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The Wing or the Thigh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Wing or the Thigh
L'aile ou la cuisse.jpg
Directed byClaude Zidi
Produced byChristian Fechner
Written byClaude Zidi
Michel Fabre
StarringLouis de Funès
Claude Gensac
Julien Guiomar
Martin Lamotte
Ann Zacharias
CinematographyWladimir Ivanov
Claude Renoir
Edited byRobert Isnardon
Monique Isnardon
Distributed byFilms Christian Fechner, TriStar Pictures (North America)
Release date
27 October 1976
Running time
104 minutes
Box office$43.8 million[1]

The Wing or the Thigh, from the French L'aile ou la cuisse (French pronunciation: ​[lɛɥis]) is a 1976 French comedy film directed by Claude Zidi, starring Louis de Funès and Coluche.


Charles Duchemin (Louis de Funès) is the editor of an internationally known restaurant guide, for which he still personally performs numerous restaurant tests using an assortment of elaborate disguises to escape detection by the restaurant owners. After being appointed to the Académie française, Duchemin decides to retire as a restaurant critic and trains his son Gérard (Coluche) to continue the family business. However, unbeknownst to Charles, Gérard is more interested in his true passion—working as a clown in a small circus which he has co-founded and supports financially.

Charles Duchemin is informed that Jacques Tricatel (Julien Guiomar), the owner of a company of mass-produced food, is trying to take over a large number of quality restaurants which had been awarded stars by Duchemin. Duchemin fears that customers will be misled into eating low quality food at Tricatel-owned restaurants. A short time later, an operative hired by Tricatel enters Duchemin's offices and tries to steal the almost finished restaurant guide from this year. Duchemin is able to trick the operative into stealing last year's data and, together with Gérard, follows him to watch him hand over the files to Tricatel's assistant Lambert (Daniel Langlet).

Duchemin resolves to fight against Tricatel. First he agrees to appear on a famous talk show hosted by Philippe Bouvard, who had long been trying to get Duchemin on the show, but only under the condition that Tricatel also be invited. He then orders his staff to obtain incriminating information on Tricatel which he plans to use during the talk show confrontation.

Charles begins a lengthy tour of France's restaurants to finish up this year's restaurant guide. Gérard decides to come with him because Charles' new young secretary Marguerite (Ann Zacharias) will also attend and Gérard is smitten by her. During the tour, they are followed by Lambert. Since the circus cannot perform without Gérard, it is decided that the circus will follow the Duchemins' journey and Gérard will slip out of the hotel every night to take part in the performance. During one of the nights Gérard is followed by Lambert, who gives this information to Tricatel. He, in turn, informs Charles who secretly attends the next circus performance. During the performance he confronts Gérard and fires him.

When Charles returns to the hotel-restaurant alone, he himself is confronted by the manager. The manager once was the owner of a highly rated restaurant but Duchemin had taken away the restaurant's stars a few years ago, which led to his bankruptcy. He had to sell his business to Tricatel which now delivers the disgusting food that is served in the restaurant. The manager forces Charles at gunpoint to eat all the leftovers in the kitchen, leading Charles to become ill.

The next day, when recuperating in the hospital, Charles notices that the ordeal has completely taken away his sense of taste. Lambert, who is still shadowing the Duchemins, finds this out and gives the information to Tricatel who plans to humiliate Duchemin by letting him perform a blind tasting during the talk show. He also informs the press of Charles' condition who swarm the hospital. After Charles rehires Gérard, both manage to escape the journalists and lay low in Gérard's circus.

On the day of the talk show Charles and Gérard, with Marguerite's help, infiltrate Tricatel's food factory to obtain incriminating evidence. They find out that all the food is made from artificial ingredients, e.g. petroleum and rubber. They are discovered by company security. When this information is brought to Tricatel, who is already in the TV studio, he demands that both be killed discreetly in the factory. The security forces try to chase the Duchemins into a food processing machine where they would be killed without leaving a trace, but Charles notices the trap and they can trick the security forces into believing they have been killed and flee the factory with some of the artificial food as evidence.

They return to the talk show at the last minute. Charles lets Gérard perform the blind tasting demanded by Tricatel, who does a good job until the last challenge: a red wine. When Charles sees Gérard struggle, he storms the stage and successfully identifies the wine by simply looking at it in the wine glass. Then the Duchemins let Tricatel perform a taste test with the food they obtained from the factory. When Tricatel is totally disgusted by the food they let everyone know that those are Tricatel's own products. Furthermore, Tricatel's demand to kill the Duchemins had inadvertendly been filmed and is now shown to the audience. Tricatel is booed from the stage.

The film ends with Gérard handing in his resignation but reconsidering when he finds out that Marguerite will continue to work for the company.


Critical reception

The film received a mixed critical reception.


The film received a Goldene Leinwand (Golden Screen) in Germany in 1978.[2]


Coluche in the film.
Coluche in the film.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Awards for Brust oder Keule". Retrieved 17 January 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 13:51
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