12/21/2014  
Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season 2 on DVD Dec 16Lord Of Illusions (Collector's Edition) 2-Disc Blu-ray Director's Cut Dec 16Kelly & Cal on DVD Dec 30The Facts Of Life: The Complete Series on DVD Jan 13Keep on Keepin' On on DVD Jan 13Stonehearst Asylum on DVD & Blu-ray Dec 16Moveable Feast With Fine Cooking - Season 1 on DVD Dec 30

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Stephen Colbert sings with every celebrity you can thin...
The Colbert Report Is Dead. Long Live Stephen Colbert!...
Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season 2...
Lord Of Illusions (Collector's Edition) 2-Disc Blu-ray ...
A Salute to 'The Colbert Report' ...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
JACK REACHER...
LIZ & DICK...
CHINA BEACH: THE COMPLETE SERIES...

CA Chuck Aliaga

THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
THE LADY (BLU-RAY)...
SWAMP THING (BLU-RAY)...
AROUSED...
THE SWEENEY (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

Take Part in a Film Restoration...
STORAGE WARS: SEASON ONE...
LOST KEATON...
BLACK NARCISSUS (BLU-RAY)...
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY (BLU-...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...
BASEBALL'S GREATEST GAMES: 1986 WORLD SERIES GAME 6...

JS Jesse Shanks

KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...
NORMAN MAILER: THE AMERICAN...
I Don't Know How She Does It on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 3...
The Liam Neeson Film Collection on DVD Nov 1...
Box Office Charts From Box Office Mojo Nov 12-14...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...
THE TROUBLE WITH TOLSTOY...
HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN TWO HOURS...
ANATOMY OF A MURDER...
BASIL DEARDEN'S LONDON UNDERGROUND (ECLIPSE SERIES 25)...

JC Joel Cunningham

WINGS OF DESIRE...
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS...
MONSOON WEDDING...
PIERROT LE FOU...
SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...
STEPFATHER II...

DH Dan Heaton

NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RR Rich Rosell

THE BUCKET LIST...
CRUDE IMPACT...
THE MAGIC OF FLIGHT (BLU-RAY)...
JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES (BLU-RAY)...
A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

A&E Home Video presents
Monty Python's Flying Circus: Set One—Volume 1 (1970)

"Python was not about jokes; it was really about a state of mind. It was a way of looking at the world as a place where walking like a contortionist is not only considered normal but is rewarded with government funding; where people speak in anagrams; where highwaymen redistribute wealth in floral currencies; and where BBC newsreaders use arcane hand signals when delivering the day's events. And as long as the world itself is accepted as being an absurd place, Python will seem right at home. That is why the shows and films remain funny to audiences thirty years after their premiere, even after the routines have been memorized."
- David Morgan, excerpt from his sensational book Monty Python Speaks!

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: May 11, 2000

Stars: John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam
Other Stars: Carol Cleveland
Director: Ian McNaughton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes, full frontal nudity)
Run Time: 01h:28m:00s
Release Date: September 28, 1999
UPC: 733961700411
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AC-C+ A-

DVD Review

Introduction:

Why is it that 30 years later the release on DVD of Monty Python by A&E seems so vitally important to my very existence? It seems too simple a reason that Python reminds me of watching the episodes as a boy, laughing with my sister Debi until my stomach hurt and tears streamed down my face. Or that, as I have noted before, "The dull life of a city stockbroker" sketch is where I saw the first naked woman to whom I wasn't related. And it can't be that I am just an overwhelming Anglophile, although I am.

Instead I think the answer lies in the basic rebellious nature of Python. If you are one to root for the underdog then you too are a prime candidate to be a Python fan. I mean, lordy, I grew up a Chicago Cubs fan...how much bigger an underdog booster could I be?! Fair weather fans or wagon jumpers need not apply. Thinking about this as I watched DVD after glorious DVD, I had an epiphany: Python may be solely responsible for my own dark, twisted sense of humor. I mean, I truly believe they have had a lifelong effect upon my poor little shivering psyche.

But why does Python continue to appeal to younger generations thirty years after its initial run? It's simple. It's the same reason that retro is in—and not just any retro, but that of the counterculture that came to be and pass in the late sixties through the mid-seventies. Rebellion against the staid toneless, expressionless lives our parents lived, which came awash in crazy colors, afros and crazy hair styles, tall shoes and flaired jeans—and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Seem familiar? The gen-Xers and gen-Yers established themselves in a similar way out of the bosom of the rapacious 1980's and 90's, where "GREED was good." Enough with the blue and purple button-up shirts and the power ties, they cried, and out came dress down Fridays. (Okay, so our youth have helped spearhead more sweeping changes than just business attire.) It's the same basic need for more interesting, true, free expression that drives our youth today, as it was for the Pythons back in 1969.



