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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | June 1991 (USA)
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1:00 | Trailer

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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:

Simon Callow

Writers:

Edward Albee (play), Michael Hirst | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Miss Amelia
Keith Carradine ... Marvin Macy
Cork Hubbert ... Cousin Lymon
Rod Steiger ... Rev. Willin
Austin Pendleton ... Lawyer Taylor
Beth Dixon ... Mary Hale
Lanny Flaherty ... Merlie Ryan
Mert Hatfield Mert Hatfield ... Stumpy McPhail
Earl Hindman ... Henry Macy
Anne Pitoniak Anne Pitoniak ... Mrs. McPhail
Frederick Johnson Frederick Johnson ... Jeff
Lauri Raymond Lauri Raymond ... Sadie Ricketts
Joe Stevens ... Henry Ford Crimp (as Joe Stephens)
Keith Wommack 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:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of the Sad Café See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$184,890
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source 1962 stage play of the same name by Edward Albee describes its setting in the book of the play as: "Somewhere in the south. The Past and Present." 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...
[...]
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Connections

Features New York Nights (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

Better on stage
27 September 2010 | by flomert34See all my reviews

Having seen the "definitive" stage version of this, featuring Colleen Dewhurst and Michael Dunn, I wasn't hopeful for this film holding a candle to it. I came away feeling that this particular piece does not translate to film. Vanessa Redgrave is a wonderful actress and seeing her beautiful, expressive face with no makeup and her hair cut short is quite startling, but effective. I found myself focusing on her big blue eyes most of the time, as they told the mood of her character throughout. I doubt they could've found anyone better for the role. It's simply that the entire production didn't quite gel. It truly works better in the theatre. I'm still not entirely decided on whether I completely disliked it.


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