Films for Foodies: The Silence of the Lambs

Categories: Food in Film

"Tell me, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?" Oh, now I want lamb!
Movie studios scramble to have big-name stars headline their films, but in many of my favorite movies food is the star. Few things are better than pairing a foodie film with a great meal so we can enjoy ourselves just as much as the folks onscreen are enjoying their own aliments. In this series, we'll highlight a movie in which food plays a leading role and suggest one or more local spots to provide an accompanying feast for you. Pull up a table and dim the lights, the show's about to begin.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The movie, based on the novel by Thomas Harris, begins with rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling being given the task of interviewing incarcerated serial killer Hannibal Lecter to obtain his help in the pursuit of another serial killer, Buffalo Bill, who skins his victims. Lecter, a former psychiatrist, is in prison for killing and eating multiple victims. He seems to take a liking to Starling, and after a U.S. senator's daughter is kidnapped, presumably by Buffalo Bill, Starling is instructed to offer Lecter a transfer to another prison if he helps in Buffalo Bill's capture.

During their conversations, Lecter is able to coax Starling into telling him about her childhood, even though she was warned not to give him any details of her life. As part of his deal with the FBI, Lecter is flown to Tennessee, where he does help Starling with the case in exchange for more personal information. While Starling is out hunting down Buffalo Bill, Lecter brutally kills two guards, escapes and disappears.

Warning: Go directly to page 2 to avoid spoilers!

Poor Dr. Lecter. It's hard to eat when your mouth is covered like that.
Starling ends up in Ohio at the home of a man who she believes is a childhood friend of Buffalo Bill but who turns out to be the serial killer himself. A game of cat and mouse throughout the dark house ensues, and Starling eventually shoots and kills Buffalo Bill just as he cocks his gun to shoot her.

Later, at her graduation from the FBI Academy, Starling gets a call from Lecter, who's now in Bimini. He assures her he won't come after her, but she says she can't promise the same. Lecter says he has to go, because he's "having an old friend for dinner," and as the film ends, Lecter stalks his former prison warden through the streets before disappearing into the crowd.

Location Info

Charivari Restaurant

2521 Bagby St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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MadMac topcommenter

Fun stuff, Ms. Steinberg. I love this movie. It's one of the few that's better than the book and that's no easy feat. I always wonder if the director/screen writer change the wine from a "big Amarone," to  Chianti for the audience recognition/understanding or out of preference.

KaitlinS topcommenter

@MadMac I'm guessing it was for audience recognition. I know the author had a say in the whole production process, so I'm thinking he wouldn't have changed it without a reason. All I know is that I can't hear the word Chianti without thinking of that little noise Lecter makes with his lips.


@KaitlinS @MadMac Great film, superb acting, and who does not love fava beans?

MadMac topcommenter

You can have my share, Mr. Brock. I wouldn't cheat you o' them. You're probably right, Ms. Steinberg. I think I read Mr. Harris took the Cordon Bleu exams. As for the "yummy" sound--well, what would you call it?--PHREE-HEEA-KEEEEY.

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