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The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

Cast: Mark McKinney, Mark McKinney, Isabella Rossellini, more...
Director: Guy Maddin, Guy Maddin
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: MGM
Genre: Costume Drama/Period Piece, Experimental/Avant-Garde, Musicals, Canada
Running Time: 101 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin directs The Saddest Music in the World, reworked from an original screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro. Set in Winnipeg during the Great Depression, the film involves a contest announced by the legless and glamorous Lady Port-Huntly (Isabella Rossellini) to find the saddest music in the world. She's hoping the contest will result in increased sales of her company's brand of beer. American theatrical producer Chester Kent (Mark McKinney) shows up to win the contest with his kooky show-business idea, while brother Roderick Kent (Ross McMillan) returns from the war. Maria de Medeiros plays Narcissa, a sleep walker romantically linked to both brothers. Their father, the alcoholic doctor Fyodor Kent (David Fox), is tortured by his role in Lady Port-Huntly's leg amputation, so he makes her a new glass pair filled with beer. The Saddest Music in the World was shown at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

Jonathan Marlow's conversation with Guy Maddin, begun in March with a film-by-film discussion of his early work, picked up again in October, focusing on the later features: Dracula, The Saddest Music in the World and Cowards Bend the Knee. Full article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

Don't waste your time by Slympd December 30, 2005 - 11:20 AM PST
1 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Unwatchable. Gets a 1 only because there wasn't a 0.

Will make you very happy.... by wes2666 January 9, 2005 - 2:56 PM PST
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Probably Guy Maddin's strongest film since Careful. The scope perfectly coincides with the budget and it features a wonderfully sympathetic cast. Mark McKinney is great as the brassy American who will do anything to be tops at being down. Every time a nation?s team is beaten, he buys them out and adds them to his gigantic, suicidal Busby Berkeley routine (cause even sad can have a little pizzazz!). Great songs--I wish there were a soundtrack album?-and there are some really funny and insightful ideas about how grief and mourning are themselves performance.

Oh, that Sad, Mad Guy! by talltale November 16, 2004 - 2:13 PM PST
6 out of 10 members found this review helpful
THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD continues Guy Maddin's hit-and-miss record of movie-making. By "hit," I definitely do not mean anything "commercial." God forbid Guy should ever stop with the grainy black-and-white photography (sometimes going to grainy color) and early-movie look. After his dancing Dracula, this new one proves a distinct let-down. It seems to go on forever (the fellow next to me on the couch fell asleep and declared himself grateful for the film's benign effect) and its humor, as well as the would-be musical production numbers, seem tired and surprisingly second-hand, coming as they do from Canada's answer to I-don't-know-what. Well, there's another Maddin-ing movie on the dvd horizon: "Cowards Bend the Knee." We live in hope.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.77)
165 Votes
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