Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.
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Alan J. Pakula
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Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. Written by
Dustin Hoffman who was also indebted to Elaine May for her extensive uncredited rewrite on Tootsie (1982), initially turned it down due to "misgivings". At Warren Beatty's request, the two met with May and Hoffman's creative confidant, playwright Murray Schisgal. The latter two felt that the action plot in Morocco overwhelmed the rest of the film and that it "should not leave New York". Hoffman was finally persuaded by Beatty's assurances that he would provide May with the room she needed to work. See more »
AS the helicopter lowers to give the CIA agent a level shot at the duo, his wood stock, single shot, bolt action rifle turns into a black automatic weapon with a banana clip. See more »
"Ishtar was great," I think defiantly every time by some off chance someone I come in contact with who has actually seen it cites it was the worst movie ever. I suppose it's part of cinematic pop culture to hold that opinion as a safeguard against being called a fool.
The most charming quality of Ishtar is its consistently dry, tongue-and-cheek disposition. It offers brilliant insight to the types of people in the world that, despite the fact that to everyone else their talent is cheesy at best, continue to try and try. Rogers and Clarke are the "Every Men" for that entire segment of the population with their songwriting musical act.
Their third-rate, leisure-suit-wearing manager does his job by getting them a few gigs; the biggest gig of all is in Ishtar, a politically unstable Middle Eastern country. Which, of course, is unbeknownst to Rogers and Clarke, who are just reveling in their love of playing music. Their naivete (and sometimes outright stupidity) is a character unto itself, and plays brilliantly throughout the ridiculous adventure that they experience.
I've seen Hoffman and Beatty in interviews joking about how they knew the movie was so bad that, instead of quitting, they simply got into the spirit by over-acting at parts. But, whether they know it or not, they were very REAL people, and THAT was the best part of all.
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