Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
Dir: Ted Kotcheff
Str: George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert
Who is killing the great chefs of Europe? is a movie that has both
muder mystery and comedy elements.
As far as I can remember, in the 1970s, there appeared three movies that
mixed the elements of murder mystery with the ones of comedy, and I can surely say all of them were quite excellent.
They are Murder by Death (1976), Silver Streak (1976), and Who is killing the great chefs of Europe?.
As I mentioned the first one in another review, I am not going to refer to it here. As for SilverStreak,
the comedy element is mostly derived from the performances of two lead comedians, Jene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
So I don't have much to say about this film here, though it is a very entertaining movie indeed. On the other hand,
in the case of Who is killing the great chefs of Europe?, there are elements that are not completely
dependant on comedic performances and, nevertheless, succeed in adding comedy flavor. Before explaining it, I firstly
introduce the synopsis of this excellent movie.
What is the story like?
Who is killing the great chefs of Europe? is an utterly hilarious movie,
even if many famous European actors such as Jan-Pierre Cassel, Philip Noiret are brutaly murdered in the proceeding.
They are murdered in such a way as they usually cook their own special dishes. For example, Jan-Pierre Cassel whose
speciality is the roasted pigeon is murdered in an oven, and Philip Noiret whose speciality is the pressed duck
is murdered in a confined place, and the heroin, Jacqueline Bisset, is about to be killed by a bomb. As those who
have never seen this movie before might think what a bomb has got to do with a dish, I am going to explain it here.
Her speciality is dessert and she is especially famous for the bomb-shaped dessert called "la bombe"
which, for me, looks nothing but a toy crown used for kindergarten performances. But, to my surprise, even a certain
lady of the royal family praises this odd stuff. Incredible isn't it? Though I assume probably the writer managed
to come up with such a stuff as was barely suitable for a comedy element, imaging such an endeavor of the writer's
part is ten times funnier than the stuff itself. Anyway so the title comes. Who is killing the great chefs of Europe?
However, since the movie's main focus never resides in answering this question, your effort to try to answer it
wouldn't pay so hansomely, I guarantee. So you should not be disappointed when the real murderer is revealed in
the last scene.
I've never seen such a colorful movie before. I thought so when I
watched this movie for the first time.
Then, what is the focal point of this movie? Firstly, I would like to say that
the movie is surprisingly colorful. When I watched this film in a movie theater for the first time, I thought I
had never seen such a colorful movie before. Not only by various colorful and gorgeous banquet dishes, but also
by colorful locations in several European cities does the visual effect truely become very stunning. The word "visual
feast" would be the most suitable word for expressing this film. Furthermore, the music composed by Henri
Mancini is quite appropriate to the overall ambiance and surprisingly hilarious. I assure that you will be surely
entertained by this film, if it cannot be called a masterpiece.
What is George Segal doing among almost entirely European cast?
He looks like an evangelist trying to introduce American easy-going
culture to Eourope.
By the way, most of the players in this movie are European actors and actresses
despite the fact the movie is American made. The only exception is George Segal. Although Jacqueline Bisset has
so far appeared more in American movies than in British ones, she is essentially a British actress, for she has
a quality American actresses rarely have; i.e. elegance. And the comic element mainly comes from this only-American-in-this-film
George Segal's desperate struggle for establishing an American first food chain in European countries whose culture
places high value on culinary skills. Especially the inflatable balloon figure to be used for the advertisement
of American first food products looks a caricature insinuating the coarseness of American easy-going mass-consumption.
Of course, I don't think the movie is intended for explicating the difference between American culture and European
one, for it is too much a subject to be handled in this kind of comedy movies. But, whenever I watch the movie,
I am always wondering whether, by this film, European people are making fun of American culture or American people
are making fun of European one (after all, this is an American movie) or rather both way. And the scene George
Segal misunderstands the meaning of the word "second floor" seems to be symbolizing the cultural difference
between America and Europe very well, and, by watching this scene, I have noticed anew that even between these
two countries both of which utilize English as an official language, there are many differences that may cause
several awkard situations between them.