Vivien Leigh plays Karen Stone, a middle-aged actress whose career is in a tailspin. To assuage her hurt feelings, Karen goes on a vacation to Rome with her husband, who dies en route. Her best friend (Coral Browne) compassionately arranges for a young Italian escort (read: gigolo) to keep Karen from wallowing in her grief in Rome. The man hired for the task is sneering, contemptuous Pablo di Leo, played by Warren Beatty. Despite Pablo's rude behavior, the lonely Karen throws herself at him, showering him with expensive gifts and demanding his undivided attention. This being an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams novel, Blanche Dubois --er, Karen Stone must pay the piper for her eleventh-hour surfeit of passion; she is dispensed with by an "Angel of Death" in the form of psycho Jeremy Spencer. More operatic than dramatic, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone represents the only feature-film directorial effort of experimental-theatre maven Jose Quintero; his assistant was future Bullitt helmer Peter Yates. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Vivien Leigh's performance pulled at my heartstrings. As a real fan of hers in gone with the wind it is painful to see how close to her real life this movie is. Her desperation really pours out of her heart into the wells of your eyes. Any woman who has ever felt that she loves her significant other, more than they love her will truely know and appreciate the loneliness that "Mrs. Stone" endured.
Interesting study of narcissism and depression. Beatty is wonderfully unlikable. There is a scene in it with a mirror, I won't spoil it, but I remembered it all these years & could not place what movie it was in. Here it is. Leigh portrays mostly premenopausal symptoms but this play came out before those terms were taken for granted. Odd movie without a single likable character. A stretch.