Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Flying Circus: In one corner, if he exists, GOD. In the other, men who like to get naked and discuss moose choreography
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...
Published on 21 Feb. 2012 by Victor

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
As a huge Monty Python fan i looked forward to the broadcat of this when it was on BBC4 and BBC HD last year. It turned out to be a highly enjoyable film, loosely based on a true story, but also throwing surreal elements in keeping with the subject matter. It poosibly could have done with a bit of trimming in places, but overall i found it very entertaining...
Published on 22 Mar. 2012 by Mr. J. C. Kent


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Flying Circus: In one corner, if he exists, GOD. In the other, men who like to get naked and discuss moose choreography, 21 Feb. 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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. And finally the debate descended into schoolyard name calling, not from the Pythons who retained their dignity, but from Muggeridge and Southwark. It was bizarre.

This excellent mockumentary tells the story of that debate. In a way that is truly in the spirit of the Pythons. It is bizarre, almost a stream of consciousness, populated with animations, dream sequences and really odd interludes. While most of it is fictionalised, it makes the points it wants to make exceptionally well. It is a story about censorship, the closed minded and the importance of standing up for free speech and the right to express oneself. It is brilliantly scripted and very well made. The cast are especially good, managing to closely resemble the pythons physically, in mannerism and in speech. They play caricatures of the Pythons, and do it excellently. Darren Boyd's Basil Fawlty and Charles Edwards `Nicest Man in the World' Michael Palin are especially good and largely carry the film. It's funny, it's serious, it make you think among the jokes and it has Stephen Fry in it. It's a classic in its own right and now sits proudly alongside my copy of Brian on the DVD shelf. 5 stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performances and a fitting homage, 24 July 2012
By 
C. O'Brien (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These guys should reboot the Python Franchise (or is that heresy too...), 28 April 2012
By 
Paolo Sammut - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really enjoyable comedy-documentary surrounding the making and release of the classic Monty Python film "The Life of Brian". Whilst played by modern actors all selected or made-up for their similarity to the original Pythons both in terms of appearance and also personality. There are some classic scenes which show the typical thin-skin of a certain tall Python.

I am too young to remember much about the release of the film, howeve having done a bit of research to review this it seems that this film does accurately portray the events which surrounds Brian's release.

There is some slapstick too, a scene reminiscent of the "alien spacecraft" scene in the film, which I suspect is a nod to teh theories of Erich von Daniken. The same aliens are here too putting their tuppence worth in the controversy which followed the film.

All in all this is a very enjoyable romp through the history of a controversal, yet brilliantly funny film. Highly Recommended
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally...", 21 Feb. 2012
By 
P. A. Murphy "Paulie" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For several years now, BBC4 have been making dramatised accounts of the origins of classic entertainers and shows. Mostly, they've been straight, gravely serious reconstructions: Tony Hancock, Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd, Steptoe & Son and Hughie Green for example. After all, isn't the funniest comedy forged out of tragedy and hardship, and aren't comedians just the most insecure and self-loathing of all critics?

This show isn't like any of those. We start with a farting Christ gag, a comedy title crawl and a suitably Gilliamesque title sequence and from there on in we are dropped into the world according to Monty Python. It's a giddy, riotous, hilarious and frequently surreal ride concerning the events of November 1979, when Life Of Brian had been released to controversy and outrage from militant Christian groups, offended by what they perceived as the film's blasphemous imagery. At the centre of the piece is the famous interview between Malcolm Muggeridge with the Bishop of Southwark against Michael Palin and John Cleese in which the Pythons defended not only the film, but their right to make it.

The main attraction for me was seeing how well these household names, mostly still with us, are portrayed by younger men. Darren Boyd, Charles Edwards, Steve Punt, Rufus Jones, Tom Fisher and Phil Nicol (Cleese, Palin, Idle, Jones, Chapman and Gilliam respectively) put in performances that are each excellent in their own ways: Boyd's Cleese is unashamedly Fawltyesque, a fact the script acknowledges cheerily in one of many knowing nods that anticipate the audience's reaction to what they see. Steve Punt, born to play Idle, does it with authentic objectionability -- I mean this as a compliment! -- while Tom Fisher captures the thoughtful, quietly wicked Chapman behind the pipe. Nicol nails Gilliam's naughty transatlantic tone and Charles Edwards is just... eerily like Michael Palin. Rufus Jones's Jones is perhaps a little too wakish, sorry, rakish, but he does a splendid job of playing Terry Jones playing Michael Palin's wife. It's that kind of a show.

