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Released in 1971, this first feature presentation by the zany Monty
Python's troupe is very much like a "greatest hits" album where we have
these very funny guys from the UK showcasing some of their most
hilariously popular sketches and bizarre animated segments from their
long-running TV series of the late 1960s.
For anyone who enjoys outrageously odd comedy, this film's compilation is really a fine introduction to Monty Python's peculiar and unique brand of humour.
Filled with all sorts of surreal slapstick and supreme silliness, this film includes such unforgettable, comic gems as - The World's Deadliest Joke, Upper-Class Twit Of The Year, Hells Grannies, Dead Parrot, and Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink, to name but a few.
For some guaranteed giggles and outright laughs, you can always rely on the Monty Python's gang to deliver the goods..... Check it out!
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-
*** 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.
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.
And Now For Something Completely Different was the first of the films released by Monty Python.Most people only consider Holy Grail, Life Of Brian and Meaning Of Life(those are the only ones in the box set).But they should add this one as well.Yes it is basically skits from the series somewhat remade and combined into a feature film, but it is also a collection of some of the best skits from Monty Python flying circus.We have the dead parrot sketch, the lumberjack song, the old lady gang and many other classics! I find Monty Python's Flying Circus to have great skits, but also it's fair share of mediocre skits.This film does a great job of taking all the good ones.It is also combined with Terry Gilliam's brilliant animations.Even though you may have already seen it before, any Python fan should check this film out! They should also start considering it as a film in the series!
Apart from the fact that it's great introduction to works of the famous
British comedy sketch group for a newbee, I want to stress that it
lacks canned laughter and even this fact deserves ten out of ten vote.
Many famous sketches are there (Parrot sketch is included) some of them
are shortened, some of them a little bit different, but it's the best
way to introduce a new comer to "Monty Python's flying Circus". To
hardcore Python fans the movie can have somewhat less value, but worth
watching nonetheless. Sketches here have different from TV show links
between each other, some accents are stressed in a different way
Summary: 10/10 for lack of canned laughter.
The phrase "And Now for Something Completely Different" originated with
the British television personality Christopher Trace, who as presenter
of the children's programme Blue Peter used it to link items on
differing topics. It was taken up by other TV programmes and became a
catchphrase on "Monty Python's Flying Circus", so much so that it was
used as the title when the Pythons made their first film in 1971.
Rather bizarrely, the film was produced by Victor Lownes, of Playboy
fame, who saw it as the ideal way to introduce Americans to the
mysteries of the Python cult.
Unlike the other three Python films ("Monty Python and the Holy Grail", "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and "The Meaning of Life"), this one does not contain any original material. It consists of sketches taken from the first two series of the TV show, linked by some of Terry Gilliam's surreal animation sequences. The sketches were not taken direct from the television version but were specially remade for the film; some of them were slightly rewritten. I remember getting into a heated debate with a school friend, now a distinguished Professor of History at Oxford, about whether the famous "Dead Parrot Sketch" contains the lines "It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir eternal"; it turned out that I had seen the film version, which does contains these lines, and he had seen the television one, which doesn't.
Although, as the "Not the Nine O'clock News" team once pointed out, Britain is still ostensibly a Python-worshipping country, Pythonesque humour is an acquired taste, and attempting to explain its appeal to anyone who is not a Python-worshipper is a forlorn hope. (I have tried, and failed miserably, with my wife). This is probably a generational thing; I belong to that generation which came of age in the seventies and which prided itself on its ability to repeat Python sketches verbatim, but even in that period there was a large part of the older generation which reacted to the show in much the same way as Graham Chapman's colonel. "This is getting silly. And a bit suspect, I think". As for anyone born since 1980, and many people born since 1970, I suspect that they may regard the show with the same bafflement that my generation reserved for old radio shows like ITMA. ("Did people really use to laugh at that?")
Even as a practising Pythonist I have to admit that not all the sketches in "And Now For Something Completely Different" are hilarious; "Musical Mice", for example, does not seem nearly so funny today as it probably once did, and some of the animation segments now look a bit dated. There is not much to link the various sketches together, so film does not flow in the same way as "The Holy Grail" or "Life of Brian", both of which consisted of a series of linked sketches which together formed a coherent narrative. Nevertheless, much of the material here is brilliantly funny.
My particular favourites include:-
Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook (In which John Cleese's Hungarian gentlemen is misled by an inaccurate phrasebook into repeating phrases like "Please will you fondle my buttocks" or "My hovercraft is full of eels" in the belief that he is asking something innocuous like "Where is the railway station?")
Hell's Grannies (A takeoff of the rather earnest tone of British television documentaries of the period).
The Funniest Joke in the World (Or how our boys won the war by telling lethally funny jokes to the Germans).
Dead Parrot (In which Cleese tries to persuade a sceptical Michael Palin that the parrot he has just purchased is dead, is a stiff, is no more, has ceased to be and has shuffled off this mortal coil. Perhaps the Pythons' best-known sketch).
Vocational Guidance Counsellor (Or the sketch which did for the accountancy profession what the Black Death did for mediaeval Europe)
Upper Class Twit of the Year . When I first saw this, I assumed that the Upper Class Twits were purely fictitious; it was only when I was invited by my then girlfriend to accompany her to a meeting of the Kensington and Chelsea Young Conservatives that I realised that the Pythons' satire was, if anything, rather understated.
Like a number of other reviewers, I noticed that some of my favourite sketches (The Spanish Inquisition, The Australian Philosophers, Ministry of Silly Walks, etc.) were omitted from the film, although some of those that other reviewers were hoping to see, such as the exploding penguin, appeared in the third or fourth series of the programme and hence had not been written when this film was made. Nevertheless, I think that the Pythons were right to limit the amount of material and hence the length of the film to 90 minutes. The Monty Python format was originally designed for thirty-minute programmes, and would probably have become tedious if it had been dragged out to two hours or more. (This is what happens with "The Meaning of Life", which starts to drag towards the end). "And Now For Something Completely Different" is not the Pythons' greatest film- that must be "Life of Brian"- but it still contains plenty to laugh at. 8/10
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