Ballad of the Sad Cafe

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

Director: Simon Callow

Cast: Simon Callow, Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine, Cork Hubbert

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This first film directorial effort of actor Simon Callow is based on a novel by Carson McCullers -- which, in turn, was adapted for the stage by Edward Albee in 1964. Vanessa Redgrave plays a powerful Southern matriarch who, sequestered in her café/general store, holds her home town in the palm of her hand. Redgrave's benevolent despotry is threatened by the arrival…  See more details below

Overview

This first film directorial effort of actor Simon Callow is based on a novel by Carson McCullers -- which, in turn, was adapted for the stage by Edward Albee in 1964. Vanessa Redgrave plays a powerful Southern matriarch who, sequestered in her café/general store, holds her home town in the palm of her hand. Redgrave's benevolent despotry is threatened by the arrival of her hunchbacked cousin, Cork Hubbert (in the role played on stage by dwarf actor Michael Dunn), and her jailbird husband Keith Carradine. Unable to remove this threat to her authority by her usual means, Redgrave is reduced to challenging Carradine to a bare-knuckle fight! Carson McCullers' fascination with the disintegration of the Old South coupled with her preoccupation with the grotesque requires delicate handling (as witness Heart Is a Lonely Hunter). Callow works overtime keeping things controlled and tasteful; unfortunately, this results in a very mannered and stilted production, all too obviously betraying its stage origins.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A haunting, occasionally grotesque little film, The Ballad of the Sad Café doesn't really work onscreen, despite the noble efforts of all involved. Michael Hirst has succeeded in bringing the bare bones of the Carson McCullers book (and Edward Albee play) to the screen, but director Simon Callow has not sufficiently filled in the emotional and atmospheric blanks necessary to make this delicate, difficult story the involving and wrenching experience it wants to be. Ballad is an outsized piece, requiring bold and confident yet discreet direction, and Callow's work is too hesitant and too reverential. That Ballad manages to work as well as it does is primarily due to the mesmerizing performance of Vanessa Redgrave. Wearing close-cropped hair and a weathered face that somehow suggests David Bowie, her performance is a powerhouse, almost an act of nature in its strength and intensity. There's life and vibrancy in every move of this character, perhaps too much so; at times, Redgrave overreaches, makes choices that simply don't work , especially given the restraint with which so much of the material is otherwise handled. But she at least has the courage to make those choices and to strive to capture the painful poetry that informs the McCullers original. Ballad needs to dig deeper to capture the perverse beauty it purports to celebrate, but Redgrave provides enough lightning flashes of brilliant illumination to make the film worthwhile.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/18/2005
UPC:
0037429198629
Original Release:
1991
Rating:
NR
Source:
Merchant Ivory
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:40:00

Special Features

New high-definition digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions; Audio commentary by director Somon Callow; English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vanessa Redgrave Miss Amelia
Keith Carradine Marvin Macy
Cork Hubbert Cousin Lymon
Rod Steiger Rev. Willin
Austin Pendleton Lawyer Taylor
Beth Dixon Mrs. Mary Hale
Lanny Flaherty Merlie Ryan
Mert Hatfield Stumpy McPhail
Earl Hindman Henry Macy
Anne Pitoniak Mrs. McPhail
Trula M. Marcus Woman
Shirley Rich Actor

Technical Credits
Simon Callow Director,Screenwriter
Paul Bradley Producer
Marianna Elliott Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Hale Set Decoration/Design
Michael Hirst Screenwriter

Read More

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits/Jimmy Crack Corn [6:32]
2. Swamp Water and Moonshine [5:22]
3. Kin to Me [6:45]
4. Wild and Foolish Talk [3:44]
5. Entertaining the Townsfolk [3:23]
6. Staring Into the Dark [3:23]
7. "You Know I Like Company" [4:56]
8. The Price of a Human Life [5:29]
9. Papa's Acorn [4:28]
10. All of Us Are Sinners [5:01]
11. Holy Matrimony [5:01]
12. "I Ain't Finished With You" [5:24]
13. The Lover and the Beloved [2:43]
14. Serving Marvin Macy [5:25]
15. The Buzzards Are Circling [7:08]
16. Shake Hands and Come Out Fighting [10:01]
17. Wanton Destruction [8:11]
18. End Credits [4:37]

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >