I say the words “old-time movies” with a major grain of salt. When most people talk about older films, they’re generally speaking of classics like “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Casablanca.” I’m not much on black and white films, but I do like a few great old classics like “Sunset Boulevard” and the above mentioned two.
What I want to talk to you guys about here is my all-time favorite movie called “Bagdad Café.” It stars a pretty much unknown cast other than Jack Palance who plays Rudy Cox. The female leads are Marianne Sagabrecht and CCH Pounder. I’ve actually never seen Marianne Sagebrecht in anything else, although she is apparently well-known in her native Germany. CCH Pounder was a regular on TV’s “ER” as Dr. Angela Hicks and has hundreds of other credits, but at the time of this release (1988) she was relatively unknown.
The premise of this film is that the character of Jasmin played by Sagebrecht, is left in the Mojave Desert by her husband after an argument. She comes upon the dilapidated café and motel run by Pounder. At the same time Pounder’s husband leaves and the two women, who are polar opposites, clash in every way until they finally forge a bond.
Cox is a motel resident and a retired Hollywood set designer who finds beauty in Sagebrecht which she doesn’t see in herself. I wouldn’t say that this is a typical love-interest film. It is actually a very off-beat, warm-hearted story that has many elements of humor. I think it’s remarkable that Cox sees Jasmin as a rare beauty and Palance makes the connection believable.
There’s a wonderful element of fantasy in this film that is further enhanced by Jevetta Steeles’s theme song “Calling You.” The lyrics of the song and it’s haunting melody is germane to the essence of the film’s calling its various characters together in harmony.
I’m one who really likes off-beat films and this one in particular. There are no predictable scenarios or outcomes and I found myself being surprised at every turn in this movie the first time I saw it. I’m forever insisting friends watch this movie and can tell whether or not we will share other interests by their reaction to it.
So if you get a chance to rent it, I definitely encourage you to do so. Or it can be found at Amazon.com. on DVD for under $10. Either way, once you see it you’ll know a little bit more about my taste in films and a lot more about me.