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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The silliest story ever told, 18 Sep 2013
This review is from: Monty Python's Life of Brian [DVD] [1979] [2007] (DVD)
Brian Cohen is a Jew and, born under a wandering star, it seems he is destined to be mistaken, from the manger to the grave, for The Messiah. It also turns out that, courtesy of his mother's liason with a gentleman by the name of Nortius Maximus, he is a Woman. Sorry, a Roman. Still, you've got to look on the bright side, haven't you?

LoB is, without any question, the best thing that the Pythons ever did. Their TV sketch series has aged badly, Monty Python And The Holy Grail was an epic Arthurian comedy-drama badly let down by a lame-duck ending, and The Meaning of Life was a silver-screen mish-mash of loosely connected sketches of varying quality - some brilliant, some very wide of the mark. Brian, by contrast, is almost flawless; it looks a million dollars (well, £3m), it's laugh out loud funny, it's crammed to the gunwales with classic scenes, lines and comedy set-pieces, and it has a clear and unequivocal message.

Sadly, but hardly surprisingly, that message is still being missed today as some of the interviews in the Making Of documentary demonstrate. LoB is not an attack on Christ, nor even on the central tenets of any particular religion. It is simply poking fun at blind, unquestioning, dogmatic belief. The best example of how life followed art was the way in which the film was vilified and in many cases banned before anyone had actually seen it. One council member is interviewed about his decision to ban the film from cinemas in his district; "This is precisely the sort of thing we don't want in this town."* "Have you seen it?" "No." "Do you know what's in it?" "No." "Do you know anything about the organisation who has told you that you should ban it?" "No." Nuff said really.

Back to the film itself; it is not only the pinnacle of Python, but it is one of the best comedies of the 20th Century and is, as a bonus, a sumptuous biblical epic (the film crew had the set of Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth to work with). But a don't take my word for it, make your own mind up. After all, you're all different.

The Immaculate Edition includes a heavenly host of extras, including an insightful documentary and deleted scenes. The best bits are easily missed, however: the radio ads for the show, done by Michael Palin's Dentist, and the mothers of Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese are hilarious.

* I'm paraphrasing.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Sep 2013 10:21:01 BDT
S Riaz says:
Totally agree with your review and might be tempted to get this for the extras. It also contains a cameo appearance by George Harrison, but blink and you almost miss him!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2013 10:38:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Sep 2013 10:38:52 BDT
Crookedmouth says:
"ullo!" :-)

If it's cameos you like, Spike Milligan's is a beauty. Apparently he just wandered onto the set one day and got shanghaied for a scene. But when the time came to film the close-ups, he'd wandered off the set and wasn't seen again.

Posted on 18 Sep 2013 11:10:32 BDT
E. L. Wisty says:
"you're all different"

I'm not.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2013 11:11:32 BDT
Crookedmouth says:
Shh!

Posted on 18 Sep 2013 16:14:14 BDT
S Riaz says:
I think one of my favourite cameos was when Brian Blessed was grabbed while recording at the BBC to appear on Blake's 7 - he is wearing a long robe and trainers :)

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2013 16:23:36 BDT
Crookedmouth says:
Ah! Blake's 7! Such memories... mostly of Servalan, I have to say. And Brian B is not the sort of personality you could relegate to a cameo role, is he?
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