After the Fox (1966) – By Duane L. Martin

 

Scripted by Neil Simon, After the Fox stars Peter Sellers as a criminal genius named Aldo Vanucci, who unfortunately spends a lot of time behind bars.  Not that he can’t get out whenever he wants, but he seems to do just fine in there.  That is, until a job comes along that’s too good to pass up.  Some criminals have stolen a huge shipment of gold bouillon in Cairo, and they want his help to smuggle it into Italy.  To that end, Aldo (a.k.a. The Fox) switches places with his doctor by disguising himself and walks right out of prison, only to find that his mother is less than receptive to his homecoming and his sister is now a wannabe actress who is now calling herself Gina Romantica (Britt Ekland).  Ultimately, that ends up being good fortune for him however, because it gives him an idea on how to smuggle in the gold.  He steals all of the production equipment from a famous Italian director, and then impersonates him, convincing an entire seaside village that he’s making a movie there in order to get them to cooperate.  He even convinces a very famous but aging Lothario actor named Tony Powell (Victor Mature) to star in his film along with his sister, just to give it more authenticity.  The question is, once the gold gets there, still the plan all come together, or will it fall apart spectacularly?  You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

I’ll just be honest here.  Outside of the Pink Panther movies and another film called Being There, this is the only other Peter Sellers I’ve ever seen.  I have seen him with Dean Martin on his variety show before and he was absolutely hilarious, so I was hoping for quite a bit from this film.  Unfortunately, while there were some laugh out loud moments, a lot of the humor fell a bit flat.  I think it might have played somewhat funnier back in 1966 than it does to today’s audiences, but I found it amusing nonetheless.

Peter Sellers was the star of the film, but for me the most memorable character was played by Victor Mature, and I think I know why.  He was a famous actor struggling against age and trying to project himself as young so he could keep getting roles that were no longer suited for him.  He did such a brilliant job of playing that aspect of his character, but the vanity he displayed in doing so also allowed him to be manipulated into starring in the film Vanucci (impersonating the famous director) presented to him, even though he wouldn’t be making any money for it and the script seemed to be made on the fly.  Naturally, having a stunningly beautiful young co-star didn’t hurt matter either.

The ending of the film turned into a rather nonsensical car chase, which I wish wouldn’t have happened.  It felt more like the end of a Benny Hill Show episode than anything else, and just went completely off the rails.  It certainly wasn’t a worth end to an otherwise enjoyable plot, but at least they finished off the film in a clever way, with Vanucci, who’d been convicted in the gold smuggling plan, once again escaping from prison.

This new release from Kino Lorber includes Trailers from Hell with Larry Karazewski, and a trailer gallery.  There are no special features relating to the film itself.

With a great cast, an amusing storyline and some laugh out loud moments, After the Fox is definitely worth seeing, however, the weak ending might put off some viewers.  Could I recommend actually buying it to add to your collection?  I guess so, but I say that only half-heartedly.  There were part of this film that were great, while other parts simply fell flat, so yes I can give it a strong recommendation as far as seeing it, but only a mild one as far as owning it.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Kino Lorber website here: http://www.kinolorber.com/video.php?id=2256