Review: A Fish Called Wanda

Blu-ray: A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hopeless but loyal aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), along with George’s sexy girlfriend Wanda Gerschwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to rob a bank. Posing as a weapons expert and pretending to be her brother, Otto West (Kevin Kline), who is really Wanda’s fellow grafter and boyfriend, prepare the job. When it goes badly, mainly due to Wanda and Otto reporting George to the police, who is then arrested (but not before he conceals the loot), Wanda attempts to seduce George’s stuffy lawyer, Archie Leach (John Cleese), to find out where George hid the diamonds. Meanwhile, Ken repeatedly attempts to kill the only witness, an elderly woman (Patricia Hayes) who witnessed George at the robbery.

Sometimes I dread re-watching an old favourite as often time and my own maturity completely bloody ruin the film that was once so beloved. Fortunately, that definitely is not the case with Arrow Films new 4K release of A Fish Called Wanda.

If anything the passing of time gives you a sense of warmness and genuine yearning for films of this type. Directed by the then 79 year old Ealing Charles Crichton and written by and starring absolute genius (have you seen Fawlty Towers? Well then you must agree. Genius) and dare I say – Sexy posh bugger – John Cleese. Oh and talking of sexy let’s not forget the other sexy-genius, Michael Palin, and perhaps we should add sexiest woman alive Jamie Lee Curtis and all-round God Kevin Kline to the mix, and what you have is a crime caper which at its heart, has a really sweet love story between two very unlikely lovers.

Cleese can act, and I really do wish he’d been given the opportunity to do something else with real chops. We’d gotten a hint of his talent in Silverado and more in Clockwise, but A Fish Called Wwanda, for me, will always been his crowning glory. This film is all about him. A man trapped in a loveless marriage, who falls in love for the first time with a gorgeous but essentially evil sex kitten, and we laugh all the way to the airport. And what laughs they are! A lot of squashed dogs and Palin’s anguished stutters and of course Kline’s incredible turn as a thick as shit Pseudo intellectual arsehole.

One of the best comedies of the last 50 years. Buy it.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

• Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• 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
• Gallery
• Trivia track
• Theatrical trailer

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Sophie Monks Kaufman

A Fish Called Wanda will be released on 18th September 2017 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.