The Rose Tattoo (film)

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The Rose Tattoo
The Rose Tattoo (1955 film poster).jpg
Original film poster
Directed byDaniel Mann
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Written by
Starring
Music byAlex North
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Editing byWarren Low
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesDecember 12, 1955 (1955-12-12)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish, Italian
Box office$4.2 million (US)[1]
 
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The Rose Tattoo
The Rose Tattoo (1955 film poster).jpg
Original film poster
Directed byDaniel Mann
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Written by
Starring
Music byAlex North
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Editing byWarren Low
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesDecember 12, 1955 (1955-12-12)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish, Italian
Box office$4.2 million (US)[1]

The Rose Tattoo is a 1955 film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play of the same name. It was adapted by Williams and Hal Kanter and directed by Daniel Mann, with stars Anna Magnani, Burt Lancaster, Marisa Pavan and Jo Van Fleet. Williams originally wrote the play for Italian Anna Magnani to play on Broadway in 1951, but she rejected the offer because of her difficulty with the English language at the time. By the time of this film adaptation, she was ready.[2]

Anna Magnani won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, and it also won Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography and received five other nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting actress for Pavan.

Plot[edit]

The film begins with Serafina Delle Rose (Anna Magnani) proudly praising her husband Rosario (David Newell) to her female neighbors in a shopping market, before revealing that she is pregnant with their second child. After returning home she finds Rosario asleep in bed and whispers to him that she is with child. Emerging from his room she finds a young woman named Estelle (Virginia Grey) at the door who wants her to make a shirt for her lover from some expensive silk material. It transpires that Rosario is her lover as, when Serafina is out of the room, she steals a photograph of him from Serafina's sideboard before departing.

Later that night Rosario is out working (he is a van driver) and Serafina is busy working on the shirt for her customer. The women of the neighborhood discover that Rosario has been killed in a road accident whilst trying to speed away from the police; he was smuggling something illegal. When Serafina discovers her beloved husband's demise she collapses, and later the local doctor informs her daughter Rosa (Marisa Pavan) and the women of the neighborhood that Serafina has miscarried.

Three years later Serafina is a recluse, having withdrawn from the world. She has allowed her appearance to deteriorate. It is the day of the high school graduation and the women of the neighborhood are impatiently banging on Serafina's front door for their daughters' graduation dresses, which she has sewn. Rosa is also begging for her graduation dress from her mother, but Serafina has locked them—along with the rest of Rosa's clothes—away. Rosa's teacher turns up in the neighborhood demanding to know what is keeping them. She goes to the Delle Rose household and eventually makes Serafina see sense and she hands all the girls their dresses.

After much thought Serafina decides to attend her daughter's graduation. During this time two women arrive asking if Serafina can quickly mend their bandanas for a festival to which they are going. Serafina reluctantly does so, but is appalled by their talk of men and reprimands them. One of the women, Bessie (Jo Van Fleet), takes offense and informs Serafina that her late husband was having an affair. Serafina does not go to the graduation ceremony after this revelation, but instead sits alone in the dark until Rosa comes home. She is infuriated when Rosa introduces her to her new boyfriend Jack Hunter (Ben Cooper) and insists that she will never see him again.

Rosa then runs away with Jack in disgust at her mother's actions, before a van driver named Alvaro (Burt Lancaster) turns up asking for lodgings. A reluctant Serafina allows him to stay for the night and the two proceed to get drunk. As Alvaro flatters Serafina with compliments she begins to talk of her late husband, mentioning that he used to have a rose tattooed on his chest. Later that night Alvaro returns, having got a rose tattooed on his chest. Serafina is disgusted and goes to throw him out, stating that he is dishonoring Rosario's memory. Seeing the look of discomfort on his face at the mention of her late husband's name, Serafina goes to question him if he knew Rosario or not. Alvaro is uncomfortable, and Serafina goes on to ask him if he was unfaithful to her. When he does not respond she throws him out.

Serafina visits Father De Leo and asks if anyone had confessed about having an affair with Rosario. The priest insists that he cannot divulge this, but the look on his face says it all and she persists. She is thrown out of the chapel, and is mocked by her female neighbors.

Depressed, Serafina meets Alvaro and insists that he drive her to a club her husband used to attend. Once there she meets Estelle who asked her to make a silk shirt for her lover and guesses correctly that she was having an affair with him. Estelle confesses that she was having an affair with Rosario before proceeding to show Serafina the rose tattooed on her chest as a symbol of her love for Rosario. Returning home, Serafina smashes the urn containing Rosario's ashes and gives Alvaro the silk shirt that the woman had wanted made for Rosario, before inviting him to spend the night.

Alvaro turns up hours later at the Delle Rose household intoxicated and, mortified by her actions, Serafina leaves him in a drunken stupor and retires to bed. That night Rosa returns home and falls asleep on the sofa. As Alvaro awakes from his drunken stupor he sees Serafina's beautiful daughter lying there asleep and moves over to kiss her. As he does Rosa wakes up and screams, before confronting her mother as to why there is a strange man in the house.

Serafina gets rid of him, but the following morning she finds him on top of a telephone pole outside her house begging for her forgiveness. Serafina and Rosa are extremely embarrassed and Serafina refuses to leave the house in order to make him come down, much to Rosa's frustration. At that moment Jack arrives and asks Serafina if he can marry Rosa. Serafina is stunned, but seeing that this is what Rosa wants she gives them her consent and they leave to be married. Serafina then calls Alvaro down from the telephone pole before declaring in front of her neighbors that they have to pick up from where they left off the night before. As they enter the house, Serafina puts on the radio whilst Alvaro pours them a drink and they laugh together.

Cast[edit]

Production and release[edit]

Much of the film was shot on location in Key West, Florida, although the setting is not specifically mentioned in the film. The house featured in the film stands to this day and is known, appropriately, as the "Rose Tattoo House".

The premiere of the movie was held at the Hotel Astor, New York on December 2, 1955, with the attendance of Arthur Miller, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield among other celebrities.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards[3]
Nominations

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ Osborne, Robert (1994). 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. London: Abbeville Press. p. 137. ISBN 1-55859-715-8. 
  3. ^ "The Rose Tattoo". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 

External links[edit]