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|Index||75 reviews in total|
And now for something without canned laughter, 10 April 2010
Author: justified-3 from Russia
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.
My hovercraft is full of eels, 16 October 2009
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
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
A Ragbag of Brilliant Sketches., 7 October 2009
Author: JohnWelles from United Kingdom
Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different" (1971) isn't really a film. It is actually a ninety-minute sketch show that has a ragbag of some of the greatest skits ever performed, Python or otherwise. Many of the classic's are there (yes, the dead parrot make's a welcome appearance) including the wonderful "Self Defence Against Fresh Fruit" (John Clees on fine form) which is followed by the very funny spoof of BBC documentaries's in "Hell's Grannies". A personal favourite is "Expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro" that has Cleese interviewing Eric Idle about taking him on a expedition to mount Kilimanjaro. This was my first encounter with Monty Python, and I'm glad it won't be my last.
The Peaks Outnumber the Flats, 21 November 2008
Author: TimBoHannon from Seattle Washington area
The six-member comedy group Monty Python had not yet achieved
international fame when "And Now for Something Completely Different"
was released. It would be four years until "Monty Python and the Holy
Grail" accomplished that. "And Now for Something Completely Different"
is essentially a greatest hits collection from the first half of their
television show. A number of the vignettes are outrageously hilarious.
A few are merely puzzling. Alas, a number of them are unfunny. That is
the part that surprised me.
The marriage counseling and bikini scenes, among others, seem to rely exclusively on being risqué. In real life, some men freeze and stare at pretty women. Many do utterly stupid things. We all know that. Why are we supposed to automatically laugh when we see it? That type of humor wore off when I was 15. Without some other aspect to the joke, I become uncomfortable. Perhaps that style was funnier in 1971. Humor is subjective and undergoes mild changes with the times.
Happily, "And Now for Something Completely Different" is more oasis than desert. A number of parts are great enough to garner hard laughter from people of all ages. The Pythons choose one of their funniest to open the film. It takes the form of a public service message on "How Not to be Seen." The scene's device takes goofy to a whole new level. It is written with the essence of British humor as the joke is gradually blown up to amazing proportions.
In fact, the parts of the movie that work are based on either developing a situation to total absurdity or portraying circumstances so zany only the Pythons could dream them up. The most notable instance is when a restaurant patron makes an innocent request and receives far more than he wants. The film contains the Dead Parrot sketch, possibly their most famous, and the immortal Lumberjack Song. Among the good scenes, I am partial to the Kilimanjaro expedition and The People Falling out of High Buildings.
Graham Chapman shows up as the straight man and reprises his famous role as the colonel who thinks everything is "too silly." Generally, John Cleese has the most demonstrative roles, Eric Idle remains proper throughout the chaos, Michael Palin plays the most outrageous roles, including the Lumberjack; and Terry Jones excels with the most reserved characters. Terry Gilliam creates the cartoons. Each Python had discovered their strength by that time.
"And Now for Something Completely Different" lacks some sketches that I hoped to see such as the "Spanish Inquisition," "Ministry of Silly Walks," and the exploding penguin. In any case, it is a mix of great and awful with the funny times outnumbering the poor ones. I rated the great scenes as a ten, the good ones as a six and the stupid parts a one. Therefore, "And Now for Something Completely Different rates a 6.4 out of ten, which I round up to seven because it opens and closes well.
Wide Screen Python, 19 July 2008
Author: Jake Fortune from United States
This wide screen version of Monty Python's early sketches, animation
and bodily sounds is a DVD delight. The humour is very much intact in
better lit interiors and more expansive, textured and colorful
exteriors than the TV series. I and my teenage son (we're Minneapolis
Lutherans) watched it together. His delight last night, matched mine
some 37 years ago. For him, it had the kind of appeal that Mad Magazine
had for me a half century ago. Go Gilliam -- subversive silliness has
younger champions in the land of lakes and corn.
Terry Jone's bare-assed organist continues to alert me to the dangers of naturism while still prompting me to shout "Bravo!" when ever the character appears. The Upper Class Twit sketch is among the funniest and best performed sketch to have ever been lensed.
"I'm a lumberjack, and I'm O.K....", 6 June 2008
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the Pythons' first attempt at a movie - made when the series
was still in production - and, while in no way comparable to later
classics such as 'Holy Grail' and 'Life Of Brian', its good fun, and a
lot better than many of the films-based-on-T.V. sitcoms made around at
Playboy club boss Victor Lownes put up the money, thinking the film had the potential to be a cult hit in the U.S.A. But it was not. For one thing, it was badly promoted ( John Cleese remembers seeing a strange poster of a grinning snake with a hat on. Just the sort of thing calculated to set box-office tills ringing, of course ) and anyway the Americans were hardly likely to go and see a film based on a show which ( at that point ) they had not seen.
