Magnani as a Tennessee Williams heroine yields heavy-duty dramatic fireworks in this seething saga of sexual repression. The playwright wrote the role of Serafina Delle Rose—a pious but volatile Sicilian wife and mother living in the American South—with her in mind. Enamored with a husband who is cheating on her, Serafina goes into a state of shock and denial when he dies suddenly. Her unlikely white knight is an impetuous, overgrown man-child (Burt Lancaster), and the two make as mismatched a pair of misfits as ever graced the screen. In her first Hollywood film, Magnani unleashed her hundred-proof emotional intensity in full force and was rewarded with the Best Actress Oscar. Also receiving an Academy Award was the luscious black-and-white cinematography courtesy of the great James Wong Howe. 35mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.
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