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Holy Flying Circus [DVD]

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Holy Flying Circus [DVD] + A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (DVD) + John Cleese Live! - The Alimony Tour [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Darren Boyd, Charles Edwards, Steve Punt, Rufus Jones, Tom Fisher
  • Directors: Owen Harris
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Feb 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,982 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

In 1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian caused controversy around the world. This is NOT their story...

Holy Flying Circus is a fantastical re-imagining of the events leading up to Michael Palin and John Cleese appearing on the BBC's Friday Night Saturday Morning to defend the film against charges of blasphemy. Written by Tony Roche (In the Loop, The Thick of It) directed by Owen Harris (Misfits, Skins) and edited by Billy Sneddon (Four Lions, In the Loop) this is a bold and entertaining homage to one of the world's greatest comedy teams.

This programme does not feature the Pythons and is not produced or endorsed by them.

Special features - Out-takes, Deleted Scenes, The Making Of The Holy Flying Circus, Phonotrope and Production Stills


Comedy of the week --Radio Times

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 21 Feb 2012
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Way back when, some awfully clever chaps got together in a desert somewhere and made a film. And Lo! It was a truly great film. It was essentially a send up of all that is small and closed minded about society. The small and closed minded got to hear about it, and without seeing the film decried it as blasphemy and offensive. Proving the points made in the film really.

Looking back at it now, the film's reception and people's reaction to it is worthy of a Monty Python sketch in its own right. How people managed to get so uptight and angry about something that they had never seen amazes me. I first saw the film in the late eighties, when a battered VHS copy was passed around school and watched in secret as the grown ups thought it was naughty. I found nothing offensive there, just good comedy and great satire. I watched it twice, looking for the bit everyone was upset about, but couldn't find anything.

In the months following the films release, there was a censorship battle in England (wholly shameful - I thought we believed in free speech and expression and letting people make their own minds up? But then, I was never a fan of Whitehouse, she mucked about with Dr Who, an unforgiveable crime in my eyes). As a result Michael Palin and John Cleese went on a chat show to debate the film with Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark. What should have been an intelligent debate descended into farce as the supposed intellectual heavyweights made a series of arguments based about a film that they had not seen all the way through. They had missed the essential establishing sequences in the first few minutes clearly showing Christ and Brian to be separate people, and based all their arguments on the position that the film sent up Christ. Which it didn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. O'Brien VINE VOICE on 24 July 2012
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Like other TV documentary plays about "national treasures" of British comedy - Gracie Fields, Hatti Jacques, Kenneth Williams - this exploration of the Monty Python team homes in on a specific point of crisis in the subject's career. In this case, it's the infamous outcry that greeted the release of their movie "Life of Brian", an entirely innocent satire on religious and political intolerance which, unfortunately for them, was set around the year Dot and featured a brief appearance from an actor playing Jesus Christ himself. Although Jesus was presented with complete respect (the movie's barbed wit being reserved for almost everyone else) there were knee-jerk accusations of blasphemy. Death threats were issued, councils instituted bans on religious grounds and middle class outrage dminated public opinion. This rather shameful episode culminated in John Cleese and Micahel Palin appearing on a chat show sparring match with a self-righteous bishop and pundit Malcolm Muggeridge, neither of whom had seen the whole film.

'Holy Flying Circus' uses the Python team's own methods in presenting the story - surreal jump-cuts, interpolations and fantasy sequences as well as running jokes, like Cleese appearing only in his Basil Fawlty persona (subject to disclaimer) and Mrs Palin being played by a man in drag. There's a sequence where Palin repeatedly wakes from a series of bizarre dreams-within-dreams, and one where the actors are replaced by Star Wars action figures in the midst of a lightsabre battle. On the whole all this succeeds - the pacing only occasionally flags, the impersonations (well, maybe not Terry Gilliam) are pretty much spot-on and the film is an interesting document of a kind of middle-class outrage that's probably now, thankfully, disappeared. And as we all know - "Life of Brian" went on to be one of the most celebrated comedy films of all time, so the Pythons had the last laugh.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Feb 2012
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Monty Python's Life of Brian is generally regarded by anyone in possession of a sense of humour as one of the greatest films made. But it was also highly controversial and some Christian groups desperate to be offended convinced themselves that it was an attack on their faith and tried to get the release banned, or at least have it re-certified so that it wouldn't lead to younger audiences questioning what they were being told. This film is set just after completion of the film as the controversy starts to build momentum and is a fictionalised account of events - but like so many works of fiction, it probably speaks a lot of truth too.

The first thing which strikes you about "Holy Flying Circus" is how authentically Pythonesque it seems, it captures not only the `look' but the spirit of Python humour too, if this were to be included in a film bundle along with the other Monty Python titles, it certainly wouldn't feel out of place - and that's high praise. The troupe themselves are well represented, mainly with actors whom comedy fans will probably recognise - and they adopt the looks and (more importantly) the mannerisms of the Pythons they play with the central cast playing multiple roles. The guys are caricatures rather than fully-fleshed out characters, but this is done intentionally and in the case of John Cleese the audience is told that his portrayal is based on his Basil Fawlty persona - and therefore instantly recognisable. The Monty Python crew tended to work in twos, Palin and Jones' partnership is the only one really explored here and is highlighted by showing them married, with Terry Jones dressed in a frock of course. You don't get much Monty Python than that.
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