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.
June 1991 (USA)
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Also Known As:
The Ballad of the Sad Café
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Gross USA: $184,890
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Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?
Source playwright Edward Albee
said to Merchant Ivory Productions of this proposed filmed adaptation and its screenplay prior to its production: "For the film to succeed to [novelist Carson] McCullers' intentions it must bring a mythic quality to the relationship. It is not the story of a shy, sexually repressed, mannish woman set on by a brutish punk. It is the story of two people who however unclearly to themselves they may comprehend it, are engaged in a bizarre 'grand passion' - the one real chance in their lives for something very special - the one opportunity for them both to fully realize themselves. It is this quality, this awareness which reaches toward the mythic, and makes what happens when Marvin Macy comes back so poignant, so inevitable, and the stuff of true tragedy. It is this which is missing from the screenplay. As it is now, a punk gets rejected and comes back and does his dirty work. That is not what McCullers intended, is not what I intended, and is not what the screenplay should be offering us". See more
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
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'?
I remember that.
Why'd she throw him out? Why'd she marry him and then throw him out? Why?
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...