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Monty Python in German?! Well, it does sound a bit strange. But as soon as you see it, you think it's great, and if you're a fan you're most likely on the floor laughing! They actually did two shows for German TV. The first one(1971)was completely in German, and the second show(1972)was in English. As a German speaker I have to say they did a wonderful job on speaking German, what with being English and all... The leading character in the first show is a German painter called Albrecht Dürer. There is even a song about him included, sung by Anita Ekberg - or rather Terry Jones. The highlights of the first show are John Cleese's portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood in the sketch with the same name, Stake Your Claim - a parody of game shows, and the Bavarian Restaurant Sketch which makes you never want to visit a German restaurant again. The second show is also wonderful, and although it's in English it differs from The Flying Circus. The highlights are Sycophancy, I Want A Hearing Aid - my favourite in this one is Michael Palin, and not to forget Happy Valley or The Princess with the Wooden Teeth - an absolutely fabulous sketch about a childish princess, her keyboard-playing father, the stuck-up prince Walter, and prince Charming. So if you ever get a chance to either watch these shows on TV, or buy them on video - take it! This is Monty Python at their very best, and Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus deserves a bigger audience.
For the obsessed fan, a rare treat. For non-python people probably just
a strange foreign curiosity. Yes, it is real. The Beatles sang in
German, Abba sang in German; and then Monty Python acting on an
invitation made two episodes for German / Austrian television in 1972.
It is essentially the same concept as an English episode, but in German. The paintings by Albrecht Dürer, fall victim to silly animations. Little Red Riding Hood shows up too. A number of familiar sketches, including the Lumberjack song, work as well in German as they do in English. For those familiar with the original series, it is a very nice mix of known and new material.
In fact, some material has been re-used later with new voice-overs, the Philosophers football match and the Silly Olympics for example, turn up at the Hollywood Bowl performance in 1982 (but the caption gives it away: Epikur is the German name for Epicurus).
All in all, it is for fans only. Relatively unknown and only the first episode is included on the 'Monty Python Live' DVD. The DVD quality is poor. Apparently no German DVD is available! Pity.
Nevertheless, for real fans, it's 'Go get it now!'.
I am a total GEEK and must admit that have seen just about everything done by the Pythons--including these German episodes (done either in German language or subtitled). And, because I am such a geek, I loved them. BUT, to someone unfamiliar with the team, I don't recommend this until you've seen their other work first. For example, the one episode that consisted mostly of a long fairy tale was very dry and not filled with the outrageous laughs of many of their other episodes--though it was great seeing John Cleese as Red Riding Hood. I also LIKED watching the travelers in Germany being abused (slapping them with fish, etc.) but I realize that this might not be everyone's cup of tea. You won't find as big a laughs as the Parrot Sketch in this batch but a few of their classic bits are reprised (The Lumberjack skit) along with new material.
There are three things you must first bear in mind while watching Monty
Python's Fliegender Zirkus: 1) Its German 2) The sketches are British as
well as the cast 3) Don't waste your time and energy trying to figure out
this show makes any sense because it doesn't and doing so can cause a
urge to mine for chickens (no pun intended).
Let me first say that I am a HUGE Monty Python fan. I own all the Monty Python Television Shows, Documentaries, Concerts, and Movies on Video and DVD, and let me tell you that watching Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus never gets old. There are some really great sketches that came out of that show that beat the Flying Circus Years, and there's even a version of the lumberjack song done in German that's pretty amusing.
The story of Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus goes like this; Monty Python's Flying Circus had been a huge success in England and in 1972, Germany, being comically impaired, asked the Python Troupe (Cleese, Idle, Palin, Chapmin, Jones, and Gilliam) if they could make a comedy television show in German, and they agreed. Simple as that. They only made two episodes, one in complete German and one in English, and if your a big Python fan, it would be worth your while to check them out.
BBC America offered the 1st German production for free as part of my
local cable company's digital on-demand service so I finally saw it.
It was definitely a surprise to the entire group doing really well with their German. Graham Chapman even attempted to imitate an American tourist speaking German poorly. However, quite a bit of the narration was provided by a professional German announcer.
At first the whole 45 minute effort seemed off and I thought that it was probably since comedy is 90% timing and if you are not comfortable speaking then your timing will likely be off. Later I thought that the material was repetitive from the British show (in tone not content) but that was because the Python crew knew that the German audiences were probably not familiar with their work. As the show progressed and we get an unusual amount of "toilet" humor, I thought that possibly they were using rejected / censored material from their British show. Then I noticed that the whole production was on film instead of the film/ live studio mix of the British show. That's when I realized why I didn't fully enjoy this production.
Compare the troupe's skits from the TV show (most of which were performed in front of live audiences) with the same skits in the film "And For Something Completely Different". The energy and timing, the use of multiple TV cameras versus one film camera and the input from the audience all combined to improve their work. Imagine if they had done the Bavarian restaurant sketch on their regular show, it would have been funny as opposed to amusing.
I can watch some of the TV episodes over and over, this German one... once is enough.
Monty Python came to Germany to write some sketches for the German and
Austrian TV and it became one of the best shows of them ever. Alfred Biolek,
a forward looking man, did a great job by inviting them.
My absolutely favourite scene is the 100 meter final of the men without any sense of direction. The lumberjack song is also great.
I'm sure it was hard for them to speak "German" but they didn't fail. So if you have the chance to watch the show, do it.
Can you get any funnier this really shows people they we'rent just known in England but Germany as well. Imagine that they not only took time to look through the German landscape but also learned the language. Saturday night Live certinley would not go that far to do something like that. Real classic gems. I wish they would have made more of them.
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