Fish Called Wanda Description
In A FISH CALLED WANDA, veteran director Charles Crichton and
scriptwriter-star John Cleese create a dazzling quilt from various
strands of English and American comedy. The plot, in which four
disparate characters attempt a daring heist, comes from Ealing caper
comedies, such as Crichton’s own THE LAVENDER HILL MOB. Cleese and
Michael Palin, as the hit man with a stutter and a love of animals,
come from the anarchic tradition of Monty Python. The movie pays
savage tribute to another Ealing comedy, THE LADYKILLERS, as Palin
attempts to kill a witness to the gang’s getaway. The glamorous
con woman (Jamie Lee Curtis) is from Preston Sturges’s great
comedy THE LADY EVE, while Kevin Kline provides his own unique
feverish comic intensity.
But, in the midst of this breathless comedy, something else happens.
The barrister, Archie Leach (Cleese), who is defending one of the
gang, is jolted out of his tight-laced British existence by
Curtis’s life force. And Curtis--like Barbara Stanwyck in THE LADY
EVE--falls into her own trap: falling in love with the man she’s
conning. The 78-year-old Crichton never before had such rich
material. He times everything in this brilliant comedy with the
precision of a Swiss watch.
Theatrical release: July 29, 1988.
Filmed at Twickenham Studios and at location in London and Oxford,
A FISH CALLED WANDA is number 21 on the American Film Institute’s
list of America's 100 Funniest Movies.
A FISH CALLED WANDA is number 39 on the British Film Institute’s
Top 100 British Films of the 20th Century.
Archibald Leach is the name that John Cleese and Charles Crichton
give to the character that Cleese plays in A FISH CALLED WANDA. This
is a tribute to the great Cary Grant--Archibald Leach was Grant's
Stephen Fry makes a brief cameo appearance in the airport sequence.
He is best known for his television roles in BLACKADDER II and
JEEVES AND WOOSTER. Also he is the author of THE LIAR, THE
HIPPOPOTAMUS, and MOAB IS MY WASHPOT. And he starred as Oscar Wilde
"I used to box for Oxford."--Archie
"I used to kill for the CIA."--Otto (Kevin Kline)
"To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people. I've
known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher
I.Qs."--Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) to Otto
"Wanda, do you have any idea what it's like being English?
Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of
doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone 'Are you married?' and
hearing 'My wife left me this morning,' or saying, uh, 'Do you have
children?' and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday? You
see, Wanda, we're all terrified of embarrassment. That's why we're
so dead. Most of my friends are dead, you know, we have these piles
of corpses to dinner. But you're alive, God bless you, and I want to
be, I'm so fed up with all this. I want to make love with you,
Wanda. I'm a good lover--at least I used to be, back in the early
fourteenth century. Can we go to bed?--Archie to Wanda
"Not you, Ken; you've got a beautiful speaking voice--when it
works."--Otto to Ken (Micahel Palin)
An odd quartet of thieves pulls off "the big
jewel job," but only the brains of the operation knows where
the gems are hidden. Unfortunately he's in prison and needs his
stuffy defense counsel--and so do the other gang members--to go get
the stash for them.
"...A convulsively funny affair....It's a
smart farce about ingrained cultural differences..."
"...Wildly out of control as well as wildly
funny, this sleeper smash is also Oscar-nominated for script and
Pan & Scan -
Dual Side - Single Layer
Dolby Digital Mono - English
Dolby Digital Mono - French
Additional Release Material:
1. Original Theatrical Trailer