MONTY PYTHON LIVE!
Review by Michael Jacobson
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones,
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 270 Minutes
a typical Hollywood audience! All
the kids are on drugs, and all the adults are on roller skates!”
Monty Python took over the Hollywood Bowl back in 1982, it was a terrific
triumph for the bad boys from Britain, blending new and old material into a
comedy show that had the audience howling.
Yet Live at the Hollywood Bowl is only ONE of FOUR programs on
A&E’s double disc offering Monty Python Live!
in disc one, and you’ll be treated to the legendary live show, where Pythons
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin ran
amuck on the stage (and off), peppered with film clips and Gilliam’s
incomparable imagination. Even old
favorites like “The Lumberjack Song” and “The Argument Clinic” feel
fresh in the live setting. Other
favorites include “The Philosophers Song” sung by the Australian Bruces, the
Pope confronting Michelangelo over his artistic license with the Last Supper,
and skits that brought the fellows off the stage and into the audience, much to
the delight of the crowd.
a great live show, especially for the die-hard Python fans, but as mentioned,
it’s only the start. Disc one
also features “Live at Aspen”, a Comedy Festival tribute to the team filmed
in 1998 and featuring host Robert Klein. It’s
filled with memories, vintage clips and laughs galore, including late troupe
member Graham Chapman…well, making an ash of himself.
second disc starts off with one of my all time favorite Python videos, Parrot
Sketch Not Included. It’s a
wonderfully assembled collection of some of the best moments from Monty
Python’s Flying Circus. You’ll
see “The Ministry of Silly Walks”, “Spam”, “The Spanish
Inquisition”, “The Fish Slapping Dance”, and much more…except, of
course, for the Parrot Sketch (truth in advertising).
but not least, the second disc features Monty Python’s first ever show written
and performed for German television…in German, with original subtitles.
It’s 45 minutes of both new and translated material with no laugh
tracks, and is a real treat, especially if you’ve never seen cows performing The
Merchant of Venice.
has been doing a great service to fans of Python and DVD by making the original Flying
Circus episodes available, not to mention the very good double disc set
documentary set Life of Python. Monty
Python Live may be their crowning achievement.
Any one of these programs would be worth buying on DVD, in my
opinion…to have all four together in one special set is quite a treat for fans
of this legendary comedy team
quality is kind of hard to judge, given the various source materials involved in
compiling this two disc set. Live
at the Hollywood Bowl was originally filmed on video and transferred to
film, and that’s pretty much what it looks like…DVD doesn’t help much.
The Aspen special, which is the most recent, looks much better, with more
natural coloring and better detail. Parrot
Sketch is again a hodgepodge of source materials, and considering the age
and rarity, the German episode looks quite good.
Overall, it’s good enough, and Python fans should be content.
with the audio, how does one judge? Hollywood
Bowl didn’t have the best sound recording to begin with, though the
dialogue (and therefore, the jokes) are clear enough. Everything
else fares better, but overall, the sound is perfectly suitable…just not
disc has a small handful of extras…disc one contains filmographies for the
troupe member’s post-Python work, plus a printed dictionary of Python-isms (to
impress your friends). Both discs
feature a short collection of brief Circus skits called “Bleeding
Critics”, some of which are quite amusing.
Disc two contains a few more of these skits under the name “Confusing
Musings”. Each disc contains the
same animated menus a la Terry Gilliam with sound.