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A Fish Called Wanda
November 22, 2006

To lighten the mood, I watched an old favorite, A Fish Called Wanda. The Collector’s Edition just came out, finally, and the movie is still as enjoyable as I remember.

A Fish Called Wanda cover
A Fish Called Wanda
Buy this DVD

What was that quote about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? “He gave her class, and she gave him sex”? That applies here, as well, with John Cleese remarkably attractive as the barrister who throws away a boring wife and life to take up with Jamie Lee Curtis’ jewel thief (who has a strange reaction to foreign languages). Kevin Kline won a Supporting Actor Oscar as the wacked-out idiot gunman Otto. Cleese wrote and co-directed with experienced older helmer Charles Crichton. (Everyone makes a big deal out of that in the extras, about how he was working in film before Hitler came to power and directed some of the Ealing comedies in the 1950s.)

Extras include a new retrospective featurette, notable mostly for seeing how everyone’s aged and watching them do impersonations of their director (who passed away in 1999). There are two documentaries mostly about Cleese; an entertaining trivia track; another featurette that I haven’t watched yet; a Cleese commentary track I haven’t heard yet; and a HUGE number of deleted or alternative scenes (the listings alone take four screens).

There’s a lot of stuff, in other words. We watched the movie first, with the trivia, in order to refresh our memories before listening to the commentary. Trivia tracks, if done well, are a great way to get me to focus on the film (instead of doing something else, like being on the net, while listening to it). I was pleased to see that it was still honestly funny, because I found myself laughing at the jokes instead of out of nostalgia for how I felt when I first saw it. Definitely a worthwhile purchase — we’ll get several nights entertainment out of this for less than the price of going to the movies once.

2 Responses  
Jocelyn writes:  

Splendid movie! The sequel wasn’t so hot and fell into the “I’m laughing because it reminds me of the first one” category somewhat, but I love all these people together…

 
Johanna writes:  

Ah, yes, Fierce Creatures. All I remember about that was Kevin Kline doing some kind of bad-makeup version of Rupert Murdoch.

 

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