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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe - The Merchant Ivory Collection
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I immediately fell into the story. Fell so deep, I started drinking water by the pitcherfull. The set was soooooooooo believeable that I was thirsty during the entire film. Really!!! The cast was perfect. Who can go wrong with Ms. Redgrave? She didn't dissapoint! I have to go now. I need a glass of water just thinking about "The Sad Cafe."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2011
Format: DVD
I'm rating this four stars based on how well I think it reflects the book, not on how much I liked the story. I'm not a fan of Carson McCullers' novels, not because they aren't good, but because I simply find her stories of small town loneliness and loss too dispiriting for my taste.

Having said that, I thought that this film intrepreted the characters and situations pretty much as the author intended. There are a few points where the film differs, but it IS a film, not a reprint of the book. In particular there is a scene where a country preacher delivers an abstract discourse on love that in the book is given by the narrator as a commentary on the action. However, as the movie is shot without a voiceover narration, this needed to be worked into the dialogue in some fashion. I thought it was a bit awkward, but that's a quibble. Generally I thought the acting was right on the mark, capturing the eccentricities of the characters without making them characatures of Southern types. Visually, I was impressed by how much veracity was achieved in creating the dusty,run-down yet oddly vital look of that time and place. It's much as I remember it from my own childhood - perhaps that explains my discomfort with the book:).

I do recommend this film if you have read and liked the book, or if you want an easy introduction to the world of McCullers' fiction. On the other hand, many viewers may find the pace too slow and the first part really obscure unless they already know something about the characters.
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