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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe


Comedy / Drama / Mystery

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten56%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright62%
IMDb Rating6.010806

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Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Vanessa Redgrave Photo
Vanessa Redgrave as Miss Amelia
Keith Carradine Photo
Keith Carradine as Marvin Macy
Rod Steiger Photo
Rod Steiger as Rev. Willin
Austin Pendleton Photo
Austin Pendleton as Lawyer Taylor
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
929.2 MB
English 2.0
30 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 4 / 28
1.68 GB
English 2.0
30 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 6 / 41

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by monevil9910 / 10

An impressive work

This film demonstrates an excellent use of both dialog and cinematography to evoke a mysterious, yet stark atmosphere. Redgrave is especially excellent in her portrayal of a character that defies easy description or explanation. The score, too, works to create a specific place, but never falls to the easy trap of using simple folk-music styles in order to provide a sonic backdrop.

Overall, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe is a haunting and beautiful exploration of human emotions and inhuman behaviors. I would highly recommend this film to everyone interested in an eerie combination of the real and surreal.

Reviewed by ematerso7 / 10

I loved this movie

We watched this movie again last night because I remembered seeing it when it first came out on video and when our local video store sold out all its VHS tapes this is one we bought. I liked it just as much this time but still have not read the Carson Mc Cullers story it was based on. We don't really understand what it is that has formed the character of Miss Amelia. . . her greed, her dominance of the town and its poverty stricken residents. She seemed to fill every need the town had except for that of citizen on an equal footing with the others. Seemingly the store she ran had been her father's before her but that alone does not explain the force of her personality and disposition. She obviously has married Marvin Macy to get his property but we do not understand what the appeal of her "cousin" Lymon is unless it is that he has no respect for her and uses her in the same way she uses everyone else. His infatuation with Marvin is more understandable than is Amelia's with Lymon. I thought the cast were all wonderful, including the preacher, who had some of the best and most human lines. Vanessa Redgrave was marvelous. The pacing and photography were excellent. At times though I felt as if I was watching a stage play instead of a movie. In writing this I do realize why Miss Amelia was who she was. She was angry because her own stage was so limited. For some reason she must have felt locked in to that tiny corner of the world when she could with her personality, have held sway over a much larger number of people and geographic area!

Reviewed by loganx-27 / 10

Redgrave: From Huncback To Giantess

Confirms Vannessa Redgraves status are one of the great actresses, a suspicion I first had watching "The Devils"(which if you haven't seen, you need to see, asap.).

Miss Amelia is the wealthiest women in a small southern town, she is tall, muscular, lean, and not at all ladylike. She serves as the towns doctor, as well as its chief landlord, and money lender. She brews the towns only supply of alcohol, in a distillery accessible only by a swim through the swamp. She is the town eccentric, but also the pillar of the community, everyone owes her something and without her nothing gets done. She lives a solemn and lonely life(writing stories, keeping up with her business),and is otherwise content, until a dwarf with a hunchback shows up, claiming to be her cousin.

The photograph he shows her of his mother, half sister of her mother, is too blurry to be unidentifiable, but she accepts him just the same. Cousin Lymon can do magic, tell jokes, and plays the harmonica. He encourages her to turn her general store into a café, where people can drink inside(not just on the porch),where the piano can be played, and company can be had. The café, brings a life to the dismal town, where once there was none.

The town is shocked by the sudden turnaround in their own lives and Amelias who goes from wearing her usual blue jeans suspenders to dresses(something they cant remember since she was a girl). Amelia dotes on Lymon, buys a car to drive him into the city, and all is well, until Amelia's husband, Marvin Macy returns from prison.

Marvin Macy, was in love with Amelia years ago, and thought his proposal to her would turn his sordid life around. She agreed to the marriage amicably enough, until the wedding night. Then she threw him down the stairs and insisted he sleep in the barn. Macy then turned over all his property to her to woo, her, but alas, to the barn he was sent. Til he eventually abandoned the town altogether, after one emasculating episode too many.

When he returns, cousin Lymon is immediately smitten with him, he cant wait to talk to someone whose been on a "chain gang, to Atlanta, and in a real prison." Lymon is something of a child, and Macy is a "man". There's a good deal of ambiguity in the sexuality of both Lymon and Amelia, though.

Macy abuses Lymon, more and more who follows him like a puppy, while Amelia withers watching and waiting for Lymon, to give up his infatuation, so it can be just the two of them again. A love without the sex(presumably, and implicitly),a companionship which she can accept and return.

The towns reverend tells Macy's sister in law, "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 beloved is the cause for all the, all the stored-up love that's lain in the heart of the lover for such... a long time, and every lover knows that... deep... deep in his soul, he knows that his love is a lonely and solitary thing. That's why I guess most of us, we'd rather be... the lover than to be loved, I mean, because the state of being'... beloved is... is intolerable. See an' then, after a while... the beloved gets to hate the lover, because the lover's always trying to strip, strip, strip bare... the beloved. See, that's because the... the lover... 'e craves that love -- even though he knows that that love can only cause 'im pain.", in the film, and the novella it was based on's defining scene.

The film climaxes in a fist fight, in the café between Amelia and Macy(thats right a no holds bared, knock down drag out fist fight, which again confirms Redgraves greatness). Literally duking it out for Cousin Lymon who watches gleefully from the sidelines.

Like "Wise Blood" its a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the southern classic of love and the grotesque. Carson Mcullers novella, of which this was based on is one of my favorite books. Actor Simon Callow does a good job directing the material, there's some particularly beautiful moments which bookend the film, featuring men on a chain gang. The cinematography on the whole is accomplished, and the rustic music, fitting the mood excellently. There is one awkward moment at the end of the fight, see it and you will know what I mean.

Its a funny, unique, and sad film, film that captures the "blindess" of love, better than any other. On a personal level Mcullers had a horrific marriage, both her and her husband having numerous failed homosexual relationships(and him eventually asking her to commit suicide with him, and her leaving, as he finally went through with it). Its easy to see this as a personal story as much as a universal one, of the right love, in the wrong person. Or culturally as a story of a powerful independent women, compromised by her own emotions, and brought down by the cruelty of the men around her. Though Amelia is as cruel to Macy, as he later is to her, so maybe what goes around comes around too. There's many ways to look at it and they're all true on some level. So basically the book is great and the movie is pretty good. See em both if you can.

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