Intoduction to Food in the Movies
This "Spotlight" is hosted by Anthony Bourdain, the American chef, author of such books as No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach (2007) and Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and People Who Cook (2010), and the host of television shows including CNN's current Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bourdain gained hands-on experience by running a number of restaurants in his native New York City. He attained instant popularity with his best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000), leading to other books and articles in such publications as The New York Times and The New Yorker. On television, he has headed his own programs on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, in addition to appearing as a guest on numerous other shows. Parts Unknown, which premiered on CNN in April 2013, won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series and continues to showcase Bourdain's salty personality and his love of exotic food from various locales.
Each Friday night our "Spotlight" showcases two double features, with each pair of films devoted to a different theme. These themes begin with such Master Chefs as Chu (Sihung Lung), the creator of gourmet Chinese food in Eat Drink Man Woman (1994); and Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck), the German chef of Mostly Martha (2001, TCM premiere). Food and Sex features not only Tom Jones but Women in Love (1969), with its notorious scene in which Alan Bates describes the sensuous qualities of a ripe fig. Holiday Meals include the one supposedly whipped up by Barbara Stanwyck as she poses as a cooking expert in Christmas in Connecticut (1945), and an outing to a Chinese restaurant by the family in A Christmas Story (1983) after neighborhood dogs abscond with the Christmas turkey. Dinner & Conversation focuses on My Dinner with Andre (1981, TCM premiere), in which Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn discuss their varying world views while dining out at a chic New York City restaurant; and Diner (1982), set at a Baltimore eatery where a group of twenty-something chums (including Mickey Rourke and Kevin Bacon) chow down and chew over various problems in their lives.
Not Enough Food is the problem in Oliver! (1968), with Mark Lester in the title role famously pleading, "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" And, in The Gold Rush (1925), Charlie Chaplin is so hungry that he boils a shoe and slurps up the laces like spaghetti! But there's simply Too Much Food in The Loved One (1965), with Ayllene Gibbons as an obese mom who hilariously overstuffs herself - not to mention Cool Hand Luke and those eggs. Big Nights include, naturally, Big Night (1996, TCM premiere), the account of Italian immigrant brothers struggling to open a restaurant in 1950s New Jersey; and Babette's Feast, that wonderful Danish film in which a lavish and delectable spread of food leads to the spiritual redemption of the characters. Finally, we have People Food, - and that's to be taken literally in two thrillers about human consumption of, well, humans. Soylent Green (1973) is a sci-fi fantasy about a futuristic society where a police detective (Charlton Heston) investigates a mysterious green wafer being rationed by the Soylent Corporation; while Night of the Living Dead (1968) is the granddaddy of all those horror movies about zombies on the prowl for living human flesh.