Episode 1: "Whither Canada"Recording Date:
Air Date:

"At 11 o'clock comedy struck this little house on Didley road; sudden violent comedy."
-BBC reporter

This episode contains these sketches: Killing pigs, Wolfgang Mozart hosts an episode of famous deaths, Italian class for Italians, Whizzo butter, "It's the Arts" with film producer Sir Edward Ross and composer Arthur "Twosheds" Jackson, Pablo Picasso painting while cycling, Gilliam's cut-out animation with full frontal nudity, Ernest Scribbler and the world's funniest joke which helps win the day during the Battle of the Bulge.

This is not the funniest episode ever, but it contains some of the motifs and repeat characters beloved by Python fans the world over, including the disheveled "it's" man (Palin), the knight (Gilliam), the viking (Gilliam), the offended Sargeant (Chapman), and the immortal Pepperpots (the troupe in drag). The Pythons' humor, although individually was vastly different, as a group their wacky comedy manifested itself in the form of absurdist concepts, physical silliness, and social commentary while moving seemlessly from half-realized sketch to half realized sketch (although not as well in this episode). I really like the fact that A&E is presenting the entire show, in season and episode order...I think it makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Although I know some of the humor is above my stepdaughter's head, I really get a kick out of passing these episodes on like family heirlooms.

Strongest Moment(s): A tie between the Italian class for Italians and The world's funniest joke sketches is so perfectly Pythonesque in their ability to skew the most mundane topic just enough to make it absurdly funny.

Weakest Moment(s): The Sir Edward Ross portion of "It's the Arts" sketch is Chapman gone awry, saved only by the peculiarity of Arthur "Twosheds" Jackson.

Episode rating: 2.5 dead parrots out of 5.




Episode 2: "Sex and Violence"

This episode contains these sketches: Sheep who mistake themselves as birds; Arthur Frampton: a man with three buttocks, a man with two noses, Arthur Ewing and his musical mice, sleazy marriage guidance counselor, lost footage of wacky Queen Victoria and Wilfred Gladstone with commentary by English Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ken, the playwriter's son turned coalminer comes home, a Scotsman on a horse, The Epilogue: priest and philospher wrestle to determine the existence or non-existence of god, Gilliam's animation: the hungry baby and statue music, The World Around Us: The mouse problem.

This episode is classic Monty Python, which sets the tone for all four seasons with such Python keepsakes as the coined phrase "And now for something completely different," the black-and-white clip of the old ladies clapping, and the introduction of the lovely Carol Cleveland. If this show doesn't prove to what depths the five would mine their Oxford or Cambridge education (Gilliam withstanding), it unequivocally shows they never minded making a few heads spin—even if those heads were amongst the clergy. "Nothing is sacred" may be deemed the Python rallying cry; not religion, politics, body parts, humanity, sexuality, or even farm animals (the only exception: sperm).

There is something completely different enough in this episode to tickle or offend the fancy of everyone, whether it be the utter silliness of a man with three buttocks or Gilliam's animation, the vaudeville black-and-white antics of Queen Victoria, the wonderful way Chapman had of turning a situation on its ear as seen with the playwright's coalminer son sketch, or the more erudite juxtaposition of the wrestling match between the priest and philosopher. And if none of that works, there is the tainted sketch about men who want to be mice.

Strongest Moment(s): I love the "Playwright" sketch...it's Graham at his finest.

Weakest Moment(s): None.

Episode rating: 5 dead parrots out of 5.




Episode 3: "How to Recognize Different Types of Trees From Quite a Long Way Away" or "Bunn, Wackett, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot."

This episode includes these sketches: opening and closing with the "it's" man, episode 12b: How to recognize trees from very far away (which includes "The Larch," Mr. Larch on trial for a parking offense with witnesses, the dead Mr. Altridge, and Cardinal Richelieu, Officer Dim of the Yard sings "A Window Washer Me", F.G. Superman a.k.a. Bicycle Repair Man, "Storytime" with adult themes, the dirty fork restaurant sketch, Gilliam's animation: "purchase a life," milkman collector, newsman kidnapped by terrorists, and the world famous "nudge, nudge" sketch with an unsuspecting businessman in a bar, I can only explain my love for "The Larch" by sharing my favorite joke: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? It was dead. It's just so bloody sublime. For instance, I have always despised comedians who laugh at their own jokes. I prefer the underplayed over slapstick.Palin's "Bicycle Repairman" is typical of his playful, sometimes childlike humor, abruptly followed by Idle's naughty "storytime." It is often the positioning or juxtaposition of sketches, or Gilliam's imaginative and keen sense of odd transition, that make Python, well, Python. The classic "Dirty Fork" sketch is a classic mix of the Python's melding of concept and slapstick humor, and seems like the mold from which Saturday Night Live was made.

