Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, The (1961): Tennessee Williams’ Play on Screen, Starring Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty and Lotte Lenya in Oscar Nominated Role

Vivien Leigh plays Karen Stone, a wealthy and beautiful young widow, whose acting successes are a memory. She lives alone in a luxury apartment overlooking the Roman steps where romantic liaisons take place. She soon starts an affair with the young and expensive gigolo, Paolo, played by the young Warren Beatty.

This adaptation of a Tennessee Williams’ novella was poory conceived for the screen Broadway veteran Jose Quintero, who also directed.

Leigh, whose first Best Actress Oscar was for the 1939 “Gone With the Wind,” won her second Oscar for Lazan’s version of Tennessee Williams’ best known play, ” A Streetcar Named Desire,” opposite Brando.

Essaying again a Tennessee Williams part, this time opposite the young and handsome Beatty  does not create a similar spell, though the movie has its share moments of  the romantic, the sinister and even the explosive.

Adding spice to the combustion of the two leads are Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Lotte Lenya as a Contessa who arranges romances in which she has a financial stake and Coral Browne as Karens savvy best friend.

Arguably, the best acting to be seen in American films of the 1950s and 1960s is in the various film versions of Williams’ plays. In this collection, you’ll see the brilliant and young Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Paul Newman, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, and Geraldine Page.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Supporting Actress: Lotte Lenya

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Supporting Actress oscar was Rita Moreno for the musical “West Side Story,” which swept most of the Oscars in 1961.