I enjoyed Holy Flying Circus very much. As an account of what happened, it's a bare-bones sort of affair. As an affectionate reflection of the madness going on in the life of Python in '79, I daresay it captures something of the time. If you're interested in Python, you'll want to see this as it's your heroes writ larger-than-life. As a lifelong Python-head, I can't say for certain how anyone outside of the Circus would find it, but as a piece of television, it's something of a tour-de-force. And it's funny when it wants to be - so that's that, really.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Most of what you are about to see is made up, like the Bible", 27 Feb. 2012
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.

Central to the film is the religious backlash against the Life Of Brian, Christians are gently mocked, but that's fair game - if they happen to be right, they've got a God on their side. It's the misuse of Religious authority which gets the brunt of any attack - much like in the film which inspired this one. The argument turns into one about blind faith versus free speech and those wanting censorship are shown as incensed because they've been told to by their church authorities ("you don't have to make up your own minds, the church has spoken for you"), their complete lack of facts best shown when clips of American protesters show a woman claiming that "Monty Python is an evil man!". The claims of blasphemy famously came to a head when on a live TV debate John Cleese and Michael Palin failed to get over most of their plannedpoints after a the church representatives dominated the proceedings by behaving like smug bullies. This event has been incredibly re-staged and if you didn't realise it was a recreation then at first glance you'd think it was actual footage. Darren Boyd absolutely nails the likeness of John Cleese and Charles Edwards could be Michael Palin's twin, the religious spokesmen sometimes look over-acted but they aren't - that's really how pompously awful they were.

This was a made-for-TV film so it doesn't look particularly cinematic, including animated scenes, some creative puppetry and a light sabre-fight make sure the abstract absurdities of Monty Python are upheld. The DVD includes a few extras including 3 deleted scenes, 12 minutes of outakes, and a short 'making of' which outlines the work required to create the opening sequence.

In a nutshell: The semi fictional angle is perfect to reflect the surrealist comedy of the group while attention to detail enables this to look familiar. In-jokes and pop-culture references will be appreciated by Python fans but those not familiar with the scene shouldn't feel too alienated. This is an entertaining way to tell a fascinating part of media history when the treatment of a comedy film resonated with deeper questions about censorship being used to protect a few established groups from challenged or offended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, 2 Mar. 2012
By 
Brett H (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a committed Python fan I was really looking forward to viewing this DVD and I was not disappointed. It covers the period immediately after Monty Python's Life of Brian [DVD] [1979] was released. Today this film is rightly considered one of the masterpieces of comic cinema. However, at the time it caused an enormous furore. There were demonstrations, heated exchanges in the Houses of Parliament, Bishops denouncing it from their pulpits and numerous councils using their powers to ban the showing of the film in their areas.

The presentation is quite Pythonesque. The intro could be straight out of one of the episodes and the cut outs are very skillfully put together. The action is punctuated regularly by cartoon type interludes and dream sequences from the mind of Michael Palin which again could have been lifted straight out of Monty Python. The crew of Monty Python sound and behave closely to what one would have expected whilst John Cleese and Michael Palin do look extremely similar to their real life counterparts provided you do not look too closely!

The story builds up to a chat show, Friday Night Saturday Morning, which Cleese and Palin are eventually persuaded to appear on since, by that time, the aggravation over the film has reached such a crescendo that there seems nothing to lose. In the other corner are the late Malcolm Muggeridge, a media figure who was a leading campaigner for morals and the Bishop of Southwark. These characters are bombastic and bullying and, although they manage to effectively shout down the Python boys, show themselves up for what they are.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but I do have the right background, in that I have enjoyed The Life of Brian many times and seen the Monty Python episodes over and over. Whilst it is certainly Five Star material for me, I quite understand that anyone seeing this without the grounding in Monty Python would be left somewhat bemused and would probably give it quite a low rating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Let's have something decent and military, 21 Mar. 2012
By 
S. Day (Ewell, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here we have the story of the Monty Python gang's struggle to get their anti-religion comedy masterpiece, Life of Brian, on the screen. Unusually for a comedy-docu-drama, it's done in a faux-Pythonesque style that is very effective, completely fitting with the story it has to tell and without flagging in the middle. Even Michael Palin's wife (in drag, of course) comes across well. Performances are impressive throughout, as is the script, written by the brilliant Tony Roche. (I've had a soft spot for Mr Roche ever since the misunderstood World of Pub [DVD].)

