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John Cleese's First Farewell Performance: The Making Of A Fish Called Wanda, Recorded On The Set Of This Landmark British Comedy Film As It Was Being Made, With Iain Johnstone As Writer, Director And Host (Whose Daughter Sophie Had A Bit Part In The Film, And Who Would Later Co-Write With Cleese The Film's Spiritual Sequel, Fierce Creatures) (Color, 1988, 45 Minutes) PLUS BONUS: A Fish Called Wanda Promotional Piece On The Movie's Cable Television Premiere (Color, 1989, 6 Minutes), Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An MP4 Video Download Or Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD!
A Fish Called Wanda is a 1988 heist comedy film directed by Charles Crichton and written by Crichton and John Cleese. It stars Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin. The film follows a gang of diamond thieves who double-cross one another to recover stolen diamonds hidden by their jailed leader. His barrister becomes a central figure - and jealousies rage - as femme fatale Wanda seduces him to locate the loot. The picture grossed over 188M USD worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 1988. It received three nominations at the 61st Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Kline, which he'd go on to win. A spiritual sequel, Fierce Creatures, was released in 1997. The British Film Institute ranked A Fish Called Wanda the 39th-greatest British film of the 20th century. During the initial run of the film, a Danish audiologist named Ole Bentzen died while laughing during a screening, which led newspapers to report that he had died from laughter.] The official cause of death was heart fibrillation, which may have been caused by an increased heart rate due to extended laughter. Cleese considered using the event for publicity, but ultimately decided it was in too bad taste.
John Cleese, English actor, comedian, voice actor, screenwriter and producer was born John Marwood Cleese on October 27, 1939 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset in South West England. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. In the mid-1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers, with Cleese receiving the 1980 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures, both of which he also wrote. He also starred in Clockwise and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films as R and Q, two Harry Potter films, and the last three Shrek films. With Yes Minister writer Antony Jay, he co-founded Video Arts, a production company making entertaining training films. In 1976, Cleese co-founded The Secret Policeman's Ball benefit shows to raise funds for the human rights organisation Amnesty International. Melvyn Bragg, English broadcaster best known for his work with ITV as editor and presenter of The South Bank Show (1978-2010), and for the Radio 4 discussion series In Our Time, claimed that John Cleese was the most nervous interviewee in his career. Fawlty Towers has the unique distinction of having been officially cited as the reason for the adjournment of sessions of the British Parliament, so that members would have an opportunity not to miss that day's broadcast of the show.
Iain Johnstone, English author, broadcaster and television producer, was born on April 8, 1943 in Reading, Berkshire, England. Johnstone attended Crosfields School, Reading, then Campbell College, Belfast, then Bristol University. Johnstone was the film critic of The Sunday Times for twelve years and presenter of the Film 82 programme (when regular presenter Barry Norman was busy with other projects). He was also its original producer, and produced other British TV programmes such as the BBC Two chat show Friday Night, Saturday Morning, The Frost Interview and ran the BBC's Watergate coverage. Johnstone co-wrote the film Fierce Creatures (1997) with John Cleese, and has made eight documentaries with Steven Spielberg, starting with The Jaws Report and including Steven and Stanley about Spielberg's collaboration with Stanley Kubrick. He has also made numerous other film documentaries about A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Dustin Hoffman, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), Superman (1978) and TV profiles of Muhammad Ali, Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne and Marlon Brando. Johnstone was also a biographer of Tom Cruise and Clint Eastwood. Johnstone published the books, Streep: A Life in Film a biography of Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, the authorised biography of Tom Cruise, biographies on Dustin Hoffman and Clint Eastwood and three novels including Pirates of the Mediterranean. His twelfth book, "Close Encounters - A Media Memoir" is published by Spellbinding Media. The book contains insights into movie stars and celebrities of the 20th Century where Johnstone tells of his time both on set and at home with screen luminaries Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood and Barbra Streisand. He documents his return to Louisville with Muhammad Ali, his journey up the Nile with Peter Cook and Stephen Fry and his time spent with Dame Edna. He also reveals how he came to write a diary with Mel Gibson and spend time with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. His daughter Sophie married the Hon. Edward John Hugh Tollemache in February 2007. Edward is the heir apparent of Timothy Tollemache, 5th Baron Tollemache. Sophie Johnstone had a bit part in A Fish Called Wanda at the age of six and presently works in television as a researcher. His son, Oliver, is currently a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing as Iachimo in Cymbeline and Edgar in King Lear in 2016; he has appeared in supporting roles in numerous UK films in recent years. Iain Johnstone died on May 4, 2023, at the age of 80.