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A Fish Called Wanda

UK / USA 1988
produced by
Michael Shamberg, Steve Abbott (executive), John Cleese (executive) for Prominent Features, MGM
directed by Charles Crichton
starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson, Patricia Hayes, Geoffrey Palmer, Cynthia Cleese, Mark Elwes, Neville Phillips, Peter Jonfield, Ken Campbell, Al Ashton, Roger Hume, Roger Brierley, Llewellyn Rees, Michael Percival, Kate Lansbury, Robert Ian Mackenzie, Andrew MacLachlan, Roland MacLeod, Jeremy Child, Pamela Miles, Tom Pigott Smith, Katherine John, Sophie Johnstone, Kim Barclay, Sharon Marino, Patrick Newman, David Simeon, Imogen Bickford-Smith, Tia Lee, Robert Putt, Waydon Croft, John Dixon, Anthony Pedley, Robert McBain, Clare McIntyre, Charu Bala Chokshi, Stephen Fry
story by John Cleese, Charles Crichton, screenplay by John Cleese, music by John Du Prez

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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For his latest jewelry heist, gangster boss George (Tom Georgeson) has gathered an illustruous little band of misfits, his stuttering right hand man Ken (Michael Palin), his American girlfriend Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Wanda's "brother" Otto (Kevin Kline), who's of course anything but her brother. The heist goes a-ok as well, but then Wanda and Otto rat out on George to divide the loot among themselves - but George had the loot shipped to a safe place. But with him in prison, what's to do?

Wanda decides to get friendly with George's lawyer Archie (John Cleese), to persuade him to persuade George do give away the location of the loot - and Archie, stuck in a sparkless marriage, is very receptive to her advances. And it seems like Wanda's starting to care for him as well - much to the dismay of Otto, who more than once intervenes when they're about to get intimate and this way also sabotages her plans to get Archie to unwittingly work for them. But ultimately, George spills the beans of the loot's whereabouts to Ken, and Ken really can't keep it to himself - and once everybody knows, all hell breaks loose ...


I will say that much, A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese's biggest success as a leading man, does show a bit of a watered down version of the comic, nothing in the film is as anarchistic as his Monty Python shenanigans, nor is he nearly as (enjoyably) over the top as in Fawlty Towers, to quote but his two previous biggest successes. But that's not only a bad thing, as A Fish Called Wanda is much more reminiscent of Ealing comedies (if in more modern settings) from the 1950s (of which director Charles Crichton did direct his fair share) than Cleese's own past efforts, with its combination of clever dialogues, slightly raunchy humour, and bits of slapstick, all carried by great character actors and delivered in a very British sort of way with lots of understatement and plenty of stiff upper lip. And the result is quite simply a comedy that's next to impossible not to laugh about - which is all one ought to ask from a comedy ...


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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