The DVD presentation is a disappointment. The notorious Friday Night, Saturday Morning programme that is central to the action is not included (despite having been broadcast by the BBC when this programme first went out in 2011); the outtakes are the usual missable padding best left on the cutting room floor while the building burns down; production stills are boring. The best featurette is on the making of the impressive phonotrope used on the opening credits. Sadly, the opportunity is not taken to present this work of art and skill in a version free from superimposed credits! Lunacy indeed.

There are, however, subtitles on the main feature, so if you haven't memorised the script by the time you succumb to hearing loss, you should be OK.

Top marks for the programme but a bit more thought should have gone into the DVD.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe for fans only, 19 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This had managed to completely pass me by with its showing(s) on television, indeed in its very existence (much like God Himself; sorry, but I couldn't help but get in on the act :) ). But then having spotted it on Amazon, I was quite looking forward to it.

I was too young to know anything about Life of Brian at the time, but quite clearly it was a very controversial film back then (maybe even now to some) and Holy Flying Circus doesn't hold back on the blasphemy right from the off. It certainly has its moments, a couple of them real gems, but overall I'd say that it is a little patchy in places (but then to be fair a lot of Monty Python was as well) and despite mostly very good performances from the actors portraying the Pythons, it just didn't really feel like Python to me as I was watching, which was a shame.

I'm sure fans of Monty Python will watch this and probably like it, at least to some degree (certainly seems that way from the many other reviews), but I'm not so sure non-Python fans would get much out of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `He's Not the Nicest Man on the Planet - He's a Very Naughty Boy!', 21 Feb. 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a BBC 4 programme that was first shown in October of 2011 and I missed it so this was a God send (if he truly exists obviously). It starts as it means to go on by being an homage to the Monty Python Crew and wearing its humour proudly on its sleeve. It says it is all a bit made up which is a bit like the Bible.

It centres around the furore and public hulabaloo that blew up around `The Life of Brian', and the handling that they did to try to get it shown. It was banned in more places than the Sex Pistols Tour had been, with only one London Cinema allowing a screening. In the midst of this Bible bashing self righteousness Mary Whitehousesque frenzy, the BBC waded in. They wanted the boys to appear on the current affairs talk show (not `chat' you understand) `Friday Night, Saturday Morning'.

Michael Palin (Charles Edwards who also plays his own mum!) is the nicest man in the World and John Cleese, well is the opposite and seen as a bit abrasive. As such the duo would be the perfect foils in a healthy adult debate about all matters ecumenical and stuff with some Bishop and womanising alcoholic and former comedian Malcolm Muggeridge.

The Python humour is at the centre of all of this with surreal moments galore which are sent up through out and men playing all the parts. Rufus Jones plays both Terry Jones and Michael Palins wife - without adequate `shaver time'. There are animation sequences to honour Terry Gilliam and a BBC team straight out of `In The Thick of It' with a producer who just wants a BAFTA. There is also a lot of modern satire and clear references to the future through out. Stephen Fry makes a short appearance as God too.

Darren Boyd plays John Cleese as Basil Fawlty and that is on purpose as they insert a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of John Cleese explaining he is nice in real life really. We also have sub titles and scrolling text and a shed load of profanity even the BBC Department for Swear Words gets a mention.

This is for fans of Python, comedy satire and original programming. I loved it and found it totally engrossing, despite a couple of groans it was a welcome breath of fresh air - highly recommended.-, unless you think you are the Messiah that is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - and very funny, 20 Oct. 2011
By 
Skeadugenga (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Holy Flying Circus [DVD] (DVD)
This was shown on BBC4 on 20th October. Try and catch the repeats because this was the funniest and most creative television I've seen since "Green Wing". It doesn't set out to be an accurate recreation of the controversy surrounding "Life of Brian", its more a surreal story which explores some of the elements.

The extras are nice enough, the outtakes are overlong and not that amusing, but the short showing how they created the phonotrope for the opening sequence is fascinating, I'd rather taken it for granted but a closer look shows how detailed and beautiful it is.

Excellent cast, who capture the essence of the characters very well. Very funny and in the spirit of Python, who should be flattered by the tribute.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Holy Flying Circus [DVD]
Holy Flying Circus [DVD] by Owen Harris (DVD - 2012)
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews