After the Fox

After the Fox

DVD - 2016
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Rating: Not rated.
Wildly funny farce that gives the comic genius of Peter Sellers free reign as he assumes several wacky personalities, each one funnier than the last!
Publisher: New York, NY : Kino Lorber, [2016]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (103 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
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Jan 19, 2018

The advertising for this movie--which also starred Peter Sellers--references the Woody Allen romp "What's New, Pussycat?"
That should tell you something. That knockabout farce, typical of star-driven late sixties comedies aimed at young audiences, also starred Sellers (and Peter O'Toole, Woody Allen, Romy Schneider, Ursula Andress, Capucine, etc.) and was a popular hit. Clearly United Artists was hoping lightning would strike again.
Given all the talent involved, "After the Fox" should be a lot funnier than it is. Somehow, it doesn't hit the mark. The script was penned by the peerless Neil Simon ("The Odd Couple," "Barefoot in the Park," "The Out-of-Towners" et al) and yet the jokes, most of them, don't quite land, even when delivered by a master of comic timing like Sellers.

Nevertheless, Sellers is amusing as Vanucci, a conman and prison escapee who, in his determination to keep his star-struck wayward sister on the straight and narrow and win back his long-suffering mama's favor, decides to get rich quick by impersonating a "famous Italian film director"--think Federico Fellini or perhaps Michelangelo Antonioni--and pretend to make a Great Film using as extras the enraptured townsfolk and an eager local law enforcement officer who is supposed to approve the shoot. All this as cover for a wild plot to steal a gold shipment arriving by freighter from Cairo.
Veteran actor Victor Mature is also on hand as (wink) an aging Hollywood Star desperate to work with a Great European Director, any Great European Director, even one he and his wary, beleaguered agent (the wonderful Martin Balsam) have never actually heard of, who will reignite his fading career.
Lovely Britt Ekland, then Sellers's wife, is the wannabe little sister; rascally character actor Akim Tamaroff is Vanucci's ersatz partner with plans of his own for all that gold, and real-life Great Italian Film Director and sometime actor Vittorio De Sica (who guided to stardom the likes of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni) directed and has a cameo. Oh, and there's a sprightly, hummable Burt Bacharach title theme sung by the Hollies ("Bus Stop," "Long Cool Woman") that opens and closes the film. It all adds up to a movie that will make you chuckle from time to time but that's pretty much it. Kind of like a fallen soufflé--still good, certainly edible, but nothing special. Even "What's New, Pussycat," not at all a perfect movie, hangs together better and is a lot of fun if you're in the mood for its manic, scattershot silliness.

For a Peter Sellers better served by material, pacing and direction I'd suggest sixties classics "A Shot in the Dark" or (especially) the original "The Pink Panther," both directed by Blake Edwards.

Dec 12, 2017



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