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 »
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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 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Colleen Dewhurst, who had portrayed the character of Miss Amelia Evans in the original 1963-64 Broadway stage production, passed away in the same 1991 year that this movie version was first released. The Miss Amelia character is played in this filmed version by actress Vanessa Redgrave. 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 »

User Reviews

 
human spectacle
26 January 2021 | by beginasyouareSee all my reviews

This film needs to digest, it has a shock factor but without using adult content. The acting is great, glorious even. What stands out is the relationship between a man and woman. Other actors play key parts but the characterization of the couple, first Vanessa Redgrave (Miss Amelia) and then her man Keith Carradine (Marvin Macy) plus a third wheel are at the center. It uses gothic elaboration on southern stereotypes, larger than life, and so maybe tempting to dismiss what it says about couples simply because it's freakish. Other 'reality' couples films out recently like 'Marriage Story' by Noah Baumbach suggest falsely that an angry separation is either heroic or acceptable. But The Ballad of the Sad Cafe doesn't lie, the shocking human spectacle remains.


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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 Cafe See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,343, 5 May 1991

Gross USA:

$184,890

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$184,890
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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