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SUBJECT WAS ROSES, THE(director: Ulu Grosbard; screenwriter: based on the story and Broadway play by Frank Gilroy/Frank Gilroy; cinematographer: Jack Priestley; editor: Jerry Greenberg; music: Lee Pockriss; cast: Patricia Neal (Nettie Cleary), Jack Albertson (John Cleary), Martin Sheen (Timmy Cleary), Don Saxon (Nightclub Master of Ceremonies), Elaine Williams (Woman), Grant Gordon (Man in Restaurant); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Edgar Lansbury; MGM; 1968)
The “kitchen sink” drama was largely effective because of the superb acting and dialogue.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

‘Roses’ is based on Frank Gilroy’s 1964 Pulitzer Prize-winner on Broadway. This was the first film made after Patricia Neal suffered three massive and near-fatal strokes, early in 1965. Directorial debut of Ulu Grosbard (“Straight Time”/”True Confessions”/”Georgia”) is a respectable one.Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen reprise their stage roles. The “kitchen sink” drama was largely effective because of the superb acting and dialogue.Though the film lacked cinematic value, it was intelligently conceived much like a play.

John Cleary (Jack Albertson) andNettie Cleary (Patricia Neal) are a bickering couple, whose 20-year-old son Timothy (Martin Sheen) returns to his Bronx home after his Army duty discharge during WWII. His arrival ignites the lingering family’s discord. Tim was pampered by his over-protective mom and had some issues with his alcoholic salesman dad. Mom and dad try to put on a happy face for Tim, but soon revert to arguing as the family’s strained relationship is highlighted. Timmy has the unpleasant task of trying to bring them together, and decides to live on his own so his folks won’t openly fight over him.

Former vaudevillian Jack Albertson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; Patricia Neal received a nomination for Best Actress.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”