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Orpheus Descending (1990)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | TV Movie 24 September 1990
Val Xavier is a drifter in 1940's Mississippi who brings new life to an Italian immigrant woman trapped in a loveless marriage.


Peter Hall


Tennessee Williams (play), Peter Hall
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Anderson ... Val Xavier
Brad Sullivan ... Jabe Torrance
Manning Redwood ... Talbot
Vanessa Redgrave ... Lady Torrance
Sloane Shelton Sloane Shelton ... Beulah
Patti Allison ... Dolly Hamma
Pat McNamara Pat McNamara ... Peewee
Michael McCarty Michael McCarty ... Dog Hamma
Buddy Saba Taweel Buddy Saba Taweel ... Papa Romano
Jaquilin Sadler Jaquilin Sadler ... Lady as Child
Doyle Richmond Doyle Richmond ... Conjure Man
Miriam Margolyes ... Vee Talbot
Anne Twomey Anne Twomey ... Carol Cutrere
Marlene Cameron Marlene Cameron ... Eva Temple
Peg Small Peg Small ... Sister Temple


Val Xavier is a drifter in 1940's Mississippi who brings new life to an Italian immigrant woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Orpheus Descending" by Tennessee Williams opened at the Martin Beck Theater on March 21, 1957 and ran for 68 performances. See more »


Val Xavier: Nobody ever gets to know *no body*. We're all of us sentenced to solitary confinements in our own lonely skins for life.
See more »


Version of The Fugitive Kind (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Orpheus Upended
15 August 2017 | by marcar912See all my reviews

After watching this TV-movie on TCM recently, originally produced and aired on its sister network TBS, I couldn't believe that the talents of Vanessa Redgrave and Sidney Lumet created such a poor version of this classic myth. Redgrave, though always beautiful and interesting to watch, is ludicrous as the Italian Lady Torrance. Her accent vacillates between pidgin Italian and cast-upon-the-moors Irish. I couldn't tell what she was saying half the time. Thank God for closed captions. Although I love Redgrave in Blow-Up, Howard's End and Mrs. Dalloway, she was insufferable in this movie. The whole turgid mess was miscast, poorly produced, out-of-focus (literally and figuratively) and just plain awful. And I'm big fan of Tennessee Williams. I had looked forward to watching this movie when I caught it on the TCM schedule, but honestly, if you like Redgrave, Lumet and Williams do yourself a favor and skip this one. It leaves a very bad taste in your mouth, and the tragedy and haunting beauty of the original myth are nowhere to be found.

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