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Produced in 1971 on a shoestring budget with the aim of breaking the Python team in the States (which eventually happened when the TV series began running on PBS), this film consists of classic moments from the first two series of Monty Python's Flying Circus, lovingly reprised, and in some cases improved upon. The 'Vocational Guidance Counsellor' sketch with Michael Palin's chartered accountant who wants to be a lion tamer is certainly better than the TV version, as is the bank robber in a lingerie shop sketch, which is performed here in such a dry, straight-faced, understated way, it makes me laugh every time. There are lots of other classics to enjoy - the dirty fork, Hell's Grannies, the Upper Class Twit of the Year show, Blackmail, camp square-bashing, the Killer Cars...if you can look past the obviously low budget (the sound mix makes some scenes sound as if they were recorded in a cake tin), you'll find one of the most tirelessly inventive sketch comedies of all time. And remember, it's NOT pining, it's passed on!
"And Now For Something Completely Different" is a showcase of the kind of comedy that defines Monty Python's Flying Circus. The BBC comedy classic has a huge following worldwide, owing to its unique use of surreal humor. This movie is a collection of some of the Pythons' best from their first two seasons, including classics like "The Lumberjack Song" and "The Dead Parrot Sketch." One of the best factors of "Monty Python" was the eye-catching animations of Terry Gilliam. This movie is rich with his art, which includes the wacky B-movie spoof "The Killer Cars." This is a movie all Python fans should see, and one Python neophytes should use as an introduction.
Monty Python used this collection of sketches from their first and second TV
series (re-packaged and staged again) to break into the American market. A
gamble, but a successful one.
All the greats are here Parrot Sketch, Dirty Fork, Hell's Grannies, Fresh Fruit Self Defence, Marriage Guidance and more besides. The animated links, specially created for the movie, are funny and well put-together: and new versions of Killer Cars and the story of the Spot are excellent. In many cases the film versions of the sketches outshine those in the TV series and are more memorable, particularly those which first appeared in series 1.
This is a very good introduction to the team and a strong reminder of their early work for the BBC.
Do we really have to grade this among the other Pythons films, as best,
worst or anything? Personally I don't feel like to. It's surely not my
best, but its got some fine characteristics. It's pure early Pythons.
Actually it's no film, it's a non-stop trip of absurd humour, featuring shorts, lots of animations, silly commentary, politically incorrect, 100% English jokes, some of which are REALLY silly - the difference here is that we have a commentary within the film which blames of the film which really has taken a wrong turn and has become quite silly. Self parody, originality and sarcasm. And embarrassment, of course!
About the animations: Python animations (made by the masterman Terry Gilliam) are awesome. No insult here, I really enjoyed the film, even the silliest bits, but the animations are so good that they're the best in this one, as far as I am concerned. So the animations are mixed and edited within managing to create a genuine Python style.
Those not familiar with Pythons, I recommend to start over with LIFE OF BRYAN or HOLY GRAIL. Actually its quite 'difficult' humour but give it a try if you like something different!
To most hardcore Python fans, this film will be irrellevant, as they
probably have every single sketch on DVD already, and this is essentially
"greatest hits album."
So I am going to direct this review at those who have never heard of Python before.
The film opens with a sketch called "How not to be seen," during which the narrator shoots several people in cold blood, blows people up, and then finally breaks down into hysterical laughter when he bombs a children's hospital.
This sketch is hillariously, gut bustingly funny. Why? That is the great mystery of Python. Is it the impeccable timing, the wonderful acting, or the peerless gags? Could be. But I think it is more the brilliant sense of anarchy and loony logic that makes them so brilliant. It was, after all, those people's own bloody fault they were shot; they could be seen!
Beyond this, there are the sketches that are so well known they have become cliches: the Dead Parrot sketch ("Listen mate, this parrot is dead! It's a stiff! Bereft of life it rests in peace; if you hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! This is an ex-parrot!") the Lumberjack Song ("I chop down trees, I wear high heels suspenders and a bra!/I wish I'd been a girlie, just like my dear Mama!"), the Dirty Fork sketch ("A dirty, ugly smelly piece of cultlery!!") and so on.
There is still no substitute for watching the show. Indeed many of their best sketches aren't on here; the Cheese sketch, the Adventure Holiday sketch, and my personal favourite, the Eric the Fish sketch ("Why should I be TARRED with the epithet "loony" simply because I have a pet 'alibut?"). Still this is a fairly safe introduction to their unique (That's putting it mildly) brand of humour.
