Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Forgotten Movies: THE ROSE TATTOO
I had been meaning to see this film for years and Friday night seemed as good a time as any. I had very mixed feelings about it. Of course, Magnani is magnificent. Her performance manages to be both natural, fiery, and poignant all at the same time. Some of the scenes work so well. But with the introduction of Burt Lancaster, who I usually love, the film goes awry for me. His acting is so over the top that I have to assume he was directed to play his character this way.
Briefly the story concerns a Sicilian family living in the American South. When the husband, the love of Serafina's life dies in an attempt to evade the cops, she is inconsolable, quite mad with grief. It is not until Lancaster comes along that she comes out of it. There's lots more too but that's the general plot.
I have never seen so many women dressed in slips. I have to assume either this was true in the South before AC, true among Sicilian women, true for the mid-fifties or a signature of Anna Magnani.
Directed by Daniel Mann who also did the similarly over- the- top COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, I think taking it down a notch and bringing it off what felt like a stage production would have strengthened it. Too often it felt like characters tossing dialog in a enclosed place. The outdoor scenes were terrific.