Four conniving jewel thieves……. three Yorkshire terriers……….. two heaving bosoms………and one proper British barrister. Monty Python’s John Cleese and Michael Palin team with Jamie Lee Curtis and Oscar winner Kevin Kline to bring you “A Fish Called Wanda” – an outrageously hilarious comedy that pits the British high class against the American heist class.
Screening this Sunday at the Roxy, “A Fish Called Wanda” sees Wanda (Curtis) trying to deceive her Nietzsche-quoting boyfriend Otto (Kline), an animal loving hitman Ken Pile (Palin) and an embarrassment prone attorney Archie Leach (Cleese) out of a fortune in stolen jewels.
A recipe for non-stop belly laughs? You bet! This is one of the funniest films ever shown by the North West Theatre Company Film Club, now in its 6th year.
“A Fish Called Wanda” was the result of a collaboration between John Cleese and Charles Crichton, who began writing the script in 1983 and met three times a month over the next two and a half years to develop it into a screenplay.
Cleese, despite admitting in press interviews that he had no knowledge of how to direct a film, served as co-director because the studio executives at MGM were worried at Crichton’s age – he was 78 years old at the time.
On the set, Crichton wore a t-shirt presented to him by Cleese which was inscribed “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!”
The film was shot in London during the summer of 1987, with a budget of $7,500,000. That it went on to recoup more than $62,000,000 at the international box office is testament to its success and popularity.
The film was showered with awards and award nominations – Kline won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, Crichton was nominated for Best Director, while he and Cleese were nominated for Best Screenplay.
In the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA’s), the film was nominated for seven awards, Kline winning for Best Actor and Palin for Best Supporting Actor.
In the American Golden Globes, the film was nominated for Best Musical or Comedy and Curtis and Hilarious comedy for this Sunday’s Film Club screening Cleese both nominated for the major acting awards.
Little wonder that, in 2000, the American Film Institute ranked “A Fish Called Wanda” 21st in the top 100 funniest movies ever made.
A word of caution – “A Fish Called Wanda” carries an M15+ rating, as it includes medium level coarse language and sexual references.
Most of the language emanates from Kevin Kline’s character Otto West, a disgusting American gangster for whom swearing is totally in character. The film runs for 109 side-splitting minutes. As usual, screening time is 4pm.
The NWTC already has 29 members.
After only one film, this is the best response yet. With ten films remaining in 2016, membership is currently $54, and reduces by $6 each month. It is simple to join – see Jen Mead at the Bingara Information Centre, or just pay before the film on Sunday.
I thoroughly recommend “A Fish Called Wanda” – leave your inhibitions at home, hear the movie introduced, stay for the credits which are very funny, then stay for a glass of wine, a snack, and a chat.
See you at the movies!