Movie Club: A Fish Called Wanda

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're sticking the 1980s with the classic British comedy A Fish Called Wanda. After the intensity of a lot of the recent films it's time for something a bit more light-hearted.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
     
  2. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    A Fish Called Wanda is a hilarious film; John Cleese is one of my favorite comedic actors, and his dry humor was perfect re: this material. I've seen this movie three times: Once in an heavily edited network TV broadcast circa 1991; much later on DVD; and most recently on Blu-ray. I laughed out loud numerous times when watching the film, which doesn't usually happen with me (even with funny comedies).

    Jamie Lee Curtis & Kevin Kline were great as the criminal duo who were lovers (but pretended to be brother & sister - LOL), and put together a complicated scam in order to get Archie Leach (Cleese) to inadvertently help them.

    The scene when Otto (Kline) gets run over with a steamroller near the end (on the airport tarmac) is extremely funny ;)

    My favorite line is when Archie's estranged wife says something like, "You can take this marriage and stick it in your bottom!" - LOL.
     
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    My best friend showed me this film about 15 years ago, and gave me the DVD of it around the same time. I am very glad he did because this film is brilliant.

    A Fish Called Wanda is the embodiment of everything that British comedy is celebrated for. It is to British comedy what Clint Eastwood is to Westerns, or The Bee Gees to disco music.

    There are so many elements to it, it's hard to know where to begin. The biggest element present, it only just occurred to me now, is actually farce, so many people pretending to be things they're not, lots of scenes where people have unexpected visitors bursting in on them, and plenty of romantic interest. I love the contrast between the two bedroom scenes early on, where Wanda and Otto are in the throes of passion, while Archie and Wendy are the embodiment of the English as seen through the eyes of the rest of the world.

    The other key element is the crime caper, which was the staple of many of the classic Ealing Comedies of the 1940s and 1950s, especially Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Ladykillers, all revolve around characters trying to commit the perfect crime. Indeed, the whole sequence of Ken trying to bump off the old lady who witnessed their getaway has more than a passing nod to The Ladykillers, where one by one the criminal gang each have to take a turn at bumping off an old lady who proves somewhat difficult to kill. Of course that had a very different end result to this! One thing I only just noticed for the first time here, was that both times when a funeral was held for one of the dogs Ken killed by mistake, he appeared at the scene in the background to express his own private regrets.

    At the same time, let us not forget the crazy element to this comedy that can only be provided by an American involvement - Kevin Kline as Otto in an exquisitely OTT performance that won him an Oscar. Deservedly so. He's possibly the craziest character you could ever create for a comedy without crossing the line. Jamie Lee Curtis is absolutely committed in her performance as Wanda.

    As for the English leads, John Cleese and Michael Palin of course had known each other for about two decades at this point, they knew they could work together, Palin as Ken, a character who would have been right at home in Monty Python, and John Cleese as Archie Leach - a name chosen deliberately being as it was the birth name of Cary Grant. We're so used to Cleese playing sneering characters like Basil Fawlty that it's a little odd seeing him here playing essentially a romantic lead. Also, I only just found this out now - his daughter in this film is played by his daughter in real life!

    There's so much to love in this film. It was good to return to it again after too long!
     
    The Drifter likes this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Very enjoyable film.
    Good cast of likeable characters and an interesting plot.
    Never seen this film before until now but have heard of it for a long time.
    I quite enjoyed John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis.
    Not much else to say that hasn't already been said so I will just sum it up by say I enjoyed the movie.

    @LiamABC there is quite a few other great British comedies we should cover eventually like The Lady Killers, Nuns On The Run, The Lavender Hill Mob, Shaun Of The Dead and Monty Python And The Holy Grail etc.
     
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    We've just had Easter so I think we'll do Life Of Brian next!
     

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