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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Mystery  -  June 1991 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 492 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 »

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Title: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Miss Amelia
...
Marvin Macy
Cork Hubbert ...
Cousin Lymon
...
Rev. Willin
...
Lawyer Taylor
...
Mary Hale
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
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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 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Dunn was nominated for the 1964 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" for the role of Cousin Lyman. 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 »

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User Reviews

 
Compelling film
23 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I caught this film on IFC one night. I felt compelled to watch this because of the performances. I don't know anything of the book nor the play. I found the movie very enjoyable and the performances rather good. Miss Amelia's part was amazing to me. Vanessa Redgrave did a great job in this movie even if it doesn't fit the book or the play. She was the main reason I was drawn to watching this movie. I found that the part where Rod Steiger told the story of the "lover and the beloved" was the fulcrum of this film. I had the feeling that cousin Lymon was just like Marvin Macy. The character was a user who just latched onto people who he could take advantage of, that is why they get together in the end. They both met the same goal even if they both used Miss Amelia in different ways. I did find that the director could have done a better job with all the coordination between the characters, they could have meshed better. It's OK not to reveal why people act the way they do with each other (Miss Amelia kicking Marvin Macy out on the night of the wedding). Rod Steiger already stated that Marvin Macy was not a great person prior to this. I think that Miss Amelia just wouldn't let Marvin Macy take any advantage of her in any manner and it started on the wedding night. It boiled down to a boxing match between the two. The fact they both hit each other at the first punch and the look on Marvin's face hit this fact home.

That's my view.


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