29 years after it was first released, A Fish Called Wanda has been restored to 4k glory and is being released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video.
A Fish Called Wanda sees George Thomason, Tom Georgeson (Notes On A Scandal, Withering Heights), Wanda Gershwitz, Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, Freaky Friday), Ken Pile, Michael Palin (Brazil, Monty Python) and Otto, Kevin Kline (Beauty And The Beast, My Old Lady) pull off a diamond heist in London.
Wanda is Thomason’s girlfriend but Wanda has brought in Otto claiming him to be her brother, when in reality he’s her lover. An idiot who loves his own body odour and hates being called stupid.
Pile is a bumbling Englishman with a stutter and an animal rights activist whose plans don’t always pan-out the way he’d hoped, some of them testing his animal friendliness.
Otto and Wanda plan to double cross Thomason, getting him to take the fall for the heist whilst they get away with the diamonds, whilst Wanda then plans to get rid of Otto to have them all to herself.
When Thomason is arrested, Wanda and Otto learn he has moved the diamonds with only Pile knowing where they are.
Pile is given the task of killing an old woman, who is the only person who can send Thomason down, whilst Wanda decides to seduce Thomason’s lawyer, Archie Leach, John Cleese (Life Of Brian, The Meaning Of Life).
With Wanda having a weakness for men who speak Italian and Russian, Leach a man after attention from the opposite sex, Pile a stuttering, bumbling buffoon and Otto a self-obsessed dim-wit, things quickly descend into chaos.
Written by and co-directed by John Cleese, A Fish Called Wanda did staggeringly well at the box-office, bringing in some $200 million worldwide. Not bad for a small English film.
Fans of Monty Python and good old-fashioned comedy capers will love A Fish Called Wanda. The physical and verbal comedy is wonderful with Palin being subjected to all manner of physical injuries and Cleese the more mental ones.
The restoration has been done well, obviously quality isn’t going to match modern standards but it’s more than watchable and worth the purchase if you don’t already have it, if nothing else you can see it in widescreen.
There are plenty of extras on the Blu-ray too: Commentary by John Cleese, Something Fishy – a recent-ish retrospective by the cast and producers, An Appreciation by Vic Pratt – good if you want to listen to Pratt prattle on about the film, Interview with Roger Murray-Leach – the production designer, a TV program called On Location – presented by Robert Powell, A Message From John Cleese, Deleted and Alternative Scenes, Image Gallery, Trivia Pack and Trailer.
You also get John Cleese’s First Farewell Performance – a nearly hour-long, documentary about the making of A Fish Called Wanda which takes you through interviews with Palin and Cleese and through his writing process and rehearsals. Whilst it’s very prim and proper and old-fashioned BBC-esq in the interviews and how it’s all put together, it’s very good content-wise.