Blu-Ray Review: A Fish Called Wanda

It’s arguable that the greatest British post-war comedy came from the minds of the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Cleese, Idle, Chapman, Palin, Jones and Gilliam transformed the face of comedy forever. However, they were building on the foundations laid during the post-war period. Principally, by the Ealing Comedies. In A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese and director Charles Crichton draw on those influences to create a classic crime caper.

George Thomason (Tom Georgeson), a London gangster, is planning a jewel heist. He enlists the trustworthy but hapless animal-loving stuttering Ken (Michael Palin). He also brings in two American siblings: Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), a con artist, and Otto (Kevin Kline), a weapons expert. Everything goes to plan until he’s shopped to the police. The loot has been stowed away and Wanda decides the best way to get to it is through George’s barrister Arthur Leach (Cleese).

A Fish Called Wanda is an entertaining comedy yarn with a magnificent cast of talented comedic actors. The standout performances come from Palin and Klein, who both seem to be having incredible amounts of fun. The plot itself is a mix of Ealing Comedy and French farce, which is beautifully balanced between the four main protagonists. A Fish Called Wanda is a British comedy classic and the last of its kind.

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 is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 18 September.

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