Review for A Fish Called Wanda
A Fish Called Wanda is one of the best British films ever made. It is often included on the 'Best Film' or 'Best Comedy' lists and is certainly one of the best films created by anyone within the Monty Python team. Written by John Cleese and starring him and fellow Python Michael Palin this was the greatest mix of transatlantic talent that would for a time be the key to success (see Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill).
George and his gang (the stuttering, animal lover Ken, the beautiful Wanda and her supposed psychotic brother Otto) are planning a diamond heist which they pull off. However, George is captured, not before moving the loot and so Wanda and Otto look at trying to get the diamonds back.
To do this, Wanda tries to seduce George's stuffy lawyer Archie who falls head over heels in love with her, despite being married. This leads to a number of backstabbing, shenanigans involving small dogs, Italian and Russian languages, carefully placed pictures and of course... fish.
As I say, this is one of the best comedies of all time. This is the very definition of a Romantic Comedy and certainly one that I come back to again and again. This is not just because of my love of Monty Pythin, but because it is genuinely a really good film. The performances from everyone are perfect. John Cleese as a stuffy Archie is fabulous and his chemistry with the sexy Jamie Lee Curtis as Wanda is just perfect.
The film is stolen by the Oscar winning turn by Kevin Kline as the psychotic 'Don't call me stupid' Otto and his interrogation scene with Michael Palin as Ken has got to be one of the funniest, and also meanest ever created.
Upon watching this time, I was surprised at just how well the film holds up. This is a timeless film where everything still works and I think that is why it is so beloved. Some of the moments in the film are just perfect and the scene in Archie's house with him trying to hide Wanda and then his brother still holds up as some of the best physical, visual and verbal comedy ever put on screen. Plus anyone who has ever watched Otto's apology scene will know just how much he deserved his Oscar. This is a cast on top form and it is such a shame that the pseudo-sequel Fierce Creatures was such a disappointment.
This 40th Anniversary edition features all of the features on the previous DVD including the great documentary John Cleese's Final Farewell Performance which was created at the time the film was made and goes through all the behind the scenes of the creation. Something Fishy which was made for the previous DVD and is a look back at the making of the film and its amazing critical and commercial impact. A Message from John Cleese was an introduction created at the time which has some funny moments.
Deleted and Alternative Scenes all with introductions by John Cleese as to why some scenes where not included. Most are obviously due to time and pacing, but it would have been nice if there was some way to watch these with the film as a 'Director's Cut' as Cleese does say that most of the scenes were all part of a longer cut of the film.
On Location was a look at the various locations used in A Fish Called Wanda and certainly interesting if you wanted to have a look at some of the places it was shot.
Trivia Track is a nice addition to the great commentary by John Cleese which gives more information about the film and some of the more unusual facts such as the type of fish that Wanda was. Finally, the Trailer and Image Gallery is a typical fare, the gallery is a nice look at all the production and promo shots for the film.
The only new features for this set, besides the Trivia Track and the new restoration and high definition transfer are few and far between. Appreciation by Vic Pratt is a new critical analysis of the film which is fascinating and full of some great facts and information about the film. It is surprising that they did not allow him to record a new commentary for the film as it was clear he had a lot to say about the film. A new interview with Production Designer Roger Murray-Leach which is fine. It is a shame that there is nothing else as these are the only two things that were not on the previous DVD from 2003 and surely they could have created a brand new documentary or interviews with the stars to reflect on the 40th Anniversary of the film.
A Fish Called Wanda is a perfect film. I would say that it is a shame that more new wasn't added to this edition as you could get almost everything in the previous DVD. However, if you don't own this film then I would recommend it and even if you do own it already the quality is great and the extra features are enough reason to own this one again and don't call me stupid.