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Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered (2009)

John Cleese , Andrew Sachs  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Prunella Scales
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,236 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Exclusive commentary by John Cleese
  • 2009 extended interviews, including exclusive interview with Connie Booth
  • Accompanying booklet
  • Interviews with John Cleese, Prunella Scales, and Andrew Sachs
  • Series 1 director's commentary by John Howard Davies
  • Series 2 director's commentary by Bob Spiers
  • Artist profiles
  • Outtakes
  • Torquay Tourist Guide (short documentary film)
  • Cheap Tatty Review

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fawlty Towers Remastered Special Edition (DVD)

Basil Fawlty, as created and performed by John Cleese, is the rudest, most boorish, most hilariously obnoxious man on the face of the planet. What a natural for a TV sitcom! His screen wife, Sybil (Prunella Scales), put it best in the episode "The Psychiatrist": "You're either crawling all over them, licking their boots, or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder." He mockingly replies, "Just trying to enjoy myself, dear." With his gangly frame and contortionist abilities, Cleese brilliantly punctuates Basil's outrageous faux pas with absurd gymnastics and turns Three Stooges-style pokes and kicks into a slapstick ballet. Scales's Sybil is the genial but obliviously chatty voice of reason and Andrew Sachs mangles the English language as the Spanish bellhop Manuel, whose struggles with simple directions results in comic lunacy reminiscent of Robert Benigni. After a six-episode run in 1975, Cleese and cowriter and costar Connie Booth (who plays Polly, the maid all too often pulled into Basil's ridiculous plans) reunited the cast in 1979 for another six episodes without missing a punch line. The four-volume collection contains all 12 shows, interspersed with interview segments featuring Cleese discussing the genesis of the series and anecdotes about the individual episodes. Remember to watch the opening credits of each show to spot the creative misspellings on the hotel sign (our favorite: "Fatty Owls"). --Sean Axmaker