Strongest Moment(s): "The Larch". The "nudge, nudge" and dirty fork restaurant sketches are amongst all-time favorites.

Weakest Moment(s): Officer Dim sings. I don't know why three fourths of Eric Idle's songs don't do it for me, perhaps it's that he wrote mostly unchecked, and that there's a repetitive nature to his material. Still, many of my favorite bits are his. I have such internal conflict. Sorry, I need a moment.

Episode rating: 4 dead parrots out of 5.


Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 -
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Well, in its own amusing way, at least A&E is upfront and honest about the lack of money spent on the image transfer, as the keepcase reads, "How the DVD process works: The imperfections of the original analog Monty Python shown have been analyzed and painstrakingly reproducedas digital imperfections." Cracks me up every time! Too true. There is evidence of dirt, scratches, spam, nicks, scars, spam, cuts, eggs, spam, pluming whites, spam, spam, and low contrast spam throughout, but worse in outdoor scenes than in studio takes. The elitist in me wants to cry, but the collector is happy to even have this disc at all. It may not be perfect, but it's better than it ever has been in thirty years, and content is too darned important. Besides, Python had such a small budget it's amazing they used video tape!

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English monono


Audio Transfer Review: What did you expect, the Spanish Inquisition 5.1? Well, you'll get this well-rendered center channel deposited mix, and you'll like it young fan. I can't remember any significant drops in volume, and the dialogue is well understood—as best as one can understand Welsh and Pepperpot that is.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. A dictionary of Pythonisms (incorrect pronunciation for Mr Yachtman -throatwabbler).
  2. Cut outs from "Gilliam's Attic" (more full frontal nudity)
  3. The "nudge, nudge" sketch live at the Hollywood Bowl
  4. Sketch previews from "Homicidal Barber," "The Audit," "The Polite Burglar," and "Vocational Guidance Counsellor."
  5. DVD-ROM web access to Pythonshop.com
Extras Review: The presentation of the "Main Bloody Menu" is true to Gilliam's acerbically witty animation (not to mention the Bobby's eyes move), and includes what self-respecting Monty Python fan requires—comedy and full frontal nudity. The "Loony Bin" contains several nice features including cast and crew bios with nice setup in "Meet the Chaps." A dictionary of Pythonisms (incorrect pronunciation for Mr Yachtman -throatwabbler). Cut outs from "Gilliam's Attic" (more full frontal nudity), the "nudge, nudge" sketch live at, "Silly Occupations" is the "Homicidal Barber," "The Audit," "The Polite Burglar," and "Vocational Guidance Counsellor," and linked access via DVD-ROM to http:/www.pythonshop.com. The disc also contains "Useless Tidbits," or production note snippets. No time shows on the player and subtitles are only available via remote.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

All in all, despite the shortcomings of the image and audio transfers, I cannot tell you how important not just to me or to you, but to the DVD medium it is to have high caliber, diverse content available to the diverse ever growing DVD consumer universe. Highly recommended.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, stephen colbert, final show, kareem abdul-jabar, jj abrams, alan alda, christiane amanpour, many more, the colbert report, last show, santa, unicorn, abraham lincoln, alex trebek, documentary, horror, comedy channel, stephen t. colbert, colbert report, movie, the interview, united states, north korea, soney, hector monsegur, china, sony pictures entertainment, cyber attack, kim jong-un, seth rogen, james franco, drama, the hobbit: the baattle of the five armies, peter jackson, j.r.r. tolkien marathon, comedy, barbara walters, 10 most fascinating people of 2014, amal clooney, taylor swift, george clooney, thriller, chris rock, top five, the late show, david letterman, movies, golden globes 2015, reality, romantic comedy, western, music, 57th grammy awards, iggy azalea, beck, pharrell williams, miranda lambert, sia, cooking, spectre, daniel craig, sam mendes, christoph waltz, lea seydoux, naomie harris, ben whishaw, ralph fiennes, celebrity, loni anderson, burt reynolds, pearl earrings, necklace, nude portrait, lady gaga, howard sten, south by southwest, millie brown, swine, mark geragos, kesha, lukasz sebastian gottwald, world aids day, bono, bruce springsteen, chris martin, espn, monday night football

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Snappy Planet

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store