After the Fox on DVD
Peter Sellers is typically hilarious in this Neil Simon-penned farce
in which he plays a famous Italian crook come out of retirement to fence
some stolen gold.
But it's Victor Mature who really steals the show. He plays Tony Powell,
an aging movie star who refuses to admit he's over the hill and resorts
to greasy black hair coloring and a corset to keep himself in matinee
idol condition. He's spoofing himself, of course, and does it very well
Sellers is The Fox (the title refers to how everyone is after the fox,
as in "pursuing"), a criminal genius so accomplished he can proclaim the
day and hour of his escape from prison - and back it up by escaping. He's
lounging in prison, letting the Italian authorities think they have him
in their grasp, when the caper comes his way - as his sister rebels just
enough to encourage him to escape to offer her the real father figure
he thinks she needs.
To scoop the gold, and keep his sister out of trouble (while giving him
cover) he sets up a phony film production crew making an avant garde production
that one critic in the film deems as Genius later on. It isn't, of course,
it's nothing but a mish mash of a home movie whose only purpose is to
help the Fox smuggle the Gold of Cairo into Italy.
The movie's pretty silly over all, but there are some great scenes, including
one set in an Italian restaurant where The Fox supposedly talks to a beautiful
woman but is really talking to the man behind her. Also watch for his
two prison escapes, his ad libbed direction of the film, and more. And
catch director Vittorio de Sica's Hitchcockian cameo.
The ending's pretty silly, but what do you expect from a farce?
The supporting cast includes Britt Ekland as Sellers' sister, a movie
star wannabe who calls herself Gina Romantica, and Martin Balsam as Tony
This probably isn't Sellers' best, nor is it Neil Simon's best, but it's
an entertaining flick nonetheless.
The DVD's pretty good as well. It features anamorphic widescreen video
(16x9 TV compatible) on one side and Pan&Scan on the other, which
is a nice way to please home theater fans of all aspect ratios, and the
picture quality is good. It isn't great, alas, but it'll do. The picture
is a little soft and the colors a tad washed out (of course, the arid
Mediterranean settings don't help) but it's okay.
The audio is Dolby Digital mono and it's merely adequate as well - like
many movies from this era.
But if you want to see Peter Sellers from the era in which he was at
the height of his comic craft, this isn't a bad place to start, as long
as you continue on to such classics as The Pink Panther.
After the Fox, from MGM Home Video
102 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan,
Dolby Digital mono
Starring Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Victor Mature, Martin Balsam, Akim
Produced by John Bryan
Written by Neil Simon, Directed by Vittorio de Sica.
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