SEPTEMBER 26 - 29, 2019


The 3 Mrs. Stones - The Roman Spring of Mrs.Stone

Three film versions of the 1950 TW novella, The Roman Spring of Mrs.Stone. TW’s friend Donald Windham hassaid it’s TW’s most revealing self-portrait. Pay attention :Tennessee lays bare his own feelings in this story; fear of loneliness, desire for companionship, and ultimately the need for solitude.

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) with Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, and Lotte Lenya, directed by Jose Quintero.

Vivien Leigh (going into her last years of celluloid celebrity) couples with the burgeoning Warren Beatty. Perhaps Leigh was too close to the part and Beatty (playing an Italian gigolo) not close enough, but if you get past his accent, you will see some great acting in a sexy story. Lotte Lenya is purr-fectly predatory in the part of the procuring Contessa. The direction, by first time film director Jose Quintero (who had directed the epochal revival of TW’s Summer and Smoke) lacks the sophistication we expect today. Despite its often leaden feel, the fi lm takes off when Leigh and Beatty (and the scene-masticating Lenya) spar and shine in the more dramaticand intimate scenes. Leigh (the original Blanche) and Beatty are another permutation of Blanche and Stanley engaged in a battle of tenderness and brutality which seeks to reconcile that desire isthe opposite of death.

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003) re-make with Helen Mirren, Olivier Martinez and Anne Bancroft. directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.

A made-for-television movie boasts a script from the hands of fellow playwright Martin (Bent) Sherman, who not only uses TW’s words faithfully, but was extremely prudent and respectful when adding dialogue. Mirren is in full glory, utterly believable, palpable in her desperation. The relatively unknown Olivier Martinez utterly convinces as the gigolo despite his French/ Spanish provenance. There is real attraction between this Mrs. Stone and Paolo. In keeping with how Williams’ novella reads, smart editing and direction yield a fast pace. Anne Bancroft, is perfectly cast as the Contessa: conniving, intelligent, predatory.

– Franco D’Allesandro

 The Drift (1989)

Underground film Director John Aes-Nihil -- his eye (and ear) fixed to what is said and done in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone -- shares his observation that beneath the elegance and wit, lie neither luxury nor intelligence but boredom and vapidity – and that these too, have style of their own. Not all is weary: the furred Lotte Lenya role is furiously performed by the quadriplegic drag queen the Goddess Bunny. Her manicured claw curled around a martini glass is an unforgettable vision of glamour, illusion, belief in one’s beauty, defi ance of fl esh with hopes for the spirit. The rent boys are the real thing, photographed as found objects. The camera linger over them, as Mrs. Stone would with her cold smooth hand. Glen Meadmore is a mannequin in the title role, Mrs. Stone’s best friend is two feet shorter. Hollywood doubles for Rome: that’s The Grand Foyer of the Los Angeles Theatre on Broadway and the Hall of Mirrors in the Women’s Lounge. This is the first of Aes-Nihil’s TW-obsessed trilogy.

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