Bagdad Cafe (1988)

PG | 91 or 108 mins | Comedy-drama | 22 April 1988

Full page view
HISTORY

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that while travelling along U.S. Route 66 from Los Angeles, CA in 1985, writer-director Percy Adlon and his wife, Eleonore Adlon, wanted to visit the town of Bagdad, CA, after seeing the name on a map. However, they were informed the town was deserted. The Adlons were inspired by “the idea of a place not existing any more, but still being on the map.” According to a May 1988 GQ article, Adlon wanted actress Whoopi Goldberg to play the character “Brenda,” but believed the project was never presented to Goldberg.
       Referring to the working title, Out of Rosenheim, the 6 May 1987 Var production chart stated principal photography began Mar 1987, with locations in the Mojave Desert, and Munich, Germany. The 31 Jan 1991 LAT noted that filming took place at the Sidewinder Café in Newberry Springs, CA. A 16 May 1988 LAT article reported the budget was $2 million.
       An item in the 16 Apr 1987 HR noted that previous working titles for the film were Exit Bagdad and Lost and Found.
       As mentioned in the 2 Dec 1987 Var review, the film was screened on 26 Nov 1987 at the Rio Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A 2 Mar 1988 Var brief reported that the domestic opening was scheduled for 8 Apr 1988 in New York City. However, Bagdad Cafe opened in limited release on 22 Apr 1988, as noted in the ... More Less

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that while travelling along U.S. Route 66 from Los Angeles, CA in 1985, writer-director Percy Adlon and his wife, Eleonore Adlon, wanted to visit the town of Bagdad, CA, after seeing the name on a map. However, they were informed the town was deserted. The Adlons were inspired by “the idea of a place not existing any more, but still being on the map.” According to a May 1988 GQ article, Adlon wanted actress Whoopi Goldberg to play the character “Brenda,” but believed the project was never presented to Goldberg.
       Referring to the working title, Out of Rosenheim, the 6 May 1987 Var production chart stated principal photography began Mar 1987, with locations in the Mojave Desert, and Munich, Germany. The 31 Jan 1991 LAT noted that filming took place at the Sidewinder Café in Newberry Springs, CA. A 16 May 1988 LAT article reported the budget was $2 million.
       An item in the 16 Apr 1987 HR noted that previous working titles for the film were Exit Bagdad and Lost and Found.
       As mentioned in the 2 Dec 1987 Var review, the film was screened on 26 Nov 1987 at the Rio Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A 2 Mar 1988 Var brief reported that the domestic opening was scheduled for 8 Apr 1988 in New York City. However, Bagdad Cafe opened in limited release on 22 Apr 1988, as noted in the NYT review of the same date. Three weeks later, the 16 May 1988 LAT reported that the film’s release expanded to four additional cities, and had made approximately $200,000 at the box-office.
       After the picture’s theatrical release, the 23 Feb 1989 NYT reported that television producer Mort Lachman felt the story presented a “natural television comedy series,” and purchased the rights. Lachman and producer Zev Braun received a 13-episode order for the series, Bagdad Cafe, from CBS Television Network network, and would serve as co-executive producers. According to the 15 Jul 1989 LAT, the series, under the working title, Bagdad Gas and Oil, would star actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jean Stapleton, and premiere during the 1989-1990 television season. Retitled Bagdad Cafe, the series premiered on 30 Mar 1990 and ran through 27 Jul 1991 on CBS.
       The song, “Calling You,” written by Bob Telson, was nominated for an Academy Award for Music (Original Song).
       Bagdad Cafe was Percy Adlon’s first English-language production.
       End credits state: “Thank You’s: Steph, Kim, Kelly and the Crew of The Sidewinder Cafe, Newberry Springs, California; Bill Davis and Rich Stock; John Wells and Jerry Kaplan; Randy Wanner, Robert Woltman, Carl Mou and all the helpful people of Newberry Springs, California; Audrey and the Staff of The Barstow Station Inn; Elizabeth Mosely at the Screen Actor’s Guild; Cherie Myers and the Staff of Solar One in Daggett, CA.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
GQ
May 1988
p. 83, 88-89.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1988
p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
4 May 1988
Calendar, p. 1, 11.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jul 1989
Calendar, p. 265.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1991
Section A, p. 3, 27.
New York Times
22 Apr 1988
Section C, p. 19.
New York Times
23 Feb 1989
Section C, p. 22.
Variety
6 May 1987
p. 446.
Variety
2 Dec 1987
p. 33.
Variety
2 Mar 1988
p. 38.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
by Percy Adlon
A pelemele FILM GmbH Production © 1987
in co-operation with Pro-Ject Filmproduktion, München
Bayerischer Rundfunk
Hessischer Rundfunk
Supported by: Bayerisches Filmförderungsprogramm, München
Bundesinnenministerium, Bonn
Filmförderungsanstalt, Berlin
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Line prod
WRITERS
Scr co-wrt
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Arriflex supplied by
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Paintings by
Scenic painter
Prop master
Leadman
Set carpenter
Const foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Studio sd mixer
Studio sd mixer
Ed and sd facilities
Ed and sd facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup and tattoos
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod exec Bayerischer Rundfunk
Prod mgr, pre-prod
Loc auditor
Accountant post prod
Prod secy
Scr supv
Loc teacher
Prod runner
Magic coach
Unit pub
Legal services
Payroll services
Payroll services
Magic services
Magic services
Travel services
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
“Calling You,” sung by Jevetta Steele, vocals, William Galison, harmonica, Tiberio Nascimento, guitar, Bob Telson, keyboards, words and music by Bob Telson, Boodle Music, BMI © 1987
“Brenda, Brenda,” Jearlyn Steele-Battle, lead vocals, Tommy Joe White, vocals, words by Lee Breuer, music by Bob Telson, Boodle Music, BMI © 1987
Bavarian brassband music performed by Deininger Blasmusik
+
SONGS
“Calling You,” sung by Jevetta Steele, vocals, William Galison, harmonica, Tiberio Nascimento, guitar, Bob Telson, keyboards, words and music by Bob Telson, Boodle Music, BMI © 1987
“Brenda, Brenda,” Jearlyn Steele-Battle, lead vocals, Tommy Joe White, vocals, words by Lee Breuer, music by Bob Telson, Boodle Music, BMI © 1987
Bavarian brassband music performed by Deininger Blasmusik
Preludes and fugues from J. S. Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier played by Darron Flagg.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Exit Bagdad
Lost and Found
Out of Rosenheim
Release Date:
22 April 1988
Premiere Information:
Screening at Rio Film Festival: 26 November 1987
New York opening: 22 April 1988
Los Angeles opening: 4 May 1988
Production Date:
began March 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Island Pictures
Copyright Date:
26 August 1988
Copyright Number:
PA0000395073
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Prints
Filmstock Eastman Kodak
Duration(in mins):
91 or 108
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Germany (West), United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a rest stop in California’s Mojave Desert, German tourist Jasmin Münchgstettner and her husband get into an argument. Frustrated, Jasmin takes her luggage and walks into the desert. Meanwhile, Brenda, owner of Bagdad Gas & Oil, a rundown service station, café and motel complex, yells at her husband, Sal. However, Sal is tired of Brenda’s short temper, and leaves her and their teenage children, Phyllis and Sal, Jr. Jasmin arrives at the motel and requests a room. Opening her suitcase, she realizes it contains her husband’s items, including men’s clothing and a kit to learn magic tricks. In the morning, Jasmin goes to the café for breakfast. Meanwhile, a suspicious Brenda telephones Sheriff Arnie to investigate her German guest. The sheriff speaks to Jasmin, and reassures Brenda that she is only a tourist and not to worry. Brenda goes into town for supplies, and Jasmin decides to clean the motel office for her. After returning, Brenda is unhappy that Jasmin went through her belongings, but changes her mind, liking how the office looks professional and organized. As Jasmin continues her stay at Bagdad, she has a positive effect on everyone she meets, including Brenda’s children, rebellious Phyllis and piano prodigy Sal, Jr. Jasmin also attracts the attentions of Rudi Cox, a former Hollywood set painter living in a trailer near the motel. At his request, Jasmin poses for Rudi as he paints her in a series of portraits. Later, Jasmin teaches herself magic tricks from her husband’s kit, and begins performing for truckers stopping at the café. Entertained, Brenda lets Jasmin become a ... +


