Time to Remake this Classic Film!
It has been over fifty years since Anna Magnani played the wonderful
and tormented Serafina Della Rosa for Tennessee Williams' Rose Tattoo.
Anyway, I think it's time somebody out there reconsidered updating this
film to today's color. How about Linda Fiorentino who is about the same
age as Anna Magnani was for The Rose Tattoo? Sadly, I wrote and sent a
DVD and an original first edition book of The Rose Tattoo to Linda's
representatives in Los Angeles but to no response as of yet. Maybe they
think that nobody would be interested in a story about a mature Italian
American woman tormented inside, pretending to be outside. Of course,
there are other actresses who can do the role whether on stage which it
still is or for a television movie or film. I thought Anna's
performance was remarkable in that she was raw, determined, fierce, yet
vulnerable and heartbroken. It reminds us that good films are not about
special effects, violence, or sexuality but about a story, characters
that we love and never forget..
So much for subtle!!
I think in many ways it's hard to see and appreciate "The Rose Tattoo"
today. While in 1955 it was a hit and earned Anna Magnani the Oscar for
Best Actress, to me today her performance seemed incredibly broad and
overdone. At the time, people marveled at her earthiness and
intensity--now, many would see this as overacting. To put it very
bluntly, she screamed, ranted and acted more like a cow in extreme need
of a c-section instead of a real person! Subtle her performance wasn't!
As for the story, it has some interesting elements and if the director
had pushed for a slower and more restrained performance, I would have
enjoyed it immensely. It begins with a man getting killed while being
chased by police. He was a smuggler and he left a wife (Magnani) and
daughter. Since his death, the wife has gotten in a rut--feeling sorry
for herself, behaving horribly towards everyone around her and trying
to convince herself that her husband was a much better man than he
really was. However, no matter how hard she tries to distract herself
by screaming and being unpleasant, these actions can't suffice to
distract her completely--she worries that what neighbors say is
correct--her husband had been cheating on her. As a result, she cycles
between extreme anger and extreme piety--driving her poor daughter
crazy in the process.
Nothing seems to be able to get her out of this funk until one day
(about half way through the film) when she meets a vivacious younger
man (Burt Lancaster) who, oddly, seems taken with her! Why? I have no
idea, as Magnani's character is a pig in many ways--disheveled and with
the personality of a boar! And, speaking of a character who is
annoying, what's with Burt Lancaster? As I said above, his character is
drawn to Magnani and this makes little sense--nor does his rushing out
to get a tattoo to impress her just after he meets her. At first, his
character was interesting, but after a while he, too, was anything but
subtle. The combination of him and Magnani is simply too much for one
I have seen about every Tennessee Williams film and would have to say
this is one of the weakest. The plot isn't bad but the characters are
just too shrill and tough to believe. The story should have been a lot
better. And, frankly, I wonder how Sicilians felt watching this, as the
Magnani's character seems to portray these Italians in a less than