Café Oriental (1962)

  |  Comedy, Musical

Café Oriental (1962) Poster

A group of kids inherit a café and try to make it profitable by trying out several themes based on countries and a lot of musical acts.


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4 April 2005 | Chip_douglas
| Only for Elke
This would be just another average German musical comedy if it did not feature the original 'Maria Gambrelli' and all around Eurobabe Elke Sommer. Shame there are so many other characters to keep track off. The opening credits are worth mentioning, adorned as they are by various items of clothing and musical instruments seemingly being thrown at a white canvas (actually pulled away with strings and shown in reverse). We enter café Alotrea after the first appearance of an insipid running gag with a dog, to witness the reading of the deceased owners' will. That's always a good way to introduce your characters. Amongst them are the regular customers and a group of kids who form a jazz band. To keep the place up and running, Elke (or Sylvia Marhold as she is known here) sends in some of her compositions to a record company. However, not wanting her classical minded father to find out, she uses the name of fat and unfunny Valentina Tritt (played by ditto Trude Herr). I think we can all guess what happens next.

Invited to the record company almost immediately, Valentina dressed up in furs while Elke downsizes to look like Nova from 'Planet of the Apes' (in pigtails). Together they meet a stuck up popular recording star played by Jerome Courtland sporting a combination of Clark Gable's mustache and Danny Kaye's hair, who calls everyone "darling". Only Elke takes offense to this. Wonder how long it will take them to get into bed. Jerome tries out Valentina's supposed song with a bunch of groupies and it turns out to be about Brigitte Bardot. Why on earth would Elke write about her? Meanwhile the ever increasing cast keeps getting new blood: musicians drop into the rehearsals, play along a bit and join up just before the café gets a Western makeover. Clearly they thought the sight of plump Fraulein Valeria in a cowboy hat would be roll-in-the-isle hilarious. Instead only the German accents on "Ghost riders in the sky" managed to amuse me. Elke does a silly lasso dance and pretends to play the piano until her father comes in. Luckily she can hide behind the fat drummer.

Valentina gets more irritating and self-important by the minute. She clumsily throws herself into a combination photo shoot and solo number, because the overweight should always be ridiculed in funny movies like this. The equally challenged record producer Bill Stone (sometimes knows as Bill Ramsey) may yet turn out to be a love interest for her. Please let her charade be exposed soon. Back behind the bar, the entire gang pokes fun at progressive jazz clubs (another easy target) before settling down on a Russian theme for their "Cafe Oriental". Obviously these Germans have now lost all sense of direction! Not only is Russia not in the Orient, they also insist on performing 'Hava Nagilla' on the organ! By this time Elke is falling for Michael/Clark/Duncan (or is it Jerome?), singing a duet on the dance floor and ending up in the paper as soon as they kiss. I was still hoping she would get framed for multiple murders and meet Jacques Clouseau, but instead we get the usual medley of each and every song that has come before, making everyone smile and somehow resolving the whole thing by throwing in some Deux ex machina.

5 out of 10 (just for you know who)

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Plot Summary


Comedy | Musical


Release Date:

16 February 1962



Country of Origin

West Germany

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