German writer-director Percy Adlon makes a "remarkable" (Boxoffice) American debut with his "charming" (Vogue) Bagdad Cafe starring Cch Pounder (Face/Off) and Jack Palance(City Slickers). Injecting his bold and unique styl... more »e into a sweet story about the common threads that connect disparate people, Adlon succeeds in creating a cinematic jewel that is both "hilarious and touching" (Los Angeles Times). Drawn to a pair of lights in the barren American desert sky, a mysterious German woman, Jasmin, stumbles upon a dilapidated motel/diner in the middle of nowhere. Her unusual appearance and demeanor are at first suspicious to Brenda, the exasperated owner who has difficulty making ends meet. But when an unlikely magic sparks between the two women, this lonely desert outpost is transformed into a thrivingand popularoasis.« less
Margaret S. (morgan2010) from GLENVIEW, IL Reviewed on 8/13/2010...
I am calling you-ooohoooh.... That song alone made me watch this movie again. It is an odd ball cast and an odd ball story, but it is worth watching.
S A A. (Learned2Heal) Reviewed on 10/13/2008...
A fairly obscure little movie that my husband and I are oh-so-glad we found. Great acting, quirky but interesting storyline. An atmosphere that is hard to describe. We have watched it many times over and would not part with our copy for the world.
A truly fun and amusing, quirky (did I mention that already? Well, it bears repeating), feel-good movie.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Freak Shows & Oddballs That'll Touch Your Heart
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 06/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bagdad Cafe is an odd film, and I mean that as a compliment. The characters are all greatly flawed individuals who, as the film starts, are largely unhappy. CCH Pounder plays Brenda who owns the cafe. This woman could scare the hide off a cat with that shrill voice that drives her husband off to park in the desert and observe her with binoculars for the rest of the film. Jasmin, the Bavarian German who likes her coffee strong, is fat and seems to change clothes regularly despite having a suitcase supposedly filled only with men's clothes. She is not the typical Hollywood star, but she comes to win our hearts. Jack Palance as Rudy Cox, the set painter from Hollywood, lives in a trailer and sees the world through rose colored glasses. His costumes are pure Santa Monica Boulevard chic. He charms us as he falls in love. The sequence of paintings he does as Jasmin gets progressively less dressed is hysterical. The other characters are also unique. Brenda's son who also has a son, a baby, wants nothing more than to play piano all day. The daughter dresses in trendy teenage garb and seems to repeatedly run off with anything with two legs and pants. Debbie, the tatoo artist, seems like an S&M freak, and eventually leaves because "there is too much harmony." The thing I love about this film is that most all of the characters change. Jasmin's unfolding is glorious. The themes in the movie of racial misunderstanding and harmony are also interesting. Jasmin has never seen blacks and pictures herself in tribal Africa being roasted for dinner. She's amazed at how light the palms of Brenda's daughter's hand is, a simple detail but beautiful in its innocent sense of wonder. The DVD version doesn't add a tremendous amount of extras such as bonus material, but the movie itself is the reward. If you like upbeat films somewhat off the beaten track, seek out this cinematic gem."
DESERT RATS GET ACTUALIZED!
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 07/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed not too far from here in the town of Baghdad in the Mojave Desert, Percy Adlon's BAGHDAD CAFE has charmed just about everyone who has stumbled across this literally off-the-beaten track 1987 gem that's now available for the first time in a bare-bones widescreen DVD transfer. The story is deceptively simple. Marianne Sägebrecht is a German tourist who leaves -- and is subsequently abandoned by -- her husband(?) in the California desert. In the middle of nowhere, she makes her way to the run-down, failing, Baghadad Cafe and Motel run by C.C.H. Pounder (ER's Dr. Hicks). The rotund Sägebrecht quickly becomes a part of the eccentric family under Pounders tough-talking rule. Not only that, her presence is the catalyst that transforms the forgotten roadside stop into a bustling business and a life-altering experience for all present. Jack Palance is extraordinary as an ex-Hollywood set designer and artist who sees Sägebrecht's true beauty and becomes obsessed about capturing it on canvas. What he sees Sägebrecht becomes and in the process impacts those she touches. This wonderful film is about loving and accepting and believing and discovering and being. The original music by Bob Telson includes the haunting "Calling You" sung by Javetta Steele. This is one for the digital library. Highest recommendation."
