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.
A family in Chicago inherits the yacht formerly owned by Clark Gable. They decide to sail it from the island of Ste. Pomme de Terre to Miami, and they sail with the assistance of Captain ... See full summary »
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
Warren Beatty and Elaine May quarreled and argued quite a bit off camera and especially in the editing room. Dustin Hoffman would serve as the mediator between the two of them. Beatty would also take sides against May in disagreements between her and Director of Photography Vittorio Storaro. At one point Beatty and May had an argument with May telling Beatty, "You want this scene your way? You shoot it!", and May would abandon the set for long periods of time. Beatty then reported the incident to the Columbia Pictures production representative, who then offered to fire May as director of the film on Beatty's behalf as producer of the film, but Beatty did not want to take on responsibilities of directing the rest of the film himself had May been fired, and did not want to contradict himself as the whole point of the film was to give May the chance she never really had to show her talents as director. Beatty told Columbia, if they were to fire May, he and Hoffman would abandon the film entirely as well. In the end, May stayed on board and ended up directing the entire film. See more »
When Marty Freed is sitting with Chuck and Lyle, after he first hears their act, he puts his hand up to his mouth ("Let me tell you what I told Tony Bennett..."). In the next shot, the hand is on the table. See more »
I have never understood the seemingly universal disapproval of this fine film. Is it "Reds"?...No. Is it "Rain Man"?...No. Was it intended to be?...Of course not.
Ishtar is a comedy of the first measure. Start with two struggling musicians trying to make it big, who find themselves trapped in a circle of espionage and intrigue in a far away land. Include some of the funniest text ever written for the big screen. Add two of the greatest actors of our day, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, (both of whom are playing characters that could not be farther from the traditional roles that these actors have played, which was, I'm sure, a challenge in and of itself) and throw in a blind camel for good measure, and you have the recipe for a cinema classic. If this film had managed to avoid the negative press that it received early on, it would have gone done in history as one of the great comedies of the 1980's. Now, everyone wants to be on the "I hate Ishtar" bandwagon. It is truly unfortunate that this film has not received the credit that it deserves.
"Ishtar" is not the most under-rated film ever, but it may be close.
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