Oscar Movies: Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, The

Tennessee Williams considered “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” to be one of the best film versions of his work, probably because it was more faithful to his novella than the other pictures.

However, the story of a young widow and aging American actress buying sexual favors from Italian gigolos was neither evocative nor shocking enough to pull audiences in the early 1960s. But the film did have some redeeming qualities, especially the acting of Lotte Lenya, as a vicious female pimp; Warren Beatty, in one of his earlier films, as the sly and attractive gigolo; and some moments of Vivien Leigh as the aging thespian.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Supporting Actress: Lotte Lenya

Oscar Context

In 1961, Lotte Lenya competed for the Supporting Actress Oscar with Rita Moreno, who won for “West Side Story,” the musical film that swept most of the awards that year, including Best Picture, Director (in this case two helmers), and Supporting Actor for George Chakiris.

The other three nominees were: Fay Bainter in “The Children's Hour,” Judy Garland in “Judgment at Nuremberg,” and Una Merkel in “Summer and Smoke.”

Note that all five supporting actresses were nominated for films that originated as stage productions, and that Lenya and Merkel received nominations for appearances in plays/films by Tennessee Williams.