The Celluloid Pantry: Lobster Wrangling and Annie Hall (1977)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“Annie, there’s a big lobster behind the refrigerator. I can’t get it out… Maybe if I put a little dish of butter sauce here with a nutcracker, it will run out the other side.”

Lobsters bring out a strange range of emotions. Here, in one of the many memorable moments in Annie Hall (1977), we get a dizzying, scuttling display. The scene is a scant 1 min., 15 secs long, but it’s so full of frenetic movement, and so much genuine chemistry exists between the two actors, it was hard to capture a frame for this post without a lot of blur.

It all happens in a kitchen in a house in the Hamptons. There’s a torn paper bag on the tiled floor, and lobsters are crawling out every which way. Dishes are stacked up on the drain board, and a big black pot is heating on the stove. Annie (Diane Keaton) just doesn’t have the heart (“I can’t!…I can’t put a live thing in hot water.”) Alvy (Woody Allen) has no qualms (“Gimme! Gimme! Let me do it! What-what’s he think we’re gonna do, take him to the movies?”), though squeamishness (“Oh God, it’s disgusting!”) keeps stopping him in his tracks. By the end of it, between the two of them, Annie and Alvy manage to get just one of the unruly critters in the pot.

Could you do it? As much as I like lobster, I don’t ever think I could.