Sep 242017

A Fish Called Wanda finally gets the proper Blu-ray treatment with a remastered video which puts the 2011 release to shame and this is a movie that deserved it as it is an often hilarious comedy featuring wonderful performances, especially Kevin Kline who earned the Academy Award.



A Fish Called Wanda

Genre(s): Comedy, Crime
Arrow Video | NR – 108 min. – $39.95 | October 3, 2017

Date Published: 09/24/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by: Charles Crichton
Writer(s): John Cleese & Charles Crichton (story), John Cleese (screenplay)
Cast: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Interviews, Theatrical Trailer
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 42.7 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 4.0/5

Plot Synopsis: Archie Leach (JOHN CLEESE) is a weak-willed barrister who finds himself embroiled with a quartet of ill-matched jewel thieves – two American con artists Wanda (JAMIE LEE CURTIS) and Otto (KEVIN KLINE), animal-loving hitman Ken (MICHAEL PALIN) and London gangster Georges Thomason (TOM GEORGESON) – when Georges is arrested. Only he and Ken know the whereabouts of the diamonds, prompting plenty of farce and in-fighting as well as some embarrassing nudity.

Quick Hit Review: This is amazingly my first viewing of A Fish Called Wanda despite both hearing many great things about this comedy-crime film and even owning the MGM DVD that was released over 10 years ago. So now that it’s gotten the Blu-ray treatment, it was a great opportunity to check this out. This is an oft hilarious film and it’s easy to see why it got nominated for Best Screenplay and brought home the Oscar from a darkly brilliantly performance by Kevin Kline who was pitch perfect.

Is A Fish Called Wanda a comedy classic? Not quite, but it does provide many laughs and has several memorable lines (“You pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole” and “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 IQs”), and the characters are all well written, and neatly presented without obvious exposition scenes, such as their very introductions. Its efficient filmmaking at its best, courtesy of John Cleese who co-scripted with director Charles Crichton and a bit of trivia, this was Crichton’s final film before retiring from the industry, despite offers for other projects.



Included is a 40-page essay booklet and a matted, title-reflective, slip cover. A fair portion were ported over from the MGM Blu-ray, but I did notice a few were missing (namely some outtakes and a vintage featurette, ‘John Cleese’s First Farewell Performance’).

Audio Commentary – The delightful John Cleese gives a nice and informative track recounting his work on the film from writing to his cast mates.

John Cleese’s Final Farewell Performance (48:03; SD) is a 1988 documentary on the making of the film and features interviews with Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and director Charles Crichton. There’s some nice behind-the-scenes footage included.

Something Fishy (30:32; SD) is a 15th anniversary retrospective featurette with interviews by Cleese, Curtis, Kline and Palin as well as producer Michael Shamburg, executive producer Steve Abbott and director of photography Alan Hume. Shown in full frame.

An Appreciation by Vic Pratt (16:55; HD) – This is an interview by Pratt of the BFI National Archive and was recorded exclusive for Arrow Video.

Interview with Roger Murray-Leach (7:31; HD) – The production designer gives his thoughts and recollection about the production in this new interview.

On Location (16:31; HD) – Robert Powell of Jesus of Nazareth and Doomwatch fame gives a guide to the film’s locations.

A Message from John Cleese (4:56; SD) is an tongue-in-cheek intro by Cleese.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (29:37; SD) – If you want more footage, you’ll get it. There are 26 scenes either removed or cut down. Included is an alternate ending. Each are accompanied by intros by Cleese.

Also included is a Gallery, Trivia Track and the Theatrical Trailer (1:28; HD).


VIDEO – 4.5/5

A Fish Called Wanda makes its second appearance on Blu-ray and is a solid upgrade from the 2011 MGM release. The 1.85 widescreen transfer is presented in 1080p high-definition, remastered from the original 35mm camera negative and scanned in 4K resolution and undergone a clean-up removing dirt, debris, scratches and other flaws.

AUDIO – 3.75/5

Given it wasn’t mentioned, I assume the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is the same as the 2011 Blu-ray, but also given a DTS-HD Mono track. Both options are perfectly fine with the latter obviously being fuller while the 1.0 option gives the dialogue slightly more boost. As it is, the lossless track is nice, dialogue levels are crisp and clear and the front and rear channels do output okay ambient noises and off-screen elements.


OVERALL – 4.0/5

Overall, A Fish Called Wanda finally gets the proper Blu-ray treatment with a remastered video which puts the 2011 release to shame and this is a movie that deserved it as it is an often hilarious comedy featuring wonderful performances, especially Kevin Kline who earned the Academy Award. The Blu-ray itself offers great video, solid audio and a fine selection of bonus features, though would’ve been nice if all of them were ported over from the original release…





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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