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I have only gotten in part in on Monty Python's Flying Circus, so this
was good terrain for me to get through, kind of like getting one of
those compilation records of the Beatles that they put out in mass
droves when fans just didn't get enough from the actual albums
themselves. Nothing apparently is 'original' to the movie itself, in
other words no segments were made especially for the film (aside from
the animations possibly, though even that I can't be totally sure of).
But one of the good things about seeing the film at this point is that
I got to have a lot of laughs with the sketches I'd already seen and
liked (some of them, like the Parrot sketch- albeit classic in a kind
of vaudevillian way- aren't necessarily my favorites). I really enjoyed
the ones too I hadn't seen, like the Marriage Guidance Counselor sketch
where Michael Palin is in one of his funniest bits to date.
Other classics I really do love, especially on repeat viewings, are the Lumberjack song, with it's always expectable joke funnier than the first, Killer Cars, Man with Tape Recorder Up His Nose, Expedition to Mount Kilmanjaro, and especially the Self Defence Class (maybe my favorite, albeit it might've worked a little better on the show). Flasher too. Sure, it might be a little disconcerting to see some sketches that didn't make it in, or that there are some in there that shouldn't be. It's also a little lackluster- at least in comparison to the later Python films- due to Ian McNaughton being a TV director and more used to the point-and-shoot style of TV as opposed to the camera almost being in on the joke too with Holy Grail and Meaning of Life. But it certainly wasn't a waste of time either. A-
I don't know why I didn't get more out of this. Several isolated times
a stern and sober British Army officer is interpolated and announces to
the viewers that this isn't worth watching because "it's silly -- just
silly." I ruefully found myself often agreeing.
I don't suppose there's any point in trying to outline a plot because there is none. It's a series of sketches evidently gotten from their TV show. I first heard the "dead parrot" sketch on the radio and thought it was hilarious. Now, seeing it on the screen, it seems to have lost much of its voltage. Nor did I find it so amusing when a despondent man leaves a building, stops to think for a moment, and a huge iron weight falls on him and he splats under it.
It's possible that this particular material is already familiar, so that watching the film is like hearing a joke for the second or third time. It's also likely that it doesn't seem so fresh or amusing because some of it is dated. The movie was put together in 1971, when much of Western society was in turmoil -- race riots in the streets, an unpopular war in a country no one could identify on a blank map, gays screaming out of the closet, widespread sexual indulgence, bloodshed in Northern Ireland, pop tunes encouraging revolution, that sort of thing. But it's all gone or at least abated today. So the "Granny gangs" don't resonate the way they did at the time. At the same time, the "upper-class twit" sketch still gets laughs. I mean, hunting live rabbits that are staked out and spread-eagled on the ground! Trying to commit suicide by shooting one's self -- and missing. I'm laughing now, just rerunning it in my mind.
Each of their four features were to improve monotonically, with "The Meaning of Life" nearing perfection of the style. That last one is mature. Well, mature for Monty Python. And it's both engaging and carries a covert theme of the utmost seriousness. The Granny Gangs are long gone, but questions about the meaning of life, or the absence of meaning, still plague us.
This is a movie distillation of the best Monty Python sketches from
series 1 and 2. It's mostly intended for the American audience to
introduce them to the popular British TV show. The troop is Graham
Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and
Michael Palin. They form one of the most important group of
They remade the sketches for the big screen and it looks the better for it. Some of them are more hilarious than others. It's uneven in its nature, but a great highlight of the TV show. The TV show can be a rough dig for each precious gem. So it's great that they gathered up the best gems here. And it's an important piece as the first Monty Python movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Talking to a friend recently about Comedy TV shows/movies that they had
either never seen or heard of before,I was surprised to find out that
she had never seen any footage of a Comedy group called Monty
Python.Deciding to go for a Python DVD that would hopefully act as a
good intro to their work,I was pleased to discover,that a boxset had
been brought out,which along with containing the Python's most well
know titles, (the classic Holy Grail,and Life of Brian-which I still
need to see!) also contained two movies of the Python's that I have
hardly heard ever get mentioned.
