Join Monty Python members as they discuss BBC censorship, unwanted celebrity status, member Graham Chapman, Python controversy, each other and Cleese's departure. Interviews with Terry Gilliam, John ...
Rowan Atkinson and the cast of legendary comedy series Blackadder are back for this one-off documentary special to mark 25 years since the original BBC transmission in 1983. Featuring ... See full summary »
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This documentary series consists of six episodes. The running time per episode is just under one hour; so the total running time of the show would be 5 1/2 to 6 hours. The 1h 47min running time listed here on imdb only refers to a special cut shown in one particular cinema, for one night only; this 107min. listing is therefore a bit pointless. See more »
This documentary took the road most taken: if you're documenting Python, be Pythonesque. That's why it gets an 8 and not a 10. The mini-sketch at the beginning got to be annoying about half-way through it at the first watching. I really didn't need the joke repeated 6 times. (And it is more reminiscent of the opening scene of Gilliam's Brazil than of anything by Python, anyway.) Then there are the animations meant to be homage's to Gilliam's works. Another miss. And there's the cutting-people-off-in-mid-sentence in interviews (which, of the Pythonesque directorial touches is the one that works best, in my opinion). The interviewee-being-seen-in-a-profile motif also detracted from the documentary. In short, directorially it's in a bad shape.
Having said that, the rest of it I loved. It is a candid tale of a troupe who got together only by some strange series of flukes, remained together for as long as they did because their various antics and inter-group quibbling somehow managed to cancel each other, left us an incredibly funny legacy (the highlights of which were done as quick-and-dirty solutions to some odd problems) and finally were fed up with it and went on to do other great things separately.
At no point does it feel like anyone is holding anything back. For example, the group is very open about their complete lack of interest in each other's personal lives, and how that made them not see what was going on in Graham Chapman's life, even when it was too big to miss.
Intermixed with this are well-chosen bits of archive footage (including interviews with Chapman that are edited in to sound just like the interviews with the five surviving members), some perspective interviews with friends and contemporary comedians (as well as some actors and musicians), and mentions of some notable fans (mostly from the music business).
I am a Python fan, but (like the group itself, apparently) never dug into their personal lives, feeling that their body of work should speak for itself. So, to me, much of this was new, and I thought that just hearing the story of George Harrison's house and its connection to Life of Brian -- that alone would have made the watching of this documentary worthwhile... and there's a lot more where that came from.
A solid, well deserved 8.
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