Fitzwilly (1967)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Outside of Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke had little luck in finding big screen vehicles that showed him off to his best advantage. Fitzwilly is one of his better outings, a high concept production that benefits from excellent casting in both leading and supporting roles. Although Van Dyke has opportunities to demonstrate his trademark physical comedy, most of Fitzwilly calls upon his other comedic talents, including his sharp sense of timing and the endearingly unconvincing manner in which he tries to cover his tracks. The actor's considerable charm is also on display, and he has a delightful rapport with co-star Barbara Feldon, who has a plentiful supply of charm of her own -- which helps to overcome the "heavy" role her character is called upon to play at times. Edith Evans is lovable, John McGiver is droll, and Cecil Kellaway is affable in their supporting roles. Isobel Lennart's screenplay emphasizes fairly dry humor, which has its benefits, but the lack of consistent laughs works against the film's tendency toward "fluff." Matters are not helped by sluggish direction; the final caper in Gimbel's is handled very well and pays off big, but overall the dullness of the direction mitigates much of Fitzwilly's charm.