TV Cream

Films: F is for...

Fish Called Wanda, A

Oh, the hype this generated at the time of its release, as you may recall. Isn’t Kevin Kline funny! No. Isn’t the script marvellous? Not really. How *did* they get Charles Crichton out of retirement? They paid him loads. When all the palaver was going on about how *fabulous* this all was they seemed to forget that the only one worth watching was Michael Palin. And isn’t it clever that Cleese’s character Archie Leech used Cary Grant’s real name? Not really, no. They could have used Boris Karloff’s real name. That would have been nearer the mark.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Good to read a more reasonable response to this ridiculously overhyped ‘classic’ here. I was a huge Python / Fawlty Towers fan when this was released, so much so that I bunked off school to go and watch it at the Cannon cinema. I soon wished I’d done double maths instead, like I was supposed to. I couldn’t, and still can’t see exactly why people fell for this in a big way. Clockwise, which came two years before and which Cleese seems pretty loath to discuss nowadays, pisses all over it to be honest.

  2. Richard Davies

    August 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Maybe it’s the scene where John Cleese strips off & suddenly finds the owners of the flat have come home early, or about the only time a 5 door Mini-Metro has been used as a getaway car?

  3. Droogie

    April 28, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Saw this on TV the other night. God it’s aged badly. The heist scene is sluggish to say the least, and the rest of the movie seems to be about Cleese’s own mid-life crisis being a repressed Englishman. Kline is a ludicrous villain ( he won a bloody Oscar for this!) , the London shown is twee American tourist-friendly stuff, and the direction and cinematography are flat as a pancake. (Apparently Crichton was much frailer then realised when brought out of retirement, so Cleese had to fill in on directing duties which explains a lot. ) Michael Palin is the best thing in the film, though the comedy stammer and blacking up as a Rastafarian are dodgy as hell too.

  4. richardpd

    April 29, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Supposedly John Cleese made this because Clockwise flopped in the USA, apparently the test audiences didn’t find things like pay 3 phones in a row not working funny.

    Jamie Lee-Curtis is a good foil to Otto & Archie, but it still has plenty of slack moments.

  5. droogie

    April 29, 2020 at 2:50 am

    I read that John Cleese doesn’t like talking about Clockwise in interviews anymore because he had to concede that the wet fart of an ending doesn’t go anywhere. ( One can only wonder how he feels about Fierce Creatures these days.)

  6. Droogie

    April 30, 2020 at 3:46 am

    Cleese doesn’t like talking about Clockwise anymore after he admitted in an interview how the wet fart of a climatic ending doesn’t go anywhere. I’m trying to think of the last genuinely funny project Cleese was involved in and have to go back to The Meaning Of Life. Everything he’s done since has either been passable like Clockwise, or downright horrible like those Sainsbury’s ads he did in the 90’s.

  7. Sidney Balmoral James

    April 5, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Surprised by the vehemence of the dislike shown to this film, as I thought people liked it – it made enough money for Mr. Cleese back in the day. It is however total garbage and doesn’t seem to be shown much on TV these days. Michael Palin demeans himself with a stammer, despite the fact that his father stammered dreadfully. It’s an unremittingly coarse film as well, with lots of f-ing and blinding, and a mirthless scene in which we get to see the dreadful Kline having sex with poor Jamie Lee Curtis. Not sure why this made all the money and the far better (and cleaner) Nuns on the Run didn’t.

  8. Richardpd

    April 5, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    Nuns On The Run has plenty of good moments, but some of the farce elements are stretched out a bit too far.

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