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Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981)

Ben Gazzara , Ornella Muti , Marco Ferreri  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Gazzara, Ornella Muti, Susan Tyrrell, Roy Brocksmith, Katya Berger
  • Directors: Marco Ferreri
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,928 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales of Ordinary Madness" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

A film by Marco Ferreri based on Charles Bukowski’s novel “Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness”

Ben Gazzara stars as Charles Serking – a poet exploring L.A.’s seedy depths and dealing with the elusiveness of love. After falling for both the lascivious Vera (Susan Tyrell) and the masochistic prostitute Cass (Ornella Muti), Charles spirals downward into the world of the defeated, the demented and the damned.

DVD EXTRA: Excerpt from the documentary “Marco Ferreri: The Director Who Came from the Future”

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, intense, thought-provoking. March 17, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
One of the better offerings of the arthouse genre. From my reading, I have noticed that critics have been quite divided in their assessment of this film. Good! It has provided food for thought. I find it honest and heartfelt. Not its least attraction is its exquisite photography. Muti's fallen angel 'Cass' has never been displayed more beautifully and the beach scenes are impeccable. Gazzara is completely believable as the the world-weary poet who neglects his talent in favour of indulging in alcoholic and sexual excess. The poetry he recites is terrific. I hope viewers who enjoy this film are encouraged to read more of Bukowski's work. The film is sensitive, has a solid musical score and captures the spirit of Bukowskis work. A tragicomic delight.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strange, disturbed, frightening and facinating December 14, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This movie works only if you let your imagination sulk to the very Id of one's being. This is not commonplace material and is only for a limited audience. One needs to understand that madness is more norm than exception, and the beautiful almost lost art of self destruction is just below the surface of many of us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must we - dear friends - die in our sleep ? December 26, 2006
Marco Ferreri made a devastatingly lyrical, sinister and cruel portrait about the existence of Charles Bukowski, the poet of hopeless, the excesses, the alcohol; the legitimate sex' sybarite into a crude environment of loneliness and disillusion. Ben Gazzara is fabulous in this role as well the divine: Ornella Muti as Cass.

The final sequence in the beach embracing an unknown young girl in a visible childish attitude, dedicating her a free poetry is still haunting even the years, becoming a classic.

The poetry is a God that it doesn't go in the body; and that's why it scatter outside from it, and assumes multiple aspects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, thought-provoking film making. December 29, 1998
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This film tends to sit on the sharp edge between pulp fiction and high art. In this way, it is similar to the experiences of the protagonist Charles Serking who, whilst being capable of producing beautiful poetry, escapes the harsher realities of life through sexual and alcoholic excess. The film is a tragicomic look at the life of an artist. The film is visually very beautiful. Serking's girlfriend Cass played by Ornella Muti has never been photographed more superbly. I love the poetry Serking quotes. Viewers who enjoy this film should also see 'Barfly' and read Bukowski's short story 'The Most Beautiful Girl in Town' on which this film is based.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Style August 3, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Style is the answer to everything...To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art." ~ Charles Bukowski

Bukowski had style. Ferreri has style. This film is an achingly human, drunken odessey inspired by the writings of Bukowski. This is not an adaptation, but captures the essence and complements his works. It shares carnality, a gritty realism, the pain and desperation of being human. It's provocative. It's uncomfortable. It's the underbelly and grimness of life that too often goes unrecognized. Or if acknowledged, you numb it with alcohol; you engage in self-destructive behaviours; you mask it with eroticism; you become a whore of an angel; you write. Whether these actions are to escape yourself or to regain feeling, it is human ~ it is pain ~ it's art if done with style ~ and, it's got soul.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SAD, FASCINATING,POETIC,SPELLBINDING April 14, 2003
I just first saw 'Tales Of Ordinary Madness' yesterday. I like this film. At times living through the eyes of Charlie seems gluemy and useless, but I'm constantly fascinated and wondering the outcome. I only brought this film because I'm a hugh fan and LOVE Ornella Muti, but I'm glad I've had the chance to see this film. I recommend this film. And not just because Ornella is in it.Although it does't hurt because Ornella is really good in this film. Ornella is just beautiful as always but her acting always leaves me wanting/craving for more. If your a Ornella Muti fan this should definitely be in your collection. But other than that this film is fascinating but if you havn't seen this film don't expect a uplifting, happy film. This film may not be for every one.
By Justine Ryan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bukowski film adaptation February 18, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this movie!I happen to think it's very funny , if , perversely so.Ben Gazzara as the Bukowski figure is wonderful.He surpasses Mickey Rourke or Mat Dillon to a degree that puts them to shame.I have no idea why the enjoyable but comparatively schlocky BARFLY is better known.While genuinely funny,the movie has a poignancy to it that makes it oddly moving.You also get a knowing view of low life LA that is quite interesting.I should admit this movie is a bit rough at the edges and might not appeal to those with overly delicate sensibilities.
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