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A&E Home Video presents
Monty Python's Flying Circus: Set Six—Volume 11 (1972)

"But my strong feeling in the third series was that we'd really run out of original momentum... Almost everything else (besides "Dennis Moore" and "The Cheese Shop") I could point to and say, "This derives from that." And unless you're short of money, I don't see the point of doing that, it isn't interesting."
- John Cleese, from David Morgan's book, Monty Python Speaks!

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: May 20, 2000

Stars: John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin
Other Stars: Carol Cleveland
Director: Ian McNaughton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, adult themes, full-frontal nudity)
Run Time: approx. 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: May 02, 2000
UPC: 733961700855
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-B-C+ C+

DVD Review

As Graham's alcoholism grows worse, Cleese's boredom grows as well. The group gets more derisive, the two sides of the brain growing more disparate. The results are obvious.

"Lemon Curry?"
-A host of characters

Disc#11
Episode 33: Salad Days

Recorded: 01/07/72
Aired: 11/30/72

This episode contains these sketches: "The Adventures of Biggles: Biggles Dictates a letter," Gilliam's building crash, "Assault on Uxbridge Road," 24 Parker Street visa vi the New Haven Lifeboat, "Storage Jars," an animation whereby a TV assaults the watcher's eyes, "The Show So Far," "The Cheese Shop," "Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days."

This episode is hit and miss, and does not capture the earlier sense of discovery and edginess until the very end during the blood-spurting "Salad Days" Peckinpah sendup. Even the Cheese Shop that is classic Cleese and Palin, feels repetitive. Yet there are enough amusing moments to carry it through. The adventurous lifeboat sequence (during which many of the cast—including Jones—became ill), and the Conversation-like aspect of the Pepperpots watching their neighbors' comings and goings are amusing, but not gut clenching funny. A solid, but ordinary effort here.

Strongest Moment(s): The Cheese shop sketch, always a crowd favorite, although no cheese exists in the shop—another wonderful Palin and Cleese retail exchange. But how can one deny the Peckinpah sendup, "Salad Days."

Weakest Moment(s): Like people who disguise a strength as a weakness at a job interview, I offer up stuffing a chicken with a cat.

Episode rating: 3 dead parrots out of 5.




"It got caught in my sock."
-Mr. Pithers (Michael Palin)

Episode 34: The Cycling Tour

Recorded: 05/04/72
Aired: 12/07/72

This episode contains this sketch: The Cycling Tour.

This episode notes Python's first real attempt at the long form, having experimented earlier, but never carrying it full out across an entire episode. Here Pithers (Palin) is an accident riding a bicycle across the countryside, and his strange meetings with people along the way. When Mr. Gulliver (Jones) has an accident while driving Pithers and his smashed bike, Gulliver first thinks himself a famed British girl singer, then Leon Trotsky. When Trotsky returns to Moscow, Pithers is kidnapped by the secret police and taken to a communist clambake. After several failed execution attempts by the poor shot Russian army, Eartha Kitt (Jones) chased by a marauding crowd of Russkies [middle of sentence missing], and everyone goes on happily ever after.

Strongest Moment(s): This exchange between Palin and Cleese (who has just lost his fiancé (Cleveland) because of the cyclist:

Cleese: "Would you like me to show you the door?"
Palin: "That's very nice,sir, but I saw it on the way in.".

Weakest Moment(s): The slapstick aspect of the hospital where everything is falling off the walls or apart.

Episode rating: 3 dead parrots out of 5.




"For one pound I'll leave this sketch totally uninterrupted."

Episode 35: The Nude Organist

Recorded: 05/11/72
Aired: 12/14/72

This episode contains these sketches: The incompetent Scottish hijacker, The nude organist interviewed, 10 seconds of sex, apartment complexes built by characters from nineteenth century English literature and El Mystico, the hypnotist, accidental hangings, the mortuary, a wonderfully young Gilliam breaks the fourth wall and includes himself in an animated sketch, Olympic Hide-and-Seek, keeping up with the Cheap-Laughs, "Probe" takes on the topic of bullfighting, animations of trees growing through space introducing the interplanetary probe, Algon I,

This episode contains several platitudes about split-crotch panties...where can one go wrong? Well, from the amusing opening hijacking sketch starring Eric Idle and his wordplay aplomb, the episode hits more valleys than peaks. The amusements are mere rumblings, and nothing really stands out—other than Gilliam's playful animation and the parts of the Hide-and-Seek competition. This may be the weakest show of the entire series, and one may be glad that the end is nigh.

Strongest Moment(s): Gilliam's breaking of the fourth wall. The moment of realization that the Hide-and-Seek competition is a tie.

Weakest Moment(s): Most of the show—headed up by the mortuary—there's only so much and so often you can listen to Palin stutter.

Episode rating: 1.5 dead parrots out of 5.


Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The samne basically holds true of this set as with the others, with the exception that the quality of outdoor scenes begins to catch up to the superior quality of the studio shot scenes. Still, specks of dirt, scratches, nicks and bruises abound...but in all are not as bad as the bruised humor.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access


Audio Transfer Review: Again, the audio is nothing to write home to mother about, but perfectly suitable for dropping eave on the Pepperpots and their wacky friends. Center balanced and well-rendered the dialogue is, with few minor hisses and buzzing to drive the dogs crazy.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: double

Extra Extras:
  1. Useless tidbits
  2. Gillianimations
  3. Pythonsims
  4. Sketch previews
  5. DVD-ROM web access to Pythonshop.com
Extras Review: The usual suspects are here: the "Loony Bin" contains several nice features including cast and crew bios (Meet the Chaps), A dictionary of Pythonisms, "Gillianimation from show #5 (with full frontal nudity), a clip from the "Olympics" sketch from Monty Python's Fliegenders Zirkus, "Explosive Situations" contains the "Exploding Penguin on the TV" sketch from show #22, the "Bombing" sketch from show #44, "Exploding version of the Blue Danube" sketch from show #26, and "How not to be seen sketch" sketch from show #24, and DVD-ROM web access to Pythonshop.com.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Unfortunately, this disc suffers by virtue of its location in the Python timeline. Still there are some fun bits that make it worthwhile; certainly for the hardcore fans it's still a must have.

 


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