The outline of the film:
Designed as a film to introduce "Monty Python" to the US,the movie features re-staged and re-filmed sketches from the first two seasons of Monty Python's Flying Circus,with a loose,over lapping theme of a character appearing in the end of one sketch and then in the beginning of the next,and also a breaking of the sketches into pieces,by having an announcer appear on the screen every 15-20 minutes to say "And now for something completely different".
View on the film:
Joining with the Python's for their big screen debut (which despite being aimed for America,ended up making more money at the UK box office than at the US box office!),director Ian MacNaughton smartly uses the film's small $80,000 budget (from Playboy magazine) to burst the sketches out of there original studio confines,with one of the movies best sketches about a "deadly joke" being used against the German's in WW II (?) being given a brilliant "fresh" feel thanks to MacNaughton giving the scene and misty look and also fully displaying the vast location.
Despite the group surprisingly not using the widescreen format to feature a number of background or side gags that could be picked up on repeat viewings,the Python's impressively keep away from making the sketches ever feel old & recycled,by using the overlapping character's as a way to include a wonderfully new,absurd element into each of the sketches,that leads to viewer being excited about what direction the next sketch will go in,the moment they hear the words "And now for something completely different.".
'And Now for Something Completely Different' is basically just a large
episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus but this is certainly not a bad
Despite the film's lack of plot and confusing format it is still really funny. Of course, because there are so many sketches then there will be some that you won't like, but there will be ones that you will love (the mountaineering sketch is my personal favourite). This can mean that people may grow tired of the film before it ends and - as is always the case with Monty Python - some people will absolutely love it and some people will hate it. Terry Gilliam's animation sequences are also really funny and bizarre.
All of the cast perform really well here and have all got their personal best sketch performances in here i.e. Eric Idle's 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' sketch. This is the first of Monty Python's films and it is not their best but it is still really funny. If you are a fan of Monty Python then you will love this film.
Series of sketches compiled from the Flying Circus series showcases
some of the most memorable Python gags and characterisations, an ideal
introduction to the comedy styling of Britain's foremost comedy
half-dozen (Cleese, Palin, Idle, Jones, Chapman and Gilliam).
Among the side-splitters are the famous Lumberjack ruminations of the local pet shop owner, trying to avoid the dead parrot complaint from a dissatisfied customer, Terry Jones playing "three blind mice" with real specimens to the horror of his lounge bar audience, and one of my favourites, the dark art of defence in the face of a banana-wielding assailant ("what about a pointed stick?").
If you're pressed for time and haven't the opportunity to absorb several hours of the Flying Circus TV series, then this compilation of sketches could be just the antidote to cure your otherwise humourless afternoon. There's no esoteric socio-political references to inhibit the humour and while it might suffer from datedness in some aspects, viewed in its temporal context, this remains ground-breaking sketch comedy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*** MAJOR SPOILER ALERT *** A man walks into the office of a guidance
counselor, and takes a seat. The counselor advises the man that he has
looked over his aptitude tests and has concluded that the best position
suited to him would be as an accountant. "But I am an accountant," the
man says, "I have been one for the past 20 years. I want something
exciting that will let me live." He reports that his current job is
desperately dull and boring, to which the counselor informs him that
his tests reveal that he is dull and boring. The job he wants: lion
tamer. This despite the fact he has no training and seems to have
mistaken lions for aardvarks. He does have a proper hat though. The
counselor informs us that "This is what accountancy does to people."
That's the grand anarchic spirit of Monty Python. Grab a normal
scenario and whip it into something so over-exaggerated and silly that
we almost have to laugh at the concept. I think the British are experts
at this. There's a drollery to their delivery that allows a scene like
that to work. Week after week, this was what made the best parts of The
Monty Python troup's TV show "Monty Python's Flying Circus" work. They
adopted a sort-of shotgun approach to their sketches, firing every idea
at us no matter how ridiculous and hoping that one of them would make
The laugh ratio on the show was about 40%. Some sketched worked but many did not. Their first feature film And Now for Something Completely Different culls their best sketches into a kind of "Best of" collection. These sketches are not just replays from the show, but actually reenactments, on film without an audience. The laugh ratio in the film is about 70/30. Many of their ideas work if you're willing to stretch your imagination.
