The Subject Was Roses is a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1964 play written by Frank D. Gilroy, who also adapted it for the 1968 film of the same title.
The play had its Broadway premiere on May 25, 1964 at the Royale Theatre, starring Jack Albertson, Irene Dailey and Martin Sheen, and directed by Ulu Grosbard. A major critical and commercial success, the play was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning two for Best Featured Actor (Albertson) and Best Play. For his work in the play, Gilroy won the year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
A rare occurrence, the film was a faithful adaptation of the play and used most of the cast and crew from the film. The only notable exception was the replacement of Irene Dailey with veteran screen actress Patricia Neal. The film proved a significant comeback for Neal, who was still recovering from a debilitating stroke and hadn't appeared on screen since 1965's In Harm's Way. For her performance, Neal was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Leading Actress. Albertson took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Sheen was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role. The film utilized two Judy Collins recordings: Collins' reading of Sandy Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes", played over the film's opening credits, and Collins' own composition "Albatross".
Timmy Cleary (Martin Sheen) returns home from his service during World War II. While he seems to vindicate himself in his father's eyes for surviving the war, his drinking and cursing disturbs his mother. Though his parents, John and Nettie (Jack Albertson and Patricia Neal/Irene Dailey), seem to be happy, the peace proves to be a facade. Soon old emotional wounds and unresolved marital problems resurface. Caught in the middle, Timmy feels responsible for their squabbling, but can see no way to resolve their problems.
Golden Globe Awards