'And Now' is an anthology of sketches from the first two 'Monty Python' series. Unlike 'The Best Of Benny Hill' ( which reused original television material ) these were remakes. They included 'Crunchy Frog', 'Upper Class Twit Of The Year Show', 'Marriage Guidance Councillor', 'The Lumberjack Song', 'Sir George Head', 'Hungarian Phrase Book' 'Blackmail', 'Self-Defence Class', 'Nudge Nudge' and 'Hell's Grannies'.
Some of the items benefited from the move to film, such as 'Funniest Joke In The World', while others fell flat, most notably 'The Parrot Sketch'. Michael Palin was to have reprised his role as the disgusting 'Ken Shabby', but Lownes insisted that the sequence be dropped.
Terry Jones' Nude Organist is seen for the first time, he went on to become a regular feature of the series.
The Pythons came to regard the film as an embarrassment as it was basically a rehash of old material, but it was successful in establishing that Python humour could work on the big screen. When they made 'Holy Grail' three years later, they were much more confidant and self-assured.
In the days before the availability of Python on video and D.V.D. this film was the only reminder of the group's genius. Now its somewhat redundant, but still worth viewing.
Funniest moment - tough one, this. I'll go for Palin's rendition of 'The Lumberjack Song' mainly because I love the shocked looks on the faces of the mounties as the full meaning of the lyrics hits home. Oh, and Connie Booth is sexy too! One complaint though - how on Earth did they manage to leave out the 'Ministry Of Silly Walks'?
They still are a reference to young comedians nowadays, worldwide., 21 February 2008
Author: mario_c from Porto, Portugal
Here we have a sketch-film by Monty Python that really is something
different! Python are for sure one of the greatest comedian-groups
ever, and I'm not talking just about English humor. They still are a
reference to young comedians nowadays, worldwide. Here in Portugal, for
instance, they influenced many comedians, and they're a clear source to
the humor of the best Portuguese comedians at the moment, "Gato
Fedorento" (their name can be translated to something like "Stinking
And now (let's talk) for something completely different: the film! It's a sketch-film done with some sketches of the first years of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" series. So we can say it's not really a film but a compilation of sketches, since there's no plot or fix characters. Nevertheless it's made up with the typical non-sense humor by Python, mixing hilarious silly jokes with some that make fun out of social and/or political matters. It's just Monty Python on their great and silly way of making fun! There're a great number of very funny sketches, others are not so hilarious but they are very good doing political sarcasm (like that one, now old-fashioned, about the American attempts to stop the international communism, during the Cold-War. They compare the American policies to the world to a teeth-past! But if we think well, it's probably not so old-fashion like that ).
It's the traditional but always funny humor of those crazy minds called Monty Python!
Fine anthology--first-hand humorist studies of a surrealist inspiration, 27 December 2007
Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
These small studies usually contain the humor and its own critique. The
selection here is good and deserved to be much more famous. But I guess
the fame is limited by the plausible dimensions of Python's audience.
And Now For Something Completely Different is The Pythons' first film. It is as good as you could expect. Fanciful, lively surrealist inspiration. Some things are pushed as far as possible, yet there is a strong feel that the intelligent control is never really or completely lost.
Some of the jokes are absurdly well delivered.
More inventively conceived fun than sex--comedy--anyway,this isn't Benny Hill!
A fine Monty Python compilation., 21 December 2007
Author: bluethunder35 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
For their first motion picture, the Pythons decided to make a
compilation of some of their best skits from their first two years on
BBC instead of an original film (those would come later).
And Now For Something Completely Different, named after John Cleese's famous catchphrase, is a film consisting of higher quality versions of some of their famous early skits. You'll see "Expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro", "Nudge Nudge", "The Funniest Joke In The World" and some absolute classics such as "Dead Parrot", "The Lumberjack Song" and "Restaurant Sketch". My favorite is "Blackmail", where Eric Idle plays a host of a show that threatens to ruin people's marriages and lives unless they pay him off.
There also some great Terry Gilliam animations as well in ANFSCD. Good ones include "The Killer Cars", "Rampage Of The Cancerous Spot" and "The Cannibal Baby".
Yes, there are some weak skits here and I found the film a bit tougher to get used to as it doesn't have the T.V. trappings I usually see, but it remains an outstanding compilation for those who want to get into Monty Python's brand of sketch comedy. Highly recommended.
Basically its the Best of Flying Circus, 13 October 2007
Author: mjw2305 from England
With this movie, all python fans will no exactly what they are getting,
it basically all the best sketches from the Flying Circus series,
re-filmed and arranged into a anthology of comedy genius.
Nearly all of the favourites are included, and of course the whole Python Gang is here; making this a real treat for every fan of the series.
The thing with Python comedy is the originality of the gags and the characters, but sadly they do have limited appeal for the new generation; such is the sheer lunacy and diversity of the humour.
I give it 8/10 "Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink; Say No More!"
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