The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

R  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  12 May 2005 (Portugal)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,941 users   Metascore: 78/100
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A musical of sorts set in Winnipeg during the Great Depression, where a beer baroness organizes a contest to find the saddest music in the world. Musicians from around the world descend on the city to try and win the $25,000 prize.



(original screenplay), , 1 more credit »
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6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Fox ...
Fyodor Kent
Ross McMillan ...
Roderick Kent / Gravillo the Great
Louis Negin ...
Blind Seer
Duncan Elksworth
Jeff Sutton ...
Graeme Valentin ...
Young Roderick
Maggie Nagle ...
Chester's Mother
Victor Cowie ...
Man in Bar
Jessica Burleson ...
Lady's Secretary


It's the winter of 1933 in Winnipeg. In honor of Winnipeg being named the sorrow capital of the world for the Depression era for the fourth year running by the London Times, Lady Helen Port-Huntley, the legless owner of Winnipeg's Port-Huntley Beer, is hosting and judging a contest to see which nation has the saddest music in the world, the winner to take home a $25,000 prize. Seeing as to the current Prohibition in the United States, Lady Port-Huntley has ulterior motives for the contest. Father and son, streetcar conductor Fyodor Kent and New York based musical producer Chester Kent, who both have a past connection to Lady Port-Huntley (Fyodor, a WWI veteran and former doctor, has fashioned for her an unusual pair of artificial legs apropos to her business), want to represent Canada and the United States respectively in the contest. Despite Lady Port-Huntley's hatred for the Kent's, she does allow them to do so if only to advance her own priorities. As the contest takes place, the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"If you're sad, and like beer, I'm your lady."


Comedy | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and violent images | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 May 2005 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Canção Mais Triste do Mundo  »

Box Office


CAD 3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,743 (USA) (30 April 2004)


$669,128 (USA) (23 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Guy Maddin:  the hand amputating Lady Port-Huntley's legs. See more »


Chester Kent: You haven't been married to this gentleman, have you? Or had a child with him? That wouldn't have slipped your mind, I trust.
Narcissa: I would hate to be so careless with loved ones.
See more »


Referenced in Brows Held High: Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (2011) See more »


Zani Performance
Performed by Emile Bisseck, Binasio Wani, Marol Jal
See more »

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User Reviews

Visually fascinating, but somewhat empty.
24 June 2004 | by (Charlottetown, Canada) – See all my reviews

I had always been told that director Guy Maddin did nothing conventionally, and so I approached The Saddest Music in the World with anticipation and hesitation. I am a great fan of Isabella Rossellini and Maria de Medeiros, both of whom do well in this picture. Maddin delivers a picture that is quite beautiful visually; all in black and white, and edited in such a way as to recall something resurrected from the 1930s. There are a few occasions when colour is allowed in, and those moments dazzle. One of the most striking images I have seen all year is Isabella Rossellini posing in Technicolour standing on glass legs filled with beer. It's something that has to be seen to be believed. However, once you get past the visuals, the film is rather empty and lacks heart. I do recommend it, though, because everyone should see something new and different (and for Isabella and Maria).

31 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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