|A Matter of Loaf and Death|
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Written by|| Nick Park|
|Distributed by|| BBC|
|Release date|| December 25, 2008 (UK)|
September 25, 2009 (USA)
|Running time||29 minutes|
|Preceded by||The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)|
|Followed by||Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention (2010)|
A Matter of Loaf and Death is a mock murder mystery, with Wallace and Gromit starting a new bakery business. Gromit learns that bakers have been mysteriously murdered, and tries to solve the case before Wallace ends up as a victim himself. The short follows the same basic outline as A Close Shave, and in the film Wallace falls in love, with disastrous consequences. He falls for bread enthusiast Piella Bakewell, who used to advertise for a local bread firm, but she turns out to be his worst nightmare. Also this short sees Gromit falling in love for the first time, as he becomes attached to Piella's downtrodden poodle, Fluffles, who reciprocates. Wallace and Gromit have opened a new bakery, Top Bun, and business is booming, only because a deadly Cereal Killer has murdered all the other bakers in town. Gromit is worried that they may be the next victims, but Wallace does not care, as he has fallen head over heels in love with Piella Bakewell, former star of the Bake-O-Lite bread commercials. So Gromit is left to run things on his own, when he would much rather be getting better acquainted with Piella's lovely pet poodle, Fluffles.
But then Gromit makes a shocking discovery which points to the killer's true identity. Can he save his master from becoming the next baker to be butchered? And does Fluffles know more than she is saying?
The original working title for the film when the project was first announced was "Trouble at' Mill". However, the title was changed during production to "A Matter of Loaf and Death".
Baker Bob is bludgeoned to death with his own rolling pin by an unseen assailant while baking a cake; he is the latest of twelve bakers to be killed. Meanwhile, Wallace (Peter Sallis) and Gromit are running a "Dough to Door" delivery service from their bakery "Top Bun". On one such delivery, the duo save Piella Bakewell (Sally Lindsay), a former pin-up girl mascot for the Bake-O-Lite bread company, and her dog Fluffles, when the brakes on her bike appear to fail. They drive alongside so Wallace can attempt to use pastries to stop, but they careen into a zoo and barely escape being eaten by a crocodile. Gromit tests the bicycle brakes and becomes suspicious on learning that they work, but Wallace becomes smitten with Piella.
A whirlwind romance ensues, during which it is also shown that the nervous Fluffles is treated rather shabbily by Piella. Fluffles and Gromit also share a sensitive moment after she timidly returns Gromit's possessions, which have been discarded by Piella, after she gives Wallace's house (including Gromit's room) a "woman's touch". However, when she leaves her purse at the house, Wallace decides to return it, but it is raining outside. Not wanting to get wet, he insists that Gromit return it instead. Upon arriving at Piella's affluent mansion, Gromit discovers several dressmaker's dummies in her bedroom, each wearing a baker's hat and apron. In a book, Gromit discovers photographs of Piella with the murdered bakers. To his horror, Gromit discovers Piella is the "Cereal Killer" as he discovers a picture with Wallace as her apparent intended thirteenth victim, thus completing a "baker's dozen." Gromit accidentally knocks over all the dummies, but gets them all back up again before Piella enters the bedroom. Despite Piella's lavish ways, Fluffles has to sleep in an old cardboard box, covered with a tattered rag, implying years of mistreatment.
Despite Wallace being oblivious, Gromit attempts to thwart Piella by installing an airport-style metal detector in their home. After tricking Wallace into thinking that Gromit bit her, Piella almost succeeds at pushing Wallace to his death whilst a chained up Gromit can only watch, but she is thwarted by being struck by a bag of flour from Wallace's dough-mixing contraption. After an angry outburst against bakers, she leaves but returns a day later to apologies with a large cake. Wallace says that it will do nicely for four o'clock tea. When Piella is leaving to attend to the absent Fluffles (who is "not well"), she tells him he will be getting a surprise. A worried Gromit follows her home only to be caught and imprisoned with Fluffles in a storeroom. Escaping in Piella's old Bake-O-Lite hot air balloon, they arrive at Wallace's house as he is lighting the candle.
After a struggle, the cake falls to the floor and a bomb inside is revealed. While attempting to dispose of the bomb, Wallace and Gromit are attacked by Piella, who reveals she is the cereal killer and detests bakers and their creations for ruining her figure and her career as the Bake-O-Lite girl after her obesity from consuming too much bread and cakes meant she could not ride her balloon anymore. While attempting to finish off Wallace, a battle ensues between Piella and Fluffles in a yellow forklift truck covered by giant oven mitts.
In the chaos, the bomb ends up in the back of Wallace's trousers. Gromit and Fluffles neutralize the explosion using a large amount of dough while Piella uses the distraction to leap onto her balloon and escape. However, owing to her weight, the balloon crashes into the crocodile pit at the zoo where she is eaten alive (off-screen). The balloon floats away with Piella's ghost (her former slim self) waving goodbye to Wallace on her way to heaven. Distraught by the death of her owner, Fluffles leaves, with both Wallace and Gromit depressed over their losses (though Wallace cheers up after a good tea while Gromit is still upset). Deciding to take their minds off things, they head out to deliver bread and find Fluffles standing in the driveway, uncertain as to what to do or where to go. She joins them in the van and the three drive off into the sunset.
- Piella Bakewell
- Baker Bob
- Miss. Thripp
- Feathers McGraw (Brief, Cameo - Seen on zoo poster)
- This is the first Wallace and Gromit film to be shot on digital video.
- The baker who was killed in the opening scene was based on Bob Baker, one of the writers of the film.
- In this film, Gromit reads a book called, "Electric Surveillence for Dogs". In The Wrong Trousers he gained information from a book called, "Electronics for Dogs".
- The cardboard box that Fluffles sleeps reads "Meatabix", a play on the cereal Weetabix. Gromit hides in an identical box to spy on Feathers McGraw in The Wrong Trousers.
- The scene where Wallace and Gromit try to dispose the bomb, but can't because there are ducks in a pond out of one window and runs through another one is a reference to the scene in "Batman", where Batman, played by, Adam West, has similar problems whilst trying to dispose of a bomb.
- This is the first film to feature a love interest for Gromit
- In a scene where Piella and Wallace are making bread, the song 'Unchained Melody' is playing in the background
Goofs / Errors
- At one point when Piella picks Gromit off the chair, just before she accuses him of biting her, you see him from the back and his tail is missing - yet later in the film it has reappeared.
- When Piella leaves Wallaces & Gromit's home, and cycles away. The scene pans to the hallway of their house and Piella's hat and coat are hanging up, yet she has just left.
- Near the end of the movie, Piella hits Gromit away from the bomb. When the bomb falls out of the window, Piella turns and we see an impression of Gromit on her weapon. But the impression is on the wrong side.
- Piela accused Gromit of biting her yet he has no mouth.
- The bomb is knocked out of the window and gets caught in the mill sails. However, when it flies out the window, the sails have just swung past, meaning the bomb should have landed in the garden.
- In Piella's bedroom, the direction of the floorboards change between shots.
Wallace's apron is not seen when he eats the burned toast but when he reads the paper he has got it on.
[Wallace and Gromit in the baker's van]
Wallace: How's that breakfast coming on?
[Gromit presses the button on the car radio and a slice of cremated toast pops out from the cassette slot]
Wallace: Well done lad.
[Looks at the burnt toast]
Wallace: *Very* well done.