A Matter of Loaf and Death - Wallace and Gromit


A Matter of Loaf and Death

The short (30 minute) Wallace and Gromit film "A Matter of Loaf and Death" aired in the UK at 8:30pm on 25th December 2008 on BBC1. As such it was perhaps a bit late for many children to watch, yet initial figures gave it an estimated peak audience of 14.4 million, which secured it the top viewing figures of the Christmas schedules, though no doubt many more will get to view in a time shifted form, such as via iPlayer.

It had actually been previously broadcast on ABC TV in Australia on Wed 3rd December 2008, and a special preview screening to an invited audience took place in Bristol on 15th November 2008, with a wider public screening on 27th Nov 2008.

The film had originally been announced with the title "Trouble at' Mill", but the title was changed during production (probably with an eye to the international audience).

Plot

Wallace and Gromit run a milling and bakery business called "Top Bun", in a town where 12 other bakers have been recently killed. Whilst out delivering bread one day, they pass Piella Bakewell, who was once the Bake-O-Lite advertising girl. Wallace saves her life when her bicycle brakes appear to fail, and they fall in love. However all is not as it seems, and Gromit finds the photo album of all the previous bakers who have been killed. Piella makes several unsuccessful attempts to kill Wallace, foiled either by Gromit, or by Piella's own poodle Fluffles, and in the end Piella perishes in the zoo's crocodile pit, whilst trying to escape by hot air balloon, for which she is now too heavy. Although Wallace is unsuccessful in love, Gromit and Fluffles get together.

References

There are many puns, jokes and references to other films, records, books etc througout the film:
A Matter of Loaf and Death
Title written in a font similar to a horror film house style
Newpaper headline Baker Bob murdered
Bob Baker wrote much of the script
The Daily Grind
Name of the newspaper - simply a phrase meaning daily life
Bake-o-Lite
Furry liquid
Fairy Liquid washing up liquid
Top Bun
The film "Top Gun"
I'm baking for Britain poster
In the style of wartime posters
Flour to the people
window sticker in the delivery van (which moves around in different shots!)
Dough to Door delivery
Slogan on the delivery van
Petrol pump
offering Diesel, 4 star, unleaded plus the less usual tea, coffee and milk
Bread bin
door to the garage
D0H NUT5
licence plate on the delivery van
MUTT
as the selection buttons on the car radio
Pat O'Cakes patisserie (will bake you a cake as fast as we can)
after the Pat-a-cake nursery rhyme
Hot cakes - sold out
Mulletts the barbers
after the word for wigs
Tank-Top Man
mixing tank-tops and the Top Man clothing chain
Take the wheel
as Gromit is literally passed the steering wheel
Shades of James Bond
as Wallace transfers from the moving car to stop the runaway bike
Shades of Indiana Jones
as he stops the bike using pressure on the wheel
Missing penguin
from an earlier Wallace and Gromit adventure
In Bread
or perhaps inbred...
Cornetto ad
as they ride on the canal
Fly to Venice with Cheesy Jet
aka EasyJet
The pottery scene
from the film Ghost
Citizen Canine
from Citizen Cane
The Beagle comic
from the Beano
Pup Fiction
from Pulp Fiction
Phoochi shoes
from Gucci
Puppy Love by Doggy Osmond
record by Donny Osmond
McFlea
record by McFly
12a Pastry Rise
being Piella's address
hanging from the chandelier
Meatabix dog food
from Weatabix
B A Lert
the author of Electronic Surveillance for Dogs (from "Be Alert")
WMD
used to label the shed full of potential weapons
Duck matches
from Swan matches
Trying to get rid of a bomb
from Batman
The loader robot
from Alien
Spinning rolling pins
from many a gunfighter in Western movies
Wallace riding around on the sails
from Dads Army
Superb Snaps
sponsor the crocodiles at the Zoo
Poochini
record
The Hound Of Music
record

Errors

Well they may be errors, or may be deliberate, but the following apparent glitches have been noticed in the film:

The Windmill

The windmill packs a lot of machinery into a small space! There's a good selection of mixed metal and wooden gearing, though hard to identify what each is driving. A flour dresser is visible in a number of shots.

Wallace's bed is on the stone floor, where rather than using flat millstones, the flour is produced with edge runners - hardly authentic, but perhaps more visually dramatic.

A traditional millstone runner stone, with the cut furrows, is seen later leaning against the inside wall of the mill.

The sails are common sails, spread with canvas that carries the "Top Bun" logo on each, and an additional piece of cloth reading "Wallace and Gromit's Traditional Bakery". They have 6 bays along the length of the sail, with one section leading the sail stock, and two following it. The cross of the sails is exactly that - both pairs of sails are in the same plane, meeting at the same point at the end of the windshaft. The sails are secured to the stocks via five metal clamps, grouped into a group of two, and one of three. There is little if any twist to the sails, which rotate anti-clockwise. The sails reach almost to the ground - and would be unable to rotate if the cap was facing in any other direction, since the house would get in the way.

The 8 sided smock of the mill is white weather boarded, with a gallery just one floor down from the cap - where it hardly helps set the sails.

The cap is roughly boatshaped, with a high mounted 6 bladed fantail at its rear. Despite being seen turning, the fantail never seems to turn the mill to another direction.

The bakery equipment is also contained within the mill, as are some of Wallace's special inventions, such as the "wake U up" bed.

There are a number of other windmill images to be seen in the film:

Model making plans for the mill can be found on the Wallace and Gromit site as part of the "Patent lesson for schools" PDF.

Production

Full film details from IMDb.

Wikipedia entry.

DVD Release

The DVD of "A Matter of Loaf and Death" is due to be released in the UK on 30th March 2009 (three months after its TV debut).

It is already available for pre-ordering via Amazon in the UK.

Tie ins

Kingsmill Bread have a widspread tie in with the film on their loaves of bread, with a competition for which the main prize is billed as "a prize of a loaf time". Kingsmill Competition site

In addition Kingsmill are running a separate competition via the main Wallace and Gromit site for which the prize includes a trip to Wimbledon windmill.

Bacheldre Watermill is producing a limited edition range of stoneground flours with a Wallace and Gromit theme.

Merchandise

Aside from the DVD release, Amazon are also listing the following items:

Forthcoming dates

7th Jan 2009
Tickets for the Science Museum exhibition "A World of Cracking Ideas" go on sale
27th March 2009
Science Museum exhibition "A World of Cracking Ideas" opens
30th March 2009
DVD release of "A Matter of Loaf and Death"

Other links



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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -