Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by William Aldrich
Written by Peter Stone
Starring George Segal
Jacqueline Bisset
Robert Morley
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Philippe Noiret
Jean Rochefort
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography John Alcott
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
October 5, 1978
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
West Germany
Language English

Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? is a 1978 comedy mystery film starring George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Morley based on the novel Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe by Nan and Ivan Lyons. It was released in the U.K. under the title Too Many Chefs. The chefs are each killed in a manner reflecting their most famous dishes (for example, the lobster chef is drowned; in the book, the recipe for each dish is given). The film was co-produced by the U.S., Italy, France and West Germany. The film was originally distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Lorimar. Warner Communications acquired Lorimar in 1989 and now owns the rights to the film.


Natasha "Nat" O'Brien (Jacqueline Bisset) is a celebrated pastry chef invited to London to assist in preparing a state dinner for the Queen, organized by culinary critic Maximillian "Max" Vandeveer (Robert Morley). Natasha's ex-husband, Robert "Robby" Ross (George Segal), is a fast food entrepreneur ("the Taco King") serving the "everyman" consumer while she caters to the affluent. Max is the "calamitously fat" grand gourmand publisher of a gourmet magazine Epicurious and is patron of several famous European chefs, each renowned for a signature dish. When Natasha arrives, Max is gloating over his latest issue, featuring "the world's most fabulous meal," which highlights the culinary masterpieces of his favorite chefs. However, Max's health is failing from an addiction to those chefs' specialties. After completing the meal at Buckingham Palace, Natasha has a one-night fling with chef Louis Kohner (Jean-Pierre Cassel) whose speciality is baked pigeon in crust. The next morning, Natasha finds Louis dead in a 450° oven. After being questioned by Inspector Blodgett (Frank Windsor), Natasha and Robby depart for Venice, where Natasha is wooed by another chef, Fausto Zoppi (Stefano Satta Flores), whose speciality is a lobster dish. However, when turning up for their date at his kitchen, Natasha finds Zoppi dead in a tank of lobsters. After more questioning, this time by Venice police, Natasha receives a call from Robby to come to Paris to help prevent one member of a group of French chefs from being murdered. When they arrive, they hold a meeting discussing how Louis and Zoppi were killed and what to do next. Later that night, after a phone call from Max (who learns from Beecham (Madge Ryan) that Natasha is no longer in Venice, but in Paris staying with Robby), Natasha puts together what Louis and Zoppi had in common-- both made a dish featured in the aforementioned magazine article. It is now known that the next to be killed will be Jean-Claude Moulineau (Philippe Noiret), whose speciality is pressed duck. The disturbing fact is that Natasha will be the last to be killed, her speciality being a cake known as "Le' Bombe Richelieu." Robby tries to calm Natasha down by suspecting Max as the killer, with the motive that he was the one who selected Natasha, Louis, Fausto and Jean-Claude to be in the magazine, but Natasha believes the killer is really Auguste Grandvilliers (Jean Rochefort), with the motive that he was left off the list; however, when they attempt to call Moulineau to warn him, instead they receive a phone call from Grandvilliers that someone is at his restaurant. When they arrive, Robby and Natasha find Grandvilliers on a meat hook in the freezer, still alive. Meanwhile, Robby and Natasha begin falling in love again. The next morning, after being questioned by police, Natasha and Robby learn from Inspector Doyle (Tim Barlow) that Moulineau was killed after being pushed headfirst into a duck-press. Back in London, Natasha is set to be a guest on A Moveable Feast. Robby initially decides to stay with her to keep her safe. However, Robby and Natasha learn from Max that Blodgett called Beecham to inform her that Grandvilliers confessed to the murders, so Robby can head to Brussels. As he is heading to the airport, he's watching Natasha on TV and realizes that the cake that Natasha is set to light-- the cake Robby poked three holes into like a bowling ball-- was switched and now has a bomb inside it. He calls Blodgett to confront him about Grandvilliers' confession, only to learn no one confessed. That's when Robby once again suspects Max is the killer. He arrives at the TV studio and rescues her just in time, as 30-45 seconds later, the cake explodes on-air. In the end, the killer turns out to be not Max, as Robby suspected, but Beecham, Max's dedicated assistant whose motive was to kill the chefs in a vain attempt to keep Max on his severe diet by removing the focus of his addiction. In the final scene, Robby and Natasha get remarried.



Morley won Best Supporting Actor at the 1978 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (1978) and at the National Society of Film Critics Awards (1979). He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Supporting Role along with Bisset for Best Motion Picture Actress (1979).


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