Search - The Ballad of the Sad Cafe - The Merchant Ivory Collection on DVD

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe - The Merchant Ivory Collection
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe - The Merchant Ivory Collection
Actors: Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine, Cork Hubbert, Rod Steiger, Austin Pendleton
Director: Simon Callow
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2005     1hr 41min

Three Academy Award® winners?Vanessa Red grave, Keith Carradine, and Rod Steiger?are the stars of this extraordinary 1991 film, directed by British actor Simon Callow. The Ballad of the Sad Café, based on the Carson McCull...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine, Cork Hubbert, Rod Steiger, Austin Pendleton
Director: Simon Callow
Creators: Walter Lassally, Donald Rosenfeld, Ismail Merchant, Paul Bradley, Carson McCullers, Edward Albee, Michael Hirst
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Family Life, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Merchant Ivory
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/18/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Vanessa Redgrave is great, but the story is grotesque
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 03/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 1991 Merchant-Ivory production is based on the novel by Carson McCullers and the play by Edward Albee. It's set in the South during the depression and there's a deep melancholy mood throughout. Vanessa Redgrave is cast as Miss Amelia, a strong and mannish middle aged woman who doctors to the population, makes corn whisky, and even though she runs a small cotton plantation, seems as impoverished as the everyone else. One day, a hunchbacked dwarf, claiming to be a distant cousin, played by Cork Hubbert, comes to town and to everyone's surprise Miss Amelia takes him in. He brings some joy to her life, even has her open a café in her home and she seems to be falling in love with him. But her ex-husband, played by Keith Carradine, who has just been released from prison comes back to town. She was only married to him for a few days, refused to sleep with him and humiliated him so much that he left in shame, but now he's back with hatred in his heart. To complicate matters, her dwarf cousin adores the ex-husband. Eventually there's a showdown in the bloodiest fistfight between Miss Amelia and the ex-husband that I've ever seen on a screen. The ending is sad.I cannot say enough good things about Vanessa Redgrave's performance. I usually think of her as a sophisticated and attractive British actress. But for this role she takes off her makeup, crops her hair close to her head and lets her clear blue eyes shine from a weather-beaten face, her usual graceful body taking on an awkward gait, and her voice taking on a deep southern drawl. It is an absolutely magnificent performance with equally talented supporting actors. The story is weird but it kept my interest and my eyes were glued to the screen waiting for what would happen next. Too bad that I never really understood why the characters did what they did. I looked for resolution or some sort of explanation. Instead, the story became more and more grotesque, and I didn't like the ending. Just too many unanswered questions. For those interested in the Southern Gothic venue and who want to see wonderful performances, you might find watching this video an interesting and rewarding experience. For the rest of you, stay away."
A haunting presentation of a haunting novella | Kampen, The Netherlands | 02/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first read Carson McCullers's hauntingly sad novella in 1984 and the story stuck with me for many years. Completely unaware that it had ever been filmed, I discovered this film by chance in a video store and was totally stunned by its veracity to the novella as well as the superb performances by Redgrave and Carradine. That such an essentially American (well, Southern, I suppose) story should have been filmed by a British director (and what a debut for the wonderful Simon Callow), and with a British leading lady, is odd. Yet it is compelling viewing, as the lives of these very sad and desperate people unfold before your eyes. The climactic boxing match is possibly one of the most painful things I have ever watched, from any point of view. You saw "Raging Bull"? Forget it! If you love the prose of McCullers you cannot but love this superb visualisation of one of her great works."
"Sad"s the right word
valeska_ | The Pacific Northwest | 11/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sad but good. Vanessa Redgrave is effective as a Southern loner living in a backwoods town. When a local man (Carradine) courts her and marries her, she refuses to let him sleep in the same house with her, let alone the same bed. Anyway, after brooding and complaining, You can imagine how embarrassed he'd be, it's a small town and everyone ensue and he ends up in prison.
Miss Amelia (Redgrave) opens a small cafe at the insistance of her cousin "Lyman" a hunchback . When, Marvin Macy (Carradine) comes back, completely changed after his stint in prison. Very bitter.. ..
And even though her cousin Lymon seems entranced by Marvin, as this now dark and alluring character he's become (And Keith Carradine is excellent at it ;-). Miss Amelia still sees him as an "evil man""
Quality filmaking
RubyRedhead | Oregon, USA | 12/07/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I really enjoyed this video! I disagree strongly with the reviewer who said "nothing worked" in it. The acting was superb, and the filming was beautiful and haunting. Many images from the film have stuck with me - watching it was like visiting another world. My only complaint is that I didn't completely understand the ending; it felt a bit unfinished. But it is well-made and a very thought provoking movie. I recommend it to anyone who likes films that are a bit unusual and are driven more by character than by fast action."