MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,763 this week

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Mystery  -  June 1991 (USA)
6.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 498 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 9 critic

A tangled triangle. In the rural South of the early 20th century, Miss Amelia is the town eccentric, selling corn liquor and dispensing medicine. She takes in her half-sister's son, a ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(play), , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 13 Jul 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 27 Jul 2012
 
a list of 260 titles
created 28 Mar 2013
 
a list of 24 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 154 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991)

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Wolfsbergen (2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Konraad, 83, has written a letter to his relatives saying he wants to die. Maria, Konraads daughter and only child... See full synopsis »

Director: Nanouk Leopold
Stars: Piet Kamerman, Catherine ten Bruggencate, Jan Decleir
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 14 year-old daughter.

Director: Robert Ellis Miller
Stars: Alan Arkin, Sondra Locke, Laurinda Barrett
Red Bear (2002)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Bear has never gotten over the separation from his wife and daughter after having been convicted for armed robbery and homicide and sent to prison. Now he is out, to finally get his cut of ... See full summary »

Director: Adrián Caetano
Stars: Julio Chávez, Soledad Villamil, Luis Machín
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A well-to-do Connecticut family is upended when the grown daughter's godparents, seized by a nameless terror, decide they've come to live with them.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lee Remick
Friends (1971)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

With one of their fathers recently deceased and the other hardly there, fate brings together fourteen-year-old Michelle, a young orphaned girl (Anicée Alvina) who has been taken in by her ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Sean Bury, Anicée Alvina, Ronald Lewis
Il giovane Casanova (TV Movie 2002)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Dashing through the streets of Venice, slipping from the clutches of the law, darting across Europe in search of new challenges, Giacomo Casanova races through life with irrepressible ... See full summary »

Director: Giacomo Battiato
Stars: Stefano Accorsi, Thierry Lhermitte, Cristiana Capotondi
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Boston feminist and a conservative Southern lawyer contend for the heart and mind of a beautiful and bright girl unsure of her future.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Tandy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Youssef Chahine
Stars: Naglaa Fathy, Ahmed Zaki, Farid Shawqi
2/Duo (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Nobuhiro Suwa
Stars: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Makiko Watanabe, Miyuki Yamamoto
Hysteria (1997)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The inmates of an insane asylum are subjected to experiments using collective consciousness and surgically implanted chips in an attempt to create perfect citizens.

Director: Rene Daalder
Stars: Patrick McGoohan, Amanda Plummer, Michael Maloney
Yogisha (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Kôsaku Yamashita
Stars: Yukiyo Toake, Kumiko Akiyoshi, Ken'ichi Hagiwara
Zoo story (TV Movie 1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Görel Hallström
Stars: Carl-Ivar Nilsson, Tomas Pontén
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Miss Amelia
...
Marvin Macy
Cork Hubbert ...
Cousin Lymon
...
...
Lawyer Taylor
...
Lanny Flaherty ...
Merlie Ryan
Mert Hatfield ...
Stumpy McPhail
...
Henry Macy
Anne Pitoniak ...
Mrs. McPhail
Frederick Johnson ...
Jeff
Lauri Raymond ...
Sadie Ricketts
...
Henry Ford Crimp (as Joe Stephens)
Keith Wommack ...
Tom Rainey
Kevin Wommack ...
George Rainey
Edit

Storyline

A tangled triangle. In the rural South of the early 20th century, Miss Amelia is the town eccentric, selling corn liquor and dispensing medicine. She takes in her half-sister's son, a diminutive crook-back named Lymon. He suggests they open a café in the downstairs of her large house. Marvin Macy gets out of prison and returns to town; turns out he was married to Amelia but it wasn't consummated. He pleaded, then got angry. Is he back for revenge? Eventually, Amelia and Marvin stage a no-holds-barred fight in the café. Lymon's complicated response to Marvin and to Cousin Amelia figures in the resolution. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

June 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Balada das Paixões  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$184,890 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" by Edward Albee opened at the Martin Beck Theater in New York on October 30, 1963, ran for 123 performances, won the 1964 Tony Award for the Best Play and was the basis for the screenplay for this filmed production. See more »

Goofs

Several times earlier in the film, we are shown how the only way to arrive at Miss Amelia's secret still is by wading - neck-deep - through a muddy swamp. Yet late in the film when Marvin Macy and Cousin Lymon are shown at Miss Amelia's still, their clothes are clean and dry. See more »

Quotes

Mary Hale: Marvin changed himself. That time he loved Miss Amelia. Well, it seemed like he changed completely -- he was -- he was good to me, and to Henry... You remember that, doncha'?
Rev. Willin: I remember that.
Mary Hale: Why'd she throw him out? Why'd she marry him and then throw him out? Why?
Rev. Willin: I don't know. All I know is... that it takes two people to be in love. It takes the... lover... and the beloved. But these two, they come from... diff'rent countries. And sometimes, the... the belove is the cause for all the, all the...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Redgrave: From Huncback To Giantess
28 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Confirms Vannessa Redgraves status are one of the great actresses, a suspicion I first had watching "The Devils"(which if you haven't seen, you need to see, asap.).