At a rest stop in California’s Mojave Desert, German tourist Jasmin Münchgstettner and her husband get into an argument. Frustrated, Jasmin takes her luggage and walks into the desert. Meanwhile, Brenda, owner of Bagdad Gas & Oil, a rundown service station, café and motel complex, yells at her husband, Sal. However, Sal is tired of Brenda’s short temper, and leaves her and their teenage children, Phyllis and Sal, Jr. Jasmin arrives at the motel and requests a room. Opening her suitcase, she realizes it contains her husband’s items, including men’s clothing and a kit to learn magic tricks. In the morning, Jasmin goes to the café for breakfast. Meanwhile, a suspicious Brenda telephones Sheriff Arnie to investigate her German guest. The sheriff speaks to Jasmin, and reassures Brenda that she is only a tourist and not to worry. Brenda goes into town for supplies, and Jasmin decides to clean the motel office for her. After returning, Brenda is unhappy that Jasmin went through her belongings, but changes her mind, liking how the office looks professional and organized. As Jasmin continues her stay at Bagdad, she has a positive effect on everyone she meets, including Brenda’s children, rebellious Phyllis and piano prodigy Sal, Jr. Jasmin also attracts the attentions of Rudi Cox, a former Hollywood set painter living in a trailer near the motel. At his request, Jasmin poses for Rudi as he paints her in a series of portraits. Later, Jasmin teaches herself magic tricks from her husband’s kit, and begins performing for truckers stopping at the café. Entertained, Brenda lets Jasmin become a server. Through word of mouth, the Bagdad Café becomes popular, and Brenda and Jasmin become fast friends. Sheriff Arnie learns about Jasmin’s employment, and informs Brenda that as Jasmin cannot work at the café as she is not a U.S. citizen. When Jasmin leaves, Brenda and the others miss her. Later, Jasmin returns for good, and Brenda welcomes her friend back with open arms. The café regains its popularity, with Jasmin and Brenda performing, and Sal, Jr. accompanying them on piano. Brenda’s estranged husband, Sal, hears about the change at the café and comes home. Later, Rudi Cox tells Jasmin he never wants her to leave Bagdad again, and asks her to marry him. Before accepting Rudi’s proposal, Jasmin says she first needs to speak to Brenda. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.