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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late sixties comedy caper remains a sentimental favorite
Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon are absolutely charming in this lighthearted comedy fluff. Van Dyke plays the title character Fitzwilly (short for the more proper Fitzwilliam) who is the butler and head of the household staff for an eccentric but lovable philanthropist whom he addresses as Miss Vickie; Feldon plays Juliet a Columbia University graduate that Miss Vickie...
Published on January 4, 2003 by B.C. Scribe

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Movie is great, features aren't
Was excited to see this final on DVD, but was very disappointed that it doesn't have closed caption. It is widescreen, and quality is good. Also beware that it may not work on all players or PC for playback
Published on May 19, 2010 by Barbara L. Rud


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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late sixties comedy caper remains a sentimental favorite, January 4, 2003
By 
B.C. Scribe "trekviewer" (Brooklyn Center, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon are absolutely charming in this lighthearted comedy fluff. Van Dyke plays the title character Fitzwilly (short for the more proper Fitzwilliam) who is the butler and head of the household staff for an eccentric but lovable philanthropist whom he addresses as Miss Vickie; Feldon plays Juliet a Columbia University graduate that Miss Vickie hires as a secretary for the purpose of assisting her in writing a "dictionary for illiterates" - listening to Miss Vickie's explanation will provide you with some genuine laughter. Miss Vickie is quite a charitable person, making sizable donations to nearly anyone who will call on her at home and ask her. Fitzwilly has kept his employer out of financial straits by resorting to pulling off some rather clever criminal thefts at nearly every upscale department store in New York City. He accomplishes these feats of derring-do with the assistance of the rest of the household staff who are expert con men and pickpockets. When Juliet joins the staff her nosy nature and honest desire to protect her new employer puts the whole scheme in jeopardy; when they're found out it's up to Fitzwilly to run interference on Juliet so the staff can keep Miss Vickie "cash rich" and keep themselves out of jail!
As I said this movie is a piece of fluff that has tremendous appeal if you are partial to either of the two stars or the kinds of comedy capers that the late sixties made so great back then. Not only are Van Dyke and Feldon fun to watch but the rest of the cast is rounded out with many familiar faces such as John McGiver as the footman and expert pickpocket (and former minister!) Albert; Norman Fell is quite funny as the neurotic head of finances at Gimbels; Cecil Kellaway appears briefly as the affable elderly gentleman who operates the "thrift store" the con men (and women!) use as a front; John Fielder is a gullible piano store salesman, a pigeon waiting to be plucked by Van Dyke; the household staff is cast with many faces you will recognize - most noticeably a very young Sam Waterston making his film debut. All of the capers that they pull off are great and will give you a smile each time they con someone. They range from the very elaborate to the very simplistic; early in the film one of the women reports that she was able to return a tie for a full refund at seventeen different stores with the same receipt - a new record Fitzwilly proclaims! But the showstopper involves a very daring and intricately planned Christmas Eve robbery at Gimbels department store that has to be seen to believed. One of the steps involves having one of the con men walk up behind unsuspecting ladies and pinching their rears. The women react, as one would expect them to, by turning and slapping the man nearest them! Great Fun! Another big plus is that Alan & Marilyn Bergman provide the perfect song "Make Me Rainbows" for the film.
For years I had been forced to get by with only a poor videotape copy of a cable TV presentation of 'Fitzwilly' filled with countless commercial interruptions. Then I happily discovered that it had finally been released on cassette and available at Amazon. This is the first movie my parents took me to see and all I could remember for years afterwards was Juliet finding the basement filled with the gang's ill-gotten booty and the great comedic finale at Gimbels. Now that I have a legitimate videotape of 'Fitzwilly' it has become my favorite film to watch on Christmas Eve...next to 'It's A Wonderful Life' that is.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring Fitzwilly to DVD, December 21, 2005
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This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a great caper movie, and my favorite one to see at Christmas. It deserves to be released on DVD in widescreen format. I hope the powers that be release it soon.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dick Van Dyke as a charming "Robin Hood" butler, November 16, 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Dick Van Dyke plays the title character of this 1967 comedy, a butler whose full name is Claude Fitzwilliam. He is in service to Miss Victoria Woodworth (Edith Evans), who comes from old money, which has now run out. Even worse, Miss Vicki is committed to a lot of philantrophic endeavors. However, Fitzwilly and the rest of the staff are dedicated to making sure she does not find out and towards that end they come up with creative (okay, criminal) ways of making money. Now, servants taking care of their mistress is an effrontery to Marxist thought if you are talking Karl, but if your leanings are more towards Groucho then you can appreciate the humor.
There is also a romantic subplot between Fitzwilly and Juliet Nowell (Barbara Feldon, in a credible first screen appearance for the co-star of television's "Get Smart"). But the part of this film that I remember most fondly is the "Dictionary for Dopes" that Miss Vicki is working on. Her idea is that people who do not know how to spell need a dictionary that makes it easier for them to find the correct spelling, working from all the possible phonetic spellings of a problematic word. The idea always appealed to me since my spelling is so atrocious that even spellcheckers are thwarted by my creativity, but there is also a nice little twist regarding Miss Vicki's dictionary as well. The project is what requires the hiring of Juliet, who cannot be entrusted to know what the rest of the staff is up to with their fun little capers.
This is an enjoyable film, mainly on the strength of Van Dyke's charming performance, which overcomes the dubious morality of the shenanigans that are going on. You will recognize a host of well-known character actors such as John McGiver, Cecil Kellaway, Norman Fell, Laurence Naismith and John Fielder. The score and song "Make Me Rainbows" are the work of young composer John Williams, who, for the last time, was credited as "Johnny Williams." Speaking of variations on a name, this film was known as "Fitzwilly Strikes Back" in the United Kingdom and was also released as "A Garden of Cucumbers."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Christmases Remembered, October 22, 2001
By 
Kelly (El Paso, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is an excellent Christmas film for the nostalgic, as it does date back to the late sixties. There is charm and the Van Dyke mystic, plus a wonderful performance from (agent 99) Barbara Feldon. The plot is simple, the Butler (of course had to do it) must bring in money to keep the woman he works for (a mother figure to him) from knowing she was broke. He does this thru inventive criminal activity (stealing like only the rich can do). He must keep an outsider (the new secretary played by Barbara Feldon) from finding out and in the process falls in love, as does she, and so she doesn't run to the police when she finds out. I simply love the main caper, pulled at Gimbles department store pre-christmas. It is charming. Perhaps this was Gimbles answer to Macy's Miracle on 34th Street. It brings back my happy memories of Family Christmas time in the late sixties. A wonderful film!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family film from era void of sex/violence entertainment, May 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Typical Van Dyke vehicle that played up his slapstick comedy talents. Simple plot with predictable twists and near-misses do not detract from the charm of a family film that does not rely on FX/jiggling bodies/blood & gore. The younger (under 8 group) will not understand the humor and teens will roll their eyes - however, if you can gather your clan, pop some corn & turn off the telephone it does make for a good family laugh-in.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fitzwilly, December 16, 1999
By 
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie is a charming family film, whose charm lies in the fact that it is just simple fun. Anyone any age will enjoy this film.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Release this Great Movie!!, September 15, 2004
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Re-release this great movie on vhs/dvd starring Barbara Feldon and Dick Van Dyke so that humble people such as myself can afford it.Distributors both large and small should take note!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Robin Hood Romp, April 26, 2004
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Videotapes first became popular in 1980, and Fitzwilly, one of my favorite films, had been made 13 years before. So naturally the arbitrary powers that be kept the video version off the shelves for over 20 years!

