Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Sellers Leads a Merry Chase in "Fox"

Cleveland Press March 20, 1967

"After the Fox" is an amazing film in terms of the talent involved. Peter Sellers stars in it, Vittorio De Sica directed it and the script is by Neil Simon -- the first movie by the author of "Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park."

The results are generally antic and wacky, though the total effect -- at times a trifle strained -- is not always up to the brilliance of its individual parts.

The movie starts out as a comedy crime caper, turns into a spoof of some of the way out, new wave, and often undisciplined movie techniques practiced in Italy and France.

Sellers is a master criminal in Italy, a man "with skill, cunning and genius." As an accented, arm waving, shoulder shrugging Italian, the English actor is often more convincing than some of the native performers around him.

As this cunning crook, called the Fox, he impersonates a doctor, priest, policeman and a movie director. This last is his longest imitation, a character called Federico Fabrizzi, obviously a takeoff on Federico Fellini.

The movie within the movie which Sellers pretends to direct is a cover for the landing of a stolen gold shipment. Director Sellers recruits an entire seacoast town, including the police chief, to assist in the operation.

He also convinces a fading, aging, jowly, corseted American actor -- Victor Mature -- to take part in the film. Mature's work is a sharp and surprising bit of self parody.

Others in this excellent cast are Martin Balsam as Mature's frantic, shouting agent; Akim Tamiroff as a wily thief; Britt Ekland (Mrs. Sellers) as Sellers' sister.

The movie was handsomely photographed in Italy.