The troup, which is comprised of six players - Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin - work exhaustively throughout this film to play more than 100 different characters, are so willing to make us laugh that they will come up with nearly anything. That would explain an opening scene featuring a man who claims to have a tape recorder up his nose. He presses one nostril and the tape plays "La Marseillaise". He presses the other nostril and he can rewind the tape. Even stranger is the follow-up act featuring the man's brother who suffers from the same affliction, this time the song plays in stereo. Far from classic comedy, but you get the idea.
My favorite is a sketch called "Hell's Grannies", which involves a news report dealing with a roving gang of little old ladies who beat young men over the head with their pocket books. We see them in their flowered hats, swinging their purses and roaring around on their motorcycles while wrapped in shawls. One nervous citizen in a leather jacket and a Jolly Roger helmet informs us that "It's not even safe to go out to the shops anymore." The news reporter lets us know that their domain is "a world in which the surgical stocking is king". Only slightly worse are a roving gang of baby snatchers, grown men in diapers who snatch adults from in front of grocery stores.
One of the best creative touches in the film is the way in which the sketches are linked together. One sketch leads into the next in a way this oddly fitting. For example the scene with the accountant ends with a fairy waving his magic wand and giving the accountant something more exciting. That makes him the host of the game show that is the next sketch. It is called "Blackmail" a sadistic game show in which privately obtained films of adultery are shown, and the person on the film has to call in with a cash offer so the show will stop running the film.
All of this is very subjective and no one laughs at exactly the same thing. That's pretty much what makes Monty Python work. Either you are in on the joke or you're looking for laughter elsewhere. Either the sight of an armed bank robber committing his crime only the discover that he has walked into a lingerie shop is funny to you or it isn't. For me, I laughed most of the time, the rest I was left scratching my head. Maybe that was the point.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While the Americans have a habit of taking movies and turning them into
TV series, the Brits do it the other way round - we have a large number
of cinema movies which have been spun off TV series.
The Python crew's first outing onto the big screen is an unassuming affair - it takes a number of sketches from the series, most of which had been seen (and those which hadn't soon would be), and reproduces them on film as opposed to videotape. In that respect, they are of considerably better image quality than the video standard of the time and, of course, they don't have a laugh track.
And they are all good sketches, well reproduced here, and an excellent reminder of what made Python successful in the first place.
Monty Pythons And Now For Something Completely Different is a hilarious
movie filled with completely random sketches,especially the animated
bits,which I also find to be some of the funniest bits.I find the Monty
Python crew to be some of the funniest people on earth,especially John
Cleese,Graham Chapman and Michael Palin.My favourite parts are,the
worlds funniest joke,the dirty fork scene,the killer cars and the
lumberjack song.I find the Holy Grail and Life Of Brian better
though,but Monty Python never let me down.
The Monty python crew,Graham Chapman,Eric Idle,Michael Palin,John Cleese,Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam provide use with one random sketch after another in their first feature film based on sketches and characters from Monty Pythons Flying Circus.
The film itself contains some well written pieces, however it is more like a preview or 'mix tape' of some Monty Python sketches. I feel that the acting (though good),comparatively lacked the energy and feeling of spontaneity given in the original versions of the sketches which were performed on T.V. There were also small changes to the dialogue of the sketches that (though maybe just because I've seen the original sketches so many times), did not fit as well. The whole movie didn't tie together as well as the T.V episodes did. I can remember watching the movie in 2003 when I was seven or eight, it was my first introduction to Monty Python and I found it hilarious, but since watching their other work I have come to see this movie as a lower-quality version. Since this movie is simply strung together classic sketches of Monty Python, I recommend simply watching the episodes or their other movies instead. This was probably their worst work.
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