But finally this lost Dick Van Dyke treasure is available on tape, and we can only hope that its DVD version will not be another pan-and-scan nightmare like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was. Remember that both Chitty and Fitzwilly were shot in Panavison, meaning that only a widescreen format can do them justice on DVD.

Yes, Van Dyke's Mary Poppins and Bye Bye Birdie are available in beautiful widescreen, but they really dropped the ball with Chitty. I was astounded when the DVD of it was finally released, and noticed that they had taken a film about a flying car yet - and reduced half the picture down to dismal pan-and-scan, which also reduced by 50% the feeling the viewer gets of flying.

I can now happily note, however, that the studio finally woke up and later released a widescreen version of Chitty, after their dismal standard frame dud bit the dust. The makers of Willy Wonka also released a far superior version of their film in widescreen - after likewise goofing up by first putting out a similarly lousy pan-and-scan bomb. But sadly, such repenting studios later showing they have "seen the light" about widescreen are very rare.

Tech specs aside, as to the plot of Fitzwilly itself, the Robin Hood bunch does keep some money to maintain their households but funnels the rest of it through the old lady's hands into the hands of the poor. In the end, some rich businesses got stung a bit (but they were insured) and the lives of hundreds of poor folks were enriched. The only one who would gripe about something like that happening would be some other selfish rich businessman.

Dick Van Dyke has for decades been one of the Top 5 comedians of all time, and Fitzwilly is one of his Top 5 movies. Need one say more? Only this - oh great creators of Fitzwilly, please release this movie soon on DVD and make it in WIDESCREEN !!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie in a wonderful time!, January 16, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Fitzwilly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I really love this movie. No, not for the tight plot, no not for the special F/X, but because of the magic I feel it has. Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Feldon and the rest make a very cozy and well blended team, bent on keeping Miss Vickie, solvent. After watching this film, I felt that I was apart of it. I just love this film. And Johnny Williams score is great, and has all the "Pre-Star Wars" feel that he was known for. All in all great fluff and great fun!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Movie is great, features aren't, May 19, 2010
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This review is from: Fitzwilly (DVD)
Was excited to see this final on DVD, but was very disappointed that it doesn't have closed caption. It is widescreen, and quality is good. Also beware that it may not work on all players or PC for playback
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Fitzwilly
Fitzwilly by Delbert Mann (DVD - 2010)
$19.98 $14.49
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