Lawrence O'Toole
June 19, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
101 minutes
performer
Keith Carradine, Vanessa Redgrave, Cork Hubbert, Rod Steiger
director
Simon Callow
distributor
Columbia Tri-Star
author
Michael Hirst
genre
Drama

We gave it a B

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Carson McCullers’ haunting story of thwarted, twisted, and tortuous love in a backwater hamlet will likely find a deserving audience on video. British actor-turned-director Simon Callow captures the spirit of the novella but not quite its Southern gothic authenticity.

As the eccentric, pragmatic Miss Amelia, whose years of stored-up love are thrust upon her distant cousin, the hunchbacked dwarf Lymon (Cork Hubbert), Vanessa Redgrave veers, in a runaway Southern accent, between brilliant and bungling. Keith Carradine, playing the felon husband she once rejected who returns for revenge, is only brilliant. Despite cavils, the film remains a powerful one, with just the right bite to feed a melancholy mood. B

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