Cinematic beauty can take many different forms. Talented actors, stunning cinematography and spectacular scenery set the pace for love and war, peace or defiance. But take all three, add some of the best looking food in film history and prepare for some pretty appetising action.
We’ve scoured through some of the best blockbusters and picked out six of the top scenes which made us laugh, cry and downright hungry. From desserts with subliminal fascism to a cool slice of revenge pie, grab your knife and fork and prepare to tuck in.
1. The Gold Rush
Let’s be honest, only Charlie Chaplin can make two rolls on the ends of forks look positively adorable. Taken from his 1925 film, Chaplin plays The Lone Prospector who heads for the Klondike in search of gold, meeting some burly characters and falling in love along the way.
The Lone Prospector here has drifted off into a reverie of how he would impress a Monte Carlo girl at a News Year’s Eve party. His singular sense of humour, raised brows and child-like smile make him all the more endearing and prove that a genius like Mr Chaplin never needed words to charm.
2. Marie Antoinette
The only thing more delicious than the scandals were the French desserts in Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece. This epic scene shows Queen Marie dining on decadent desserts as she dresses and gambles to her heart’s content. We’re talking gold foiled tarts, strawberry filled eclairs and layers of cream topped pastries in between illustrious shots of silk shoes, jewels and champagne. Set against an appropriately themed ‘I want candy’ cover, this seventeenth century queen really takes the biscuit.
3. Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino is a genius when it comes to food in film, and this scene is no exception. Shoshanna, a Jewish escapee, finds herself introduced to Hans Landa – the Nazi captain she evaded after he viciously murdered her family. He very casually decides to interrogate her while tucking into a thick, flaky strudel with cream.
Symbolism is everything. He orders her a glass of milk, and then charmingly says he forgot to order the cream so asks her specifically to wait, in somewhat awkward silence. The direct references to dairy are Landa’s innocuous way of showing he knows exactly who she is. As he knows fully well, she was harboured on, and witnessed her family’s death at his hand at, a dairy farm. The stubbing of the cigarette in the strudel is an ice cold final strike from the sickly sweet master of torture. His serene stare at the end is hypnotic and had us applauding both the strudel and the Waltz at being such scene stealers.
This eight second shot in the opening of Jean Pierre Jeunet’s classic perfectly sums up the film. After shots of petite Amelie playing with a hand puppet, dominos and cherry earrings, we see her with raspberries over the tip of each finger popping them into her mouth one after the other. Much like many of Jeunet’s work, the angles and music are the perfect accompaniment to scenes like this and add an abnormal element to the innocence of a child. The choice of fruit is both sweet and sour and is perhaps the perfect introduction to the story and the protagonist, a peculiar but loveable girl.
Rope is based on the 1929 play by British writer Patrick Hamilton and is extraordinarily underrated: it deals with the complex notion of intellectual superiority and melodrama all in one room. After two university students kill their friend they decide to serve a buffet meal from the chest in which the body is hidden. The crashing realisation of their teacher Rupert (James Stuart) is perfectly timed with the serving of dessert.
His walk across the room holding a pyramidal shaped ice cream topped with chocolate and a cherry is totally nonchalant. Standing inches from the chest, he gazes intently at the maid while taking small spoonfuls. Hitchcock’s decision to serve a cherry topped dessert screams symbolic oppositions and metaphoric wisdom.
6. The Help
Being realistic, this scene is probably what won Octavia Spencer an Academy Award back in 2012. She plays Minny, a maid in 1960’s Mississippi serving a steaming slice of revenge to her former boss, Miss Hilly, who unjustly accused her of stealing silver before dismissing her. Minny arrives at the house with what appears to be a peace offering and watches serenely on (suspiciously so) as her boss chows down two slices. When Hilly then attempts to hire her back, Minny replies with the aptly abrupt phrase ‘Eat my shit’. The scene connotes a complete power reversal, finally putting Hilly in her place and restoring the reputation of a black maid in a divided society. It may take you a while to start eating chocolate again but this ‘terrible awful’ shows that revenge is a dish best served cold.
Words by Azmina Sohail. You can find more at her Twitter @AzminaSoh