A FISH CALLED WANDA REVIEWED
“A Fish Called Wanda” took ages to improve for me. I find that your tolerance of Kevin Kline goes a long way to making the film stand out for you. Kline eats everything scene and steals focus from Curtis and Cleese throughout the film. His Oscar win makes sense now with the added history. It’s just that the rest of the film tries too hard to be a crime farce. Even the Coen Brothers had a hard time making the similar themed Ealing homage “The Ladykillers” into something that stood up as coherent.
So, what’s the grand takeaway? The movie makes sense from a critical standpoint and in terms of humor. Ultimately, it’s a mess movie that blends storylines and desperately tries to find ways to keep George and John Cleese into the mix. At times, it feels like a six part TV series stuffed into less than two hours. That being said, it’s enjoyable.
- Commentary by writer and star John Cleese
- Brand-new appreciation by Vic Pratt of the BFI National Archive
- Brand-new interviews with composer John Du Prez, production designer Roger Murray-Leach, executive producer Steve Abbott and makeup supervisor Paul Engelen
- John Cleese’s Final Farewell Performance, a 1988 documentary on the making of A Fish Called Wanda featuring interviews with actors Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and director Charles Crichton
- Something Fishy, a 15th anniversary retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Cleese, Curtis, Kline and Palin, executive producer Steve Abbott and director of photography Alan Hume
- Fish You Were Here, a documentary on the film’s locations hosted by Robert Powell
- 24 deleted/alternative scenes with introductions by Cleese
- A Message from John Cleese, a tongue-in-cheek introduction recorded for the film’s original release
- Trivia track
- Theatrical trailer
- 1.85:1 1080p transfer
- LPCM 1.0 MONO
RELEASE DATE: 10/10/17
The Plot Thus Far
In 1988, John Cleese, former Python and the mastermind behind Fawlty Towers, teamed up with the veteran Ealing Comedy director Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob) to produce another classic of British comedy.
Cleese plays Archie Leach, a weak-willed barrister who finds himself embroiled with a quartet of ill-matched jewel thieves – two American con artists played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, Michael Palin’s animal-loving hitman and London gangster Tom Georgeson – when Georgeson is arrested. Only he and Palin know the whereabouts of the diamonds, prompting plenty of farce and in-fighting as well as some embarrassing nudity and the unfortunate demise of some innocent pooches…
Nominated for three Academy Awards and winning one for Kline’s outstanding supporting turn as the psychopathic Otto, A Fish Called Wanda has stood the test of time, earning its rightful place among its creators’ remarkable comedy pedigree.