Comedy is often a matter of taste...or lack thereof. John Cleese was an innovator in bad taste as part of Monty Python, brilliantly mixing rude humor with polite British wit. But as the decades passed, humor caught up with his genius, even surpassing it in terms of lowbrow laughs with BBC shows like The Young Ones. As timeless as Python's sketch material was, it just didn't feel fresh anymore. But the unexpected success of A Fish Called Wanda (1988) proved that clever comedy and vulgarity could still co-exist; in fact, they felt fresher than ever. Cleese plays Archie Leach, a sad sack of a British barrister stuck in a loveless marriage, whose life is re-invigorated by the appearance of Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), an American law student who finds him inexplicably attractive. Wanda's motives, however, are professional not personal. As part of the jewel heist that kicks off the film, she's milking Archie for information about his client - and her lover - Georges Thomason - who's hidden the loot somewhere in London. But the situation is much more complicated than that. Wanda's been playing everyone against each other, including her other lover, Otto (Kevin Kline), a hired gun with an IQ in the single digits, and Ken (Python alum Michael Palin), a stuttering animal lover who's been charged with eliminating the only witness to the crime: a cantankerous old woman and her three vicious Yorkshire Terriers. The film's finale becomes a race to see who will double-cross whom and make it to the diamonds before the rest. But as nasty as some of the humor can be in A Fish Called Wanda, it's also a throwback to the ensemble Ealing comedies shepherded by its director, 78-year old Charles Crichton (who handled the technical side of things while Cleese handled the actors), with dialogue bouncing back and forth like a well-choreographed tennis match. Cleese, who also co-wrote the screenplay, is working from his sketch comedy roots, imbuing each character with easily recognizable quirks and catchphrases that pay off from scene to scene. And he casts himself in a far more adult - and romantic role - than he'd ever played before. In that sense, he relinquishes the biggest laughs to Kevin Kline, whose enthusiastically idiotic performance is the most amusing aberration in his career. Otto's interrogation of Ken, which involves him eating a tankful of tropical fish, is (PETA be-damned) one of the funniest 5-minutes ever-captured on film. It's the characters' reactions that punctuate the jokes, from Archie's shock at being caught naked in a stranger's flat to Ken's continuing agony as he accidently kills one innocent Yorkie after another. A Fish Called Wanda proves an old dog can learn new tricks. Although it's never been hard to find on home video, Arrow offers up a whopper of a special edition that starts with a brand-new 4K restoration from the original negatives and several bits of new supplementary material to go along with extras carried over from previous editions. As far as the new stuff goes, there's a video appreciation by Vic Pratt of the BFI National Archive and interviews with composer John Du Prez, production designer Roger Murray-Leach, executive producer Steve Abbott and makeup supervisor Paul Englelen. Recycled material includes a Cleese commentary track, 1988 Making Of, 15th Anniversary retrospective, 24 deleted / extended scene with Cleese introductions, still gallery, trivia track (remember those?), theatrical trailer and collectible booklet.

Commentary  I   Making Of  I  Trailer

Deleted Scenes  I  Video Appreciation

Interviews  I  Still Gallery