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Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981)

Ben Gazzara , Ornella Muti , Marco Ferreri  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Gazzara, Ornella Muti, Susan Tyrrell, Roy Brocksmith, Katya Berger
  • Directors: Marco Ferreri
  • Format: 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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,874 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tales of Ordinary Madness" on IMDb

Special Features


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

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue tribute to Ferreri September 12, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While it's long overdue for Marco Ferreri to receive the prestige treatment of a major box set - especially in America where his films are less known - it's unfortunate that five of the eight films are already available in English subtitled dvds released just a few years ago. But for Ferreri completists, the purchase of this set is mandatory due to the inclusion of THE SEED OF MAN and THE HOUSE OF SMILES - both making their U.S. DVD debut, as well as the first time these two films have been available with English subtitles ANYWHERE. And the black and white feature THE LITTLE COACH will be new for most viewers, since it's only previous U.S. release came over 10 years ago in a marginally released video edition. Also the film's bonus documentary MARCO FERRERI - THE DIRECTOR FROM ANOTHER PLANET - is authoritative and surprisingly comprehensive - with rare tidbits like Ferreri's lifelong diabetes and the attempted (and unsuccessful) suicide of actor David Warner during the shooting of Ferreri's film THE AUDIENCE.

But those with an appetite for more Ferreri after completing this set might want to check out the English subtitled editions of HAREM, LA CAGNA and DILLINGER IS DEAD available at Also, provides Italian dvds (without English subtitles) of rarer Ferreri films like THE CONJUGAL BED, THE APE WOMAN, WEDDING MARCH, and DIARY OF A VICE. And the Spanish site is a source for Ferreri's STORY OF PIERRA, THE FUTURE IS WOMAN, and his final film NITRATE BASE.
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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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doing Things in Style September 12, 2008
A talented aged Russian-Jewish American writer lives as he wishes changing women and drinking vine, unspeakably attractive to females.

A title says it all.
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bukowski film adaptation
I love this movie!I happen to think it's very funny , if , perversely so.Ben Gazzara as the Bukowski figure is wonderful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JAK
4.0 out of 5 stars Bars, Whores, and More Bars and Some Hillarity
Gazara shows his range in this LA montage of bars, whores, and more bars. I liked the story and its wandering plot. The NY job scene alone is a riot. Read more
Published 17 months ago by mrc
4.0 out of 5 stars Style
"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. Read more
Published on August 3, 2010 by Stefania Casi (The Cultural Sojourner)
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Barfly"
"Tales..." actually makes Bukowski sympathetic as he tries to find love and sex in the L.A. underground. Read more
Published on March 2, 2001 by "abdoe"
3.0 out of 5 stars not a superb film
Actually it's not as good as the other ornella muti's films.But if you like ornella you should check this one. Read more
Published on June 11, 2000 by Gülten Şanlığ
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good As Barfly, but Worth Watching
The best films showcasing the world of Charles Bukowski were Barfly, Love Is A Dog From Hell (Crazy Love), and Tales of Ordinary Madness. Read more
Published on June 2, 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars BOREEEEE........DOM!! ( Blah! )
A cinematic composite of two Charles Bukowski novels (Tales Of Ordinary Madness and The Most Beautiful Girl In Town) that chronicles the life of a drunken deadpan poet/writer... Read more
Published on March 7, 1999
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