a well-deserved Oscar nod for her perfomance as Beatty's "arranger of romances."
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3.0 out of 5 stars Leigh saves the day! June 13 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In this rather tepid film suave Warren Beatty attempts to seduce aging actress Vivien Leigh following the death of her husband. Based on a story by Tennessee Williams, this was one of Leigh's last, great showcases. Even towards the end of her life she still remained captivating (and a consumate actress). Her performance makes this slow, trying film worthwhile. Warren Beatty approaches camp with his greasy giggolo character, and the accent is just a touch shaky. At any rate, Lotte Lenya received a well-deserved Oscar nod for her perfomance as Beatty's "arranger of romances."
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