This film really didn't need to be made - but at the time, after two
excellent TV series, the Pythons were under pressure to produce a big-screen
version for wider distribution.
Thus a number of sketches from the first two series were rewritten, tightened up, and re-enacted, entirely on film. The actual new material is probably around 2% of the script, and I hold the view that many of the sketches were inferior to their TV versions, and much of the better series 1 and 2 stuff (Spanish Inquisition, Silly Walks etc.) didn't even make it to ANFSCD for some reason.
It's interesting to watch the differences in production and compare this material to how it was originally done, and the new devices for linking one sketch to the next keep you on your toes.
But ultimately if you want to watch early python sketches, the TV versions are more rewarding.
Although I like Monty Python and the Holy Grail better, this is still a
wonderful film and it is the best one to show the uninitiated. Showing
a "normal" person the Holy Grail is sort of like giving a first-time
drinker a fifth of vodka! Too much, too quickly! Many of these rookies
MIGHT run away in terror or suffer massive headaches when they see the
Holy Grail. Instead, this film is intended for American audiences
unfamiliar with the Pythons. Many of their best skits from the TV show
are reproduced with better production values as well as easier to
understand accents. You can really tell that they are trying to be
understandable to the average American.
Now all this does NOT mean the film is normal by any stretch of the imagination! It features such classics as the Parrot Sketch, the Marriage Counselor, and my personal favorite, the couple who go to the fancy restaurant and have a piece of dirty silverware. I'm sure to the uninitiated, these skits DON'T sound funny--well watch them and see for yourself. If they make your brain hurt or the desire to flee sets in, turn off the TV briefly, take a few deep breaths and resume watching.
Containing various skits from the first two years of their famous wacky
show, "And Now for Something Completely Different" was Monty Python's
Flying Circus' first movie. Everyone knows the Dead Parrot, the
Lumberjack Song, and such things. They must have just cracked up
writing this stuff.
If absolutely nothing else, this movie (or their show) reminds us what humor should entail. If you've never seen any of Monty Python's work, this should explain it all to you, although you ought to be prepared to die laughing.
So remember, always use Crelm toothpaste!
Being Monty Python's first film that had a theatrical release, it's
something completely different. And Now for Something Completely
Different is the best of Python's gags from their TV show, "Monty
Python's Flying Circus," a fine introduction to their humor. Some of
their famous skits are here, including The Lumberjack Song, the dead
parrot, Twit of the Year, and the World's Deadliest Joke. Wacky short
animations connect the skits together. And in this film, you'll also
learn the importance of not being seen.
Grade: 8/10 Rating: PG (crude humor, innuendo, sensuality, nudity, language, violence)
Their first film 'And Now for Something Completely Different' was
intended to introduce the group and their humour to the American
market. It was nothing but their best and most silliest skits from
their first two seasons of their British TV sketch show Monty Python's
Flying Circus from BBC television. By that there's no real systematic
narrative here, unlike in their later efforts in 'The Holy Grail' and
'Life of Brian'. It's made up of a selection of individual skits, which
were mostly hilarious, even though two or three fall short, but it
moves along swiftly that you get caught up in the comically cheeky and
downright nonsensical humour that had me mostly in stitches. There
appealing ludicrousness bellows stupidity, but its done in a straight
face, which makes it more the merrier. A lot of it makes fun at its own
expense, but also mocks that of political correctness and Americanism.
They were so clever in the way structured it and it stills stands up
rather well today. But a quick warning their humour is an acquired
taste that's for sure.
Some of these ambitious skits and segments are real ball, ranging from the lumberjack song, The dead parrot, The upper class twit of the year, Killer cars, Blackmail, Hungarian in the cigarette shop, the lion tamer and so much more. My favourite of the lot would be the Mountaineer expedition sign up. Going on throughout the film is Terry Gilliam's stunning and ultimately inventive cartoons which catch the eye and imagination. The animation is that of high standards and adds a whole new dimension to the silliness! You could see this eye for detail when he directed such flicks like 'Brazil' and 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. The boys involved John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam are nothing but entertaining in whatever they decide to come up with, by giving us a real good laugh.
This landmark comedy team is always a delight to behold. A must see for any fan, though I doubt they haven't seen it already.
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