The Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus and Live at Aspen [DVD]
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Box set of the seminal comedy show. 'Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Best of - Volume 1' contains all the best sketches from the first series of the ground-breaking comedy. Memorable moments include: 'The 127th Upperclass Twit of the Year Competition from Hurlingham Park'; 'Bicycle Repair Man'; 'Vicious Gangs of Old Ladies - the Layabouts in Lace'; 'The Man with Three Buttocks'; 'The Lumberjack Song'; 'Vocational Guidance Councillor'; and 'The Joke That Kills People'. Oh, and a sketch about a dead parrot. 'Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Best of - Volume 2' features highlights from the second series. Sketches include: 'It's in the Mind'; 'The New Cooker Sketch'; 'Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition'; and 'The Ministry for Silly Walks'. 'Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Best of - Volume 3' features the best moments from the third and fourth series. Highlights include: 'The Finals of the All-England Summarise Proust Competition'; 'Stand and Deliver! It's That Highwayman Dennis Moore'; 'Thrust: A Quite Controversial Look at the World Around Us'; 'Whicker's Island'; and 'The Fifteenth Ideal Loon Competition'. In 'Monty Python's Flying Circus: Live at Aspen', those members of the team still extant - John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam - are joined by the ashes of their late colleague, Graham Chapman, for a special evening at the US Comedy Arts Festival, Aspen, recorded in October 1998. The Pythons discuss the effect that their work has had on subsequent comedy shows with presenter Robert Klein, who intersperses the conversation with film clips and sketches.
The Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus will probably be purchased mostly for the standards--those sketches that have become the staple material of every office joker and pub bore in Christendom--the Spanish Inquisition, the Australian philosophers, the Ministry of Silly Walks. Good fun though these are, once you've expunged the memory of a million witless impersonators, this collection is really worth owning for the material that never quite registered in the popular consciousness. Sketches such as the Summarise Proust Competition, the misunderstanding over the Hungarian phrasebook and John Cleese's manically embittered architect with a grudge against the Freemasons are every bit as funny as the more familiar hits and, free of any associated baggage, they will startle and delight the younger viewer as much as Python must have startled and delighted their parents when first broadcast in the 1970s.
On the DVD: The Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus is a three-disc set, and each volume is equipped with a sketch selector that is fussier than strictly necessary. But this is more than compensated for by the wonderful Terry Gilliam animations that the viewer uses to navigate. Subtitles are available in English only. --Andrew Mueller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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None of this is particualarly a reflection of the quality of the material - which is excellent - and if you're just interested in having the best known sketches then this is ideal - however for those of us who want the whole lot on DVD this is at best a stop-gap.
Also worth noting that the three compilation discs seem to have been sourced from the original PAL video master tapes of the shows, so the quality – sound and image – is exceedingly good. Shame same can't be said for the series-by-series DVD issues, the quality of which looked like they'd been originated from intermediate masters made for the old VHS issues. What's more, there are extended versions of at least two Series 4 sketches - i.e., extra bits (only maybe 10-15 seconds) that were not included in the edit of the original shows as broadcast; again these Python finds are not flagged-up on the packaging blurbs, and have not been well highlighted in reviews.
Being a compilation of the best moments from the series it features such classics as 'Hells Grannies', 'Dead Parrots', 'Spanish Inquisition' and of course 'Ministry of Silly Walks'.
This limited edition Box-Set contains 4 DVDs in total, The Best of Monty Python volumes 1-3 each lasting well over an hour, and the fourth DVD features the Pythons live at Aspen filmed in 1998 where the team discuss and perform their favourite sketches. It was the first time in 18 years that all the Python's had appeared on stage together (the late Graham Chapman making his appearance in an urn).
A great comedy DVD set to own for any real comedy lover and at a fantastic price from Amazon, contains over 5 and half hours.
Hope my review helped someone.
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