Miss Amelia is the wealthiest women in a small southern town, she is tall, muscular, lean, and not at all ladylike. She serves as the towns doctor, as well as its chief landlord, and money lender. She brews the towns only supply of alcohol, in a distillery accessible only by a swim through the swamp. She is the town eccentric, but also the pillar of the community, everyone owes her something and without her nothing gets done. She lives a solemn and lonely life(writing stories, keeping up with her business), and is otherwise content, until a dwarf with a hunchback shows up, claiming to be her cousin.

The photograph he shows her of his mother, half sister of her mother, is too blurry to be unidentifiable, but she accepts him just the same. Cousin Lymon can do magic, tell jokes, and plays the harmonica. He encourages her to turn her general store into a café, where people can drink inside(not just on the porch), where the piano can be played, and company can be had. The café, brings a life to the dismal town, where once there was none.

The town is shocked by the sudden turnaround in their own lives and Amelias who goes from wearing her usual blue jeans suspenders to dresses(something they cant remember since she was a girl). Amelia dotes on Lymon, buys a car to drive him into the city, and all is well, until Amelia's husband, Marvin Macy returns from prison.

Marvin Macy, was in love with Amelia years ago, and thought his proposal to her would turn his sordid life around. She agreed to the marriage amicably enough, until the wedding night. Then she threw him down the stairs and insisted he sleep in the barn. Macy then turned over all his property to her to woo, her, but alas, to the barn he was sent. Til he eventually abandoned the town altogether, after one emasculating episode too many.

When he returns, cousin Lymon is immediately smitten with him, he cant wait to talk to someone whose been on a "chain gang, to Atlanta, and in a real prison." Lymon is something of a child, and Macy is a "man". There's a good deal of ambiguity in the sexuality of both Lymon and Amelia, though.

Macy abuses Lymon, more and more who follows him like a puppy, while Amelia withers watching and waiting for Lymon, to give up his infatuation, so it can be just the two of them again. A love without the sex(presumably, and implicitly), a companionship which she can accept and return.

The towns reverend tells Macy's sister in law, "All I know is... that it takes two people to be in love. It takes the... lover... and the beloved. But these two, they come from... diff'rent countries. And sometimes, the... the beloved is the cause for all the, all the stored-up love that's lain in the heart of the lover for such... a long time, and every lover knows that... deep... deep in his soul, he knows that his love is a lonely and solitary thing. That's why I guess most of us, we'd rather be... the lover than to be loved, I mean, because the state of being'... beloved is... is intolerable. See an' then, after a while... the beloved gets to hate the lover, because the lover's always trying to strip, strip, strip bare... the beloved. See, that's because the... the lover... 'e craves that love -- even though he knows that that love can only cause 'im pain.", in the film, and the novella it was based on's defining scene.

The film climaxes in a fist fight, in the café between Amelia and Macy(thats right a no holds bared, knock down drag out fist fight, which again confirms Redgraves greatness). Literally duking it out for Cousin Lymon who watches gleefully from the sidelines.

Like "Wise Blood" its a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the southern classic of love and the grotesque. Carson Mcullers novella, of which this was based on is one of my favorite books. Actor Simon Callow does a good job directing the material, there's some particularly beautiful moments which bookend the film, featuring men on a chain gang. The cinematography on the whole is accomplished, and the rustic music, fitting the mood excellently. There is one awkward moment at the end of the fight, see it and you will know what I mean.

Its a funny, unique, and sad film, film that captures the "blindess" of love, better than any other. On a personal level Mcullers had a horrific marriage, both her and her husband having numerous failed homosexual relationships(and him eventually asking her to commit suicide with him, and her leaving, as he finally went through with it). Its easy to see this as a personal story as much as a universal one, of the right love, in the wrong person. Or culturally as a story of a powerful independent women, compromised by her own emotions, and brought down by the cruelty of the men around her. Though Amelia is as cruel to Macy, as he later is to her, so maybe what goes around comes around too. There's many ways to look at it and they're all true on some level. So basically the book is great and the movie is pretty good. See em both if you can.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Better film on teeth... AngelGabriel
I loved this movie krystalgari
help with the ending... fjhs3
Vanessa Redgrave's performance madmac17
Discuss The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?