The Widow (1955 film)

The Widow
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Produced by John G. Nasht
Giorgio Venturini
Written by Lewis Milestone
Louis Stevens
Screenplay by Louis Stevens
Corrado Sofia
Giuseppe Mangione
Based on La Vedova
by Susan York
Starring Patricia Roc
Massimo Serato
Music by Mario Nascimbene
Cinematography Arturo Gallea
Edited by Loris Bellero
Produzione Venturini
Distributed by Distributors Corporation of America (US)
Release dates
  • August 1, 1955 (1955-08-01)
Running time
95 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Widow (U.S. title) is a 1955 Italian black-and-white romantic drama film directed by Lewis Milestone and written by Milestone and Louis Stevens, based upon the novel La Vedova by Susan York.[1] Produced and originally released under the title La Vedova X, the film had theatrical release in Italy in 1955,[2] limited release in the United States in 1957,[3] and was released in France on June 4, 1959 under the title La Veuve. This was the last Milestone film involving his own writing.[4]


Lewis Milestone was affected by blacklisting during the 1950s and found it difficult to find work.[5] He and his wife went to Paris[6] to wait out the "red scare".[7] While working abroad, Lewis Milestone and Diana Vedova directed La Vedova X as a joint British-Italian production. [3] This film followed upon his work in England on Melba in 1953 and They Who Dare in 1954.[8] This marked the last Milestone film involving his own writing.[4] When he returned to the United States, he had to "scrape by"[7] directing episodes for television series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Schlitz Playhouse, Suspicion, and Have Gun - Will Travel,[3][9] before directing Pork Chop Hill in 1959.


Countess Diana Gaston (Patricia Roc) meets Vittorio Serra (Massimo Serato), the grandson of Carlo Serra, a prominent businessman. Convinced that she has met the man for her, she does all she can to keep him in her life. Unfortunately both of them are self-centered and this leads to repeated conflict. Vittorio's passion for auto racing leads to continued disagreements between him and the countess.

Though remaining civil, the two separate over their disagreements even though both believe that they cannot live without the other. When Vittorio attends a party thrown by the countess, he meets Adriana (Anna-Maria Ferrero), who immediately falls in love with him. His indecision over Adriana's attentions causes her to try to make him jealous, but he does not fall for the ploy. Vittorio then leaves on a trip to Sicily, he learns that Diana and Adriana have been corresponding and the jealosy does arise. Even though he loves the countess more, Vittorio asks Adriana to marry him. She refuses. When Diana learns of his proposal, she throws a tantrum and breaks objects precious to Vittirio, objects which she knows he superstitiously depends upon for luck.

Vittrio then learns that out of spite, Adriana has married Bonelli (Leonardo Botta), his friend and fellow auto racer. About to compete against Bonneli in a race, and distraught at the news of the marriage, Vittorio removes his lucky bracelet. Diana has a premonition of bad fortune just before she learns the news that Vittorio has died in a racing crash.



Cinematografo wrote that the plot was unoriginal and uninteresting, and that Lewis Milestone's connection with the film was not enough to overcome its many flaws.[10]

Release notes

While IMDB shows the film release year as being 1959, The New York Times ,[1] Rovi,[4] The British Film Institute and the 1987 book "World Film Directors: 1890-1945"[11] show the release year as 1955. While 1954 is shown as a release deate in the Joseph R. Millichap book "Lewis Milestone",[3] news reports in June 1954 spoke toward Milestone "about to direct" or "currently producing and directing" the film under its working title of The Black Widow,[12][13] and the British Film Institute was writing in 1954 "Lewis Milestone is to start work soon on The Black Widow, with Patricia Roc..."[14] 1954 appears to mark the beginning of production, with 1955 as the correct release year of the film in Italy, a U.S. release in 1957, and 1959 as reported on IMDB coinciding with the film's later French release.


  1. 1 2 "The Widow (1955)". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  2. "La Vedova X". British Film Institute. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Joseph R. Millichap (1981). Lewis Milestone. Twayne's filmmakers series. Twayne Publishers. pp. 178, 213. ISBN 0-8057-9281-3. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Andrea LeVasseur. "The Widow". Rovi. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  5. Peter Lev (2006). Transforming the screen, 1950-1959. University of California Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-520-24966-6.
  6. Norma Barzman (2004). The Red and the Blacklist: The Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate. Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-617-6.
  7. 1 2 Frank Rose (1996). The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business. Frank Rose. pp. 221, 231. ISBN 0-88730-807-4.
  8. Films and filming. Volume 9. Hansom Books. 1962. p. 85. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  9. "Lewis Milestone fimology". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  10. U. Tani (31 August 1956). "Intermezzo". Cinematografo (in Italian). Coming Soon. pp. 15, 16. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  11. John Wakeman (1987). World Film Directors: 1890-1945. Volume 1 of World Film Directors. H.W. Wilson. p. 777.
  12. Edwin Schallert (June 30, 1954). "Gassman's Ophelia Gets Milestone as Director; Robson Pacts Bard Star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  13. A. H. Weiler (June 20, 1954). "Graf Spee Story to Be Filmed & Other Items". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  14. British Film Institute, British Institute of Adult Education (1954). Sight and sound, Volumes 24-25. British Film Institute. p. 67. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
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