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And Now For Something Completely Different

Monty Python Box Set (2005)

And now for something rendered irrelevant. Before BBC-TV's Monty Python troupe had become comedy demigods in the U.S., this 1972 theatrical feature was an attempt to introduce the lads to American audiences. For 89 minutes we get sketches cherry-picked from the TV show's first two seasons, and there's never a bad time to revisit the Lumberjack Song, Nudge Nudge, Hell's Grannies, the Upper Class Twit of the Year, the Townswomen's Guild Reconstruction of Pearl Harbor, the Dirty Fork sketch, the Man With the Tape Recorder up His Nose (and His Brother), Silly Army Drills, the World's Deadliest Joke, and others, not to mention Terry Gilliam's distinctive animation.

However, by refilming the sketches for a cinematic format, with new editing, camerawork, close-ups, and other la-di-da flourishes, yet without the give-and-take energy of a live studio audience, what on TV was seat-of-the-pants fresh is here flat and overproduced. The lines as written are funny, but the brilliance of team players Cleese, Idle, Palin, Chapman, et al. shines through slat blinds instead of a fully open window. Like the Dead Parrot, it lacks a certain voom!

Today, with the entire Python oeuvre on DVD (several times over), this one is for completist collectors only. Bereft of life, it is an ex-parrot.

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment's DVD brings us the film with a faultless print and transfer (1.66:1 widescreen) and good DD 2.0 stereo audio. The only extras are thumbnail text screen bio/filmographies on the main Python members and director Ian MacNaughton.
—Mark Bourne



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