Monty Python: Live

Monty Python: Live (2001)
A&E Home Video
Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Extras: Cast Filmographies, Glossary

’Monty Python Live!’ has come to DVD… and there was much rejoicing. This two-disc set from A&E Home Video should thrill and delight the Python completist. Disc One includes 1982’s ’Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl’. This concert film shows the Python cast performing some of the best-known skits from the ’Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ TV show, and some brand-new material as well. It’s very interesting to see this finely-tuned comedy machine going at it uncensored and without ’safety-net’. Also on Disc One is ’Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Live at Aspen’ (AKA ’US Comedy Arts Festival Tribute to Monty Python’) from 1998. Hosted by Robert Klein, this includes retrospective clips and a dialogue with the five remaining members of the group. As with ’Hollywood Bowl’, it’s great to see these guys improvise in front of a live audience.

The second-disc in this set opens with 1989’s ’Parrot Sketch Not Included: 20 Years of Python’. Steve Martin hosts this special, which is comprised primarily of clips from the ’Flying Circus’ show. Martin is very funny here, but Python fans will have already seen most of this footage. The first three segments of this set have been available before in various incarnations, but the second feature on Disc Two ’Fliegender Zirkus’ is a DVD exclusive. This is a special episode of ’Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ which was produced specifically for German television. It includes many old favorites translated into German, as well as some totally new material.

As ’Monty Python Live!’ contains many different features, the video quality varies greatly. ’Hollywood Bowl’ is somewhat grainy and there are obvious defects from the source print, while ’Live at Aspen’ is presented in broadcast-quality video. Also, the various clips from the ’Flying Circus’ show demonstrate varying degrees of video quality. The Dolby Digital Stereo sound is consistent throughout, offering nicely audible dialogue, with no hint of hiss or distortion. Of course, the newer segments sound somewhat better than the older material.

This DVD set contains filmographies for the Monty Python cast, demonstrating where they appeared outside of the familiar Python material. Also, there is a glossary of ’Pythonisms’, for those perplexed by their strange lingo. The DVD also contains additional segments from the ’Flying Circus’ programs under the titles ’Bleeding Critics’ and ’Confusing Musings’. Again, this comprehensive set is a must for any Python fan.