The Butter Kitchen on C8: a painful experience for Bourvil

C8 broadcasts at 9:05 pm “La Cuisine aueurre”, a comedy by Gilles Grangier which brings together Bourvil and Fernandel. A duo that was made to get along. And yet, the relationship behind the scenes was complicated to say the least.

In 1963, La Cuisine aueurre, a comedy by Gilles Grangier, was released at the cinema, which tells of the rivalry between two men, one, an epicurean Marseillais, and the other, Normand worker, with the backdrop of the management of a restaurant in Martigues. This film is the opportunity to see Fernandel and Bourvil reunited on screen, an idea of ​​tandem that we owe to producer Robert Dorfmann.

Originally, the project was only based on a face-to-face concept between two actors. There is not the shadow of a plot, or even a title. Whatever, Bourvil and Fernandel sign and start filming four months later. For Bourvil, who began his career by taking songs of Fernandel in radio-hooks, offers himself the opportunity to give the answer to his idol. The realization of a dream in a way.


But very quickly, the two actors become disillusioned. They realize that the script is not strong enough and lacks consistency. Fernandel gets angry and demands that everything be rewritten. Filming was paused and resumed a few weeks later with new dialogues and a leading female role entrusted to Claire Maurier, an actress who has proven herself with Molinaro and Truffaut. A choice that the star of the French comedy once again disapproves of, to the point of not speaking to him for the entire shoot.


Bourvil is disappointed by such a reaction from the one who gave birth to his vocation. He who is so reserved, moreover, has trouble coming to terms with Fernandel’s expansive character. What’s more, this one behaves like a diva on set, not bothering to greet the team after being driven by his driver. He monopolizes everyone’s attention, on and off the set, in front of journalists.

In addition to the bloodstrokes of his playing partner, Bourvil feels like he is only considered a mere foil. War is declared: it is the one who will henceforth have the most lines, scenes and close-ups. Until the end of the shoot, between each take, Bourvil will hide in silence.

Despite this discord, La Cuisine au Butter was a success when it was released, with no less than 6.3 million spectators. The duo is even awarded the Courteline Prize, which rewards cinema humor. But aware that Fernandel will do everything to be the star of the ceremony, Bourvil prefers to decline the invitation. The latter’s bitter disappointment was erased a few months later by the filming of Corniaud, the start of a flourishing collaboration with another great name in French comedy: Louis de Funès.

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