French-language film poster
|Directed by||Percy Adlon|
|Music by||Bob Telson|
|Edited by||Norbert Herzner|
|Distributed by||Island Pictures|
|108 minutes (German)
95 minutes (US)
Bagdad Café (also known as Out of Rosenheim) is a 1987 German film directed by Percy Adlon. It is a comedy set in a remote truck-stop café and motel in the Mojave Desert in the US state of California. It centers on two women who have recently separated from their husbands, and the blossoming friendship that ensues. It runs 95 minutes in the U.S. and 108 minutes in the German version.
German tourist Jasmin Münchgstettner (Sägebrecht) from Rosenheim and her husband fight whilst they are driving across the desert. She storms out of the car and makes her way to the isolated truck stop, which is run by the tough-as-nails and short-tempered Brenda (Pounder), whose own husband, after an argument out front, is soon to leave as well. Jasmin takes a room at the adjacent motel. Initially suspicious of the foreigner, Brenda eventually befriends Jasmin and allows her to work at the café.
The café is visited by an assortment of colorful characters, including a strange ex-Hollywood set-painter (Palance) and a glamorous tattoo artist (Kaufmann). Brenda's son (Darron Flagg) plays J. S. Bach preludes on the piano. With an ability to quietly empathize with everyone she meets at the café, helped by a passion for cleaning and performing magic tricks, Jasmin gradually transforms the café and all the people in it.
- Marianne Sägebrecht - Jasmin Münchgstettner
- C. C. H. Pounder - Brenda
- Jack Palance - Rudi Cox
- Christine Kaufmann - Debby
- Monica Calhoun - Phyllis
- Darron Flagg - Salomo
- George Aguilar - Cahuenga
- G. Smokey Campbell - Sal
- Hans Stadlbauer - Herr Münchgstettner
- Alan S. Craig - Eric
- Apesanahkwat - Sheriff Arnie
Awards and nominations
- 1988: won Best Foreign Language Film at the 23rd Guldbagge Awards
- 1988: won Bavarian Film Award Best Screenplay (Eleonore & Percy Adlon)
- 1988: won Ernst Lubitsch Award (Percy Adlon)
- 1989: nominated for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Bob Telson for the song "Calling You")
- 1989: won Amanda Best Foreign Feature Film (Percy Adlon)
- 1989: won Artios Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy (Al Onorato and Jerold Franks)
- 1989: won César Best Foreign Film (Percy Adlon)
In 1990 the film was re-created as a television series starring James Gammon, Whoopi Goldberg, Cleavon Little, and Jean Stapleton, with Stapleton as the abandoned tourist, and Goldberg as the restaurant operator. In the TV version the tourist was no longer from Germany. The series was shot in the conventional sitcom format, before a studio audience. The show did not attract a sizable audience, being aired against ABC's more successful series, Family Matters, and it was cancelled after one season.
Bagdad, California is the original setting (Bagdad, Arizona is an unrelated town). There was an actual Bagdad Cafe that existed in the 1960s when U.S. Route 66 ran through the town. The town of Bagdad included a café, a gasoline station, cabins for rent, and an airstrip. When Interstate 40 opened and bypassed the two-lane Route 66, the town's economy collapsed and the businesses all closed; eventually the town was completely razed. It is marked today by a clearing on the north side of old Route 66 and a single tree.
The film was shot at what was then the Sidewinder Cafe in Newberry Springs, California, 50 miles west of the original site of Bagdad on old U.S. 66. Since then, the café has become something of a tourist destination and to capitalize on the movie it changed its name to the Bagdad Café. A small notice board on the café wall features snapshots of the film's cast and crew.
The principal piano pieces heard, performed by Darron Flagg, are preludes from Book I of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier: the C major, no. 1, BWV 845; the C minor, BWV 846, no. 2; and the D major, no. 5, BWV 850.
Harmonica was performed by William Galison.
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