Monty Python delivers the group's sharpest and smartest satire of both religion and Hollywood's epic films. Set in 33 A.D. Judea where the exasperated Romans try to impose order, it is a time of chaos and change with no shortage of messiahs and followers willing to believe them. At it's center is Brian Cohen, born in Bethlehem in a stable next door, who, by a series of absurd circumstances is caught up in the new religion and reluctantly mistake for the promised messiah, providing ample opportunity for the entire ensemble (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) to shine in multiple roles as they question everyone and everything from ex-lepers, Pontius Pilate and haggling to revolutionaries, crazy prophets, religious fanaticism, Roman centurions and crucifixion, forever changing our biblical view.
Talk about the full monty—"Monty Python's Flying Circus", that is: A boxed set of 14 DVDs containing all the cerebral wit, slapstick, silly walks, and naughty bits that have made this series a comic classic. Making the deal even sweeter are these DVD extras: Meet the Chaps, a Pythonisms Glossary, Gillianimations Art Gallery, Troupe Career Highlights, trivia, web links, and more. About 24 hours 40 min. on 14 DVDs or 21 cassettes. Also available: "Seasons I-IV." Each is 13 episodes, 6-1/2 hours on 4 DVDs or 6 cassettes. Web Extra: If "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" had been a failure, the Pythons were prepared to split up. Though disputed by the group, it's said that Michael Palin is the "nice Python"—Eric Idle is the "sixth nicest Python.".
While more cautious fans may want to pick and choose among the previously released individual volumes of Monty Python for their collection, true Pythonites will want to own this definitive, 14-volume DVD-only boxed set that contains all 45 episodes (in chronological order) of Monty Python's Flying Circus. This "persistently silly" collection encompasses three-and-a-half seasons of dead parrots, cross-dressing lumberjacks, loonies, upper class twits, and spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, and spam. Click past the occasional clunker and go directly to such signature sketches as the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Spanish Inquisition, the Fish-Slapping Dance, the Dead Parrot Sketch, the Lumberjack Song, the Cheese Shop, the Argument Clinic, and Nudge, Nudge. Taken as a whole, one marvels at how Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam thoroughly subverted television convention with "something completely different," like sketches with no punch lines ("Your average TV viewer isn't going to understand this").
A warning to the uninitiated: there is much "material that some may find offensive, but which is really smashing." Violations of something called the "Strange Sketch Act" are the least of the troupe's offenses, as witness the Oscar Wilde Sketch, the Dirty Vicar Sketch, and the Most Awful Family in Britain Sketch, all of which achieve "the really gross awfulness" all Python fans are looking for. Say no more. --Donald Liebenson