Sugar Baby (1985): Adlon’s Romantic Fable, Starring

Sugar Baby, Percy Adlon’s follow-up to his breakthrough feature, Celeste, is a slight, yet intelligent and charming romantic serio-comedy, about a truly odd couple.

The protag is Marianne, a middle-aged, overweight, slovenly and lonely assistant to a funeral director in Munich. She spends her time relaxing in an indoor swimming pool, commuting on the subway between her apartment and the funeral home, and munching candy bars in bed while watching TV.

This allows her to revisit her teenage “crush” for the pop singer Peter Kraus and his hit “Sugar Baby”.

During a trip, she becomes aware of the train driver, and is immediately smitten by his look and voice. He is young, tall, lean and blond, not unlike Kraus.  After some detective, she learns his name (Huber), marital status (a cold, overbearing wife), and favorite candy bar.

A romance of sorts ensues. They make love, and he moves in with her. She takes holidays, buys him clothes, and he takes her on his motorcycle.  They also share intimate episodes of their life, like her unhappy childhood and his fear of getting into a fatal accident.

They enjoy each others’ company and she fantasizes a life together, but, alas, it’s not destined to last.

Though the tale is light and slight, the two central characters are defined by free-spirited energy.

Sägebrecht renders a naturally compelling performance as the lovable heroine, who is determined to get her lover boy at all costs and means, regardless of her age, size, and weight.

The movie, which became an international art hit, benefits from its colorful design, and visual style, which relies on a dynamic camera that wanders and sways this way and that way.

Sugar Baby is considered by some critics to be the first panel of a trilogy starring Sagebrecht, followed by Bagdad Cafe (Adlon’s best film) and Rosalie Goes Shopping.

Marianne Sägebrecht as Marianne
Eisi Gulp as Huber
Toni Berger as mortician
Manuela Denz as Frau Huber
Will Spindler as train conductor
Paul Würges as dance band leader