Fans who love to watch films with heists had a treat saved for them in the 1990s in the form of the film A Fish Called Wanda. Directed by Charles Crichton, the film focuses on a diamond heist and the humourous turn it took when things began going wrong during the heist. Michael Shamberg produced the movie under Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Prominent Features. The film was an apt combination of brainy heist and humor with the correct comic timing.
A Fish Called Wanda did exceptionally well at the box office, with a grossing of $188M. Alan Hume did the captivating cinematography for the film that kept the audience engaged till the last scene of the film. A Fish Called Wanda was officially released on July 15, 1988, with a run time of 108 minutes. The audience felt the name A Fish Called Wanda was odd as it was all about a heist.
The film focuses on a group of grifters hired by George Thomason, a gangster, and his ally to steal diamonds, and things go wrong when these grifters begin to double-cross each other in order to find the stolen diamonds.
The film’s lead cast includes John Cleese plays the role of Archie Leach, the film’s protagonist, Jamie Lee Curtis plays the role of Wanda, a con artist; Kevin Kline plays the role of Otto West, a weapons expert; Michael Palin plays the role of Ken Pile, Georges’ ally, Maria Aitken plays the role of Wendy Leach, Tom Georgenson plays the role of George Thompson, a British Gangster.
The recurring cast of the film consists of Patricia Hayes plays the role of Mrs. Eileen Coady; Geoffrey Palmer plays the role of a Judge; Cynthia Cleese plays the role of Portia Leach; Ken Campbell plays the role of Bartlett; AI Aston plays the role of Warder, Roger Brierley plays the role of Davidson and Stephen Fry plays the role of Hutchison.
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A Fish Called Wanda- Premise
The film begins with George planning a diamond heist with Ken, his ally and right-hand man. George hires Otto and Wanda, who are a couple but pretends to be siblings in order to make their heist successful. Wanda, a con artist, and Otto, a weapon expert, complete their heist, and the group escapes with the diamonds.
The group hides the diamond, and Wanda and Otto make the decision to double-cross George. They get him arrested and put behind bars, and Wanda returns with Otto to collect their loot, but to Wanda’s surprise, George had moved the loot to a safe box, and it isn’t there anymore where the group hid it.
The key to the safe box is with Ken, who hides it in his fish tank, and it is discovered by Wanda, who hides the key in her necklace. For their next step, Wanda seduces Archie, the barrister of George, in order to learn where the safe box is hidden. Otto’s jealousy jeopardizes the plan, and Wanda loses her necklace at Archies’ place, and his wife Wendy ends up wearing it after thinking it is a present for her.
Wanda demands her necklace back from Archie, and he plans a fake robbery at his house to retrieve the necklace, as Wendy won’t give it up. Otto apologizes to Archie and talks about Wanda’s relationship with him while Wendy overhears their conversation. George gives the work of killing Eileen, an old lady and the only eye-witness to the heist, to Ken.
Ken’s attempts to kill Eileen end in several comical events until she dies. George informs Ken about the location of the safe box, and Otto tortures Ken by eating his pet fish for the information. Wanda testifies against George in court, and he is put behind bars. Archie’s and Wanda’s relationship is uncovered during the court session when he fumbles and calls her darling.
Archie decides to follow Wanda and build a future with her when he discovers Wanda and Otto are a couple. The film ends with Archie and Wanda escaping while Otto clings to the window while he continues cursing his ex.
A Fish Called Wanda Filming Locations
The filming for A Fish Called Wanda began on July 13, 1987, and finished on September 21, 1987, and its filming was mostly done in England.
1. Greater London
Greater London is an administrative area located in England that was used by the crew to film most of the prominent scenes of the film A Fish Named Wanda. The location has beautiful skyscrapers and is filled with landscaped beauty. The scene with Wanda and Archie’s apartment was filmed in Bermondsey in Greater London.
Roehampton Church School in Greater London was a filming location used by the crew to film the prison scenes of A Fish Called Wanda. The production crew used Aubery House, located in Greater London, to film the scenes involving Ken’s apartment. The scenes with Eileen walking her three dogs got shot in Clerkenwell, located in Greater London. Onslow Gardens, located in Greater London, was used by the production to film the scenes with Mrs. Coady’s house and the scenes where Ken tries to end her life.
The scenes with Archie’s legal office were filmed by the crew at Lincon’s Inn, New Square, located in Greater London. The scene with Ken disposing of the evidence of the heist was shot by the crew in St. John’s Gate, located in Greater London. The scenes with the pet cemetery where Mrs. Eileen’s dogs were buried got filmed by the crew in Silvermere Haven, located in Greater Valley.
Some other scenes shot in Greater London were the scenes filmed outside the court scenes, Archie’s bachelor pad, and the scenes with Otto hanging in the window at the end got filmed here.
Surrey, located in the South of East England, is an alluring non-metropolitan city used by the crew of A Fish Called Wanda to film the scenes with Archie’s house along with the scenes where Wendy overhears Otto and Archie’s conversation about his affair with Wanda. The scenes with the Old Bailey scenes were filmed here.