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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 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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 official Merchant Ivory Productions website says of this film that producer Ismail Merchant's "...inspiration for it came to him as early as 1972 when his friend Anthony Korner gave him a copy of the book to read. Merchant was impressed by it, but after inquiring into the rights, learned that they had been given by the [author Carson] McCullers estate to Edward Albee, who had adapted the story as a Broadway play in 1962. He also discovered that the play and the rights to the story had merged. Years passed while Albee waited for an interest in the property from a Hollywood studio; but none materialized, and in 1988 Merchant acquired an option. By then he had already discussed the project with Vanessa Redgrave, who admired the work and was interested in taking on the challenging role of Miss Amelia. Financing for the $3.5 million project proved extraordinarily difficult to obtain, but was finally underwritten, in part, by England's Channel Four television, Curzon Films, and Joseph Saleh's Angelika Films...". 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

Good Movie, Great Director.
12 July 2002 | by twdamourSee all my reviews

Simon Callow is a great director and a visionary and should set his sights on directing again. Edward Albee's story is touching and funny, a true classic and Callow does a solid and witty job of bringing it to life. The acting by Carradine is questionable but Vanessa Redgrave makes up for that. Also Rod Steiger is always a sure thing. Callow should do more directing.


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