Can't expain the attraction ï¿½ just see it
pasnat54 | Pasadena, CA United States | 07/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found Bagdad Cafe on DVD three days ago and have watched it twice since, each time with a big smile on my face. It's difficult to explain why this movie is so haunting; if you try to tell a friend "You've got to see this movie because...", you'd be stuck for a definable reason. It's a very gentle character study of two women, different as can be, who come to understand and even like each other. They are both frustrated with their current positions in life. Jasmin (Marianne Sagebrecht), the stranded German tourist, is willing to start repairing her life, even in this bleak desert setting. Brenda (CCH Pounder) has led such a hard-knocks life that she can't understand or accept anyone trying to help her. There's a wonderful supporting cast surrounding them, but the heart of this movie is the way the two women learn to be friends. You're either going to love this movie or be totally bewildered by what I (and other reviewers) see in it.This movie was shot in Newberry Springs, near Barstow; the restaurant is still there (originally called Sidewinder Cafe, now renamed the Bagdad Cafe, of course). This is the favorite movie of one of my sister's friend who lives in Brazil. When this friend's daughter Paula visited recently, we stopped by the Bagdad Cafe on the way to Vegas; Paula's mom shed tears of delight when she saw pictures of her daugher making a pilgrimage to this high desert Mecca."
A sweet and suprising tale
Max235to1 | Waterford MI USA | 11/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Possibly one of my favorite films ever made, this story of a german housewife, that leaves her husband in the Mojave Desert, end up suprising me constantly. Why?
The lead actress Marianne Sagebrecht performance as Jasmine is so full of poetry and subtle nuances in the body language that most actors often forget to use. Many times she is in a scene where she is not saying much but she doesn't have to because her lines are in the way she moves and the expressions on her face. The story is about a sleepy two building town where despair is turned on its heel by the arrival of this stranger. It's about two very different people who become friends despite the tragedys they both are facing and its about the magic we all carry inside of us to transform other around us by being our most beautiful selves. This film was followed by a television series that failed to capture what this story easily told in 90 minutes. It also has a very haunting song called "calling you" that once heard will more than likely stay in the back of your mind. Its a gem and definitely belongs in the collection of anyone who really loves what great film making is all about."
Great American Film Made by GERMANY
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 12/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marianne Sagebrecht made a brilliant movie debut in the German film "Zuckerbaby (Sugarbaby)" (please release this soon on DVD). Bagdad Café is her American film debut. The creative team is also from "Sugarbaby", Percy and Eleonore Adlon).
Jasmine (Sagebrecht) and her husband are on a cross country trip. They are at a rest stop in the Mohave desert when they have a fight. Jasmine takes the suitcase from the trunk and walks off. Jasmine hitches a ride and which stops at the Bagdad Café and Motel.
Brenda (CCH Pounder), the hotel owner/manager, doesn't know what to make out of Jasmine. But Jasmine has the money, so Brenda rents her one of the rooms. Everyone gets along with Jamine's easy going nature, except Brenda. Eventually, even Brenda succumbs to Jasmine's charm.
This is a film about tolerance. Everyone in this film has intolerance and finds that the person beneath is more important.
Sagebrecht gives another brilliant performance. Her character grows during the course of the film.
CCH Pounder is the one of those great actresses that never gets the attention that she deserves. She gives Brenda many layers. Brenda's life has been far from easy and therefore, she is suspicious of everyone. Therefore, it takes a great actress to convincingly change from suspicious to accepting of Jasmine.