Also on the discs
While enjoying your Fawlty Towers holiday, be sure to extend your stay by visiting the deluxe extra features. New to this set are entertaining commentaries by John Cleese, who provides illuminating insights into how these "lovely little farces" were constructed. He expresses genuine affection for the cast and guest stars, is quick to praise exquisite bits of comic business ("This is funnier than I remember"), and is not shy about criticizing his own performance ("I don't think I acted this right"). Also new to this set are newly filmed interviews with Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, and Connie Booth, who offers some great anecdotes about collaborating with her then-husband Cleese and how some memorable gags were created. Donald Sinclair, the real-life rude hotelier who inspired the character of Basil Fawlty, is given his due, but be forewarned you will hear several versions of the Eric Idle ticking suitcase story. Also appearing are notable guest stars, including Bernard Cribbins ("The Hotel Inspectors"), Geoffrey Palmer ("The Kipper and the Corpse"), and David Kelly ("The Builders"), who talk of their experiences on one of television's towering sitcoms. There is also an odd "Cheap Tatty Review." Holdover features from the previously released boxed set include episode commentaries by directors John Howard Davies and Bob Spiers; archival interviews with Cleese, Scales, and Sachs; a short film about Torquay; disappointingly paltry outtakes; and a helpful Who's Who guide to the series' cast and guest stars. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
237 of 242 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the investment October 31, 2009
Having purchased the previous Fawlty Towers complete series on DVD set three years ago, I was skeptical as to whether the "Remastered" version was worth it. I can assure you that it is. John Cleese's hilarious and insightful commentary alone is worth the extra investment. As well, the sound and picture quality are noticeably better, adding to the enjoyment. Highly recommended even if you have previously purchased the series on VHS or DVD. Enjoy!
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332 of 350 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, not Fawlty November 24, 2001
By Shari
Format:VHS Tape
If you've never heard of Fawlty Towers, you are truly missing a classic comedy series. Don't let the fact that it's British humor turn you away either. It's not your typical British sitcom.
Fawlty Towers was a series of 12 episodes made in the 1970's about a hotel in the little town of Torquay, England (pronounced Torkee). The episodes all revolve around the mishaps and misunderstandings and flat out irrational behavior of the hotel owner Basil Fawlty played by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. Cleese does a wonderful job melding physical comedy, sarcasm, and British wit, but of course he doesn't do this alone.
Prunella Scales (former RSC actress) plays Basil's wife Sybil Fawlty while Cleese's wife in real life Connie Booth plays Polly, the hotel maid/receptionist/waitress. Andrew Sachs plays Manuel, the Spanish waiter who does a fabulous job playing opposite Basil Fawlty and aggravating him to the point of frustration. Note that every character at one point in the series explains Manuel's funny behavior with the excuse "He's from Barcelona."
There are a few other regular characters such as the Major who is an old, rather senile war veteran and the two ladies who are also old and rather senile.
As I said earlier, there are 12 episodes. Each one is very original and I never get tired of watching them. The following is a short summary of each of the episodes.
A Touch of Class - Basil places an ad for the hotel to attract upscale clientele. A Lord Melbury makes reservations at the hotel, but he isn't who everyone thinks he is.
The Builders - Basil hires O'Reilly, a cheap Irish builder, to rennovate the hotel, but when he and his wife leave for an outing and Polly leaves Manuel in charge, everything goes wrong.
Read more ›
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219 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Right. I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing!" January 28, 2002
Right. If you want to know precisely what you get on this spectacular set, then read on. If you, however, like the element of surprise, then don't read it and just order it and bite your nails anticipating all the fantastic little...oh, just read the bloody thing!
Here is exactly all the wonderful little bits of fun that await you on the Fawlty Towers complete collection on 3 DVDs:
These are features every disc shares: Main menu options - Play all episodes, Episode selection, Scene selection, Subtitles (English, German, French). Special features: Director's Commentary, Helpful Staff (Bios of main cast), Guest Registry (Bios of other cast members), Trailers - French & Saunders, Father Ted, The League of Gentlemen, Wallace & Gromit, and BBC America.
Disc One - 4 Episodes: A Touch of Class, The Builders, The Wedding Party, and Hotel Inspectors. Special Features: Interview with John Cleese (1), A visit to Torquay (Home of Fawlty Towers), Footage of the Fawlty Towers hotel, Customer Service tips (Clips)
Disc Two - 4 Episodes: Gourmet Night, The Germans, Communication Problems, and The Psychiatrist. Special Features: Interview with Cleese (2), Interview with Andrew Sachs (Manuel), How to manage your staff (clips)
Disc Three - 4 Episodes: Waldorf Salad, The Kipper and the Corpse, The Anniversary, and Basil the Rat. Interview with Cleese (3), Interview with Prunella Scales (Sybil), Out-takes, Tips for a successful marriage (clips)
Things I learned from Fawlty Towers:
1. One nail isn't strong enough to hang a giant moose head on your wall.
2. When your car doesent work, sometimes it helps to attack it with a tree branch.
3. If you take a guest breakfast in bed and speak to him and he does not move or speak back to you - he may be dead.
4. A burglar alarm and a fire alarm sound quite a lot alike.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Manger's Faulty? What's Wong With Him? December 3, 2002
"Fawlty Towers", for those who have somehow not been exposed to it, is simply the most glorious example of the farce ever to be committed to television. "Monty Python"'s John Cleese is Basil Fawlty, a snobbish, rude owner of a small hotel in Torquay. On staff are his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) - a gregarious woman with the most amazing laugh in television history, receptionist Polly (Cleese's wife Connie Booth) - probably the only staff member with an ounce of common sense, and Manuel (the incomparable Andrew Sachs) - a Spanish waiter with severely limited English. Of the guests, Ballard Berkely delivers a wonderful performance as the not-quite-there Major.
Each episode deals with Basil's various problems at the hotel, problems which he never fails to make much worse by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, leaving Manuel in charge or generally being himself. The laughs ramp up to fever pitch very rapidly and each episode ends with rapturous cheers from the studio audience. There were only ever 12 episodes recorded of this classic series, but each one has incredible quality. As Cleese explains in part of his interview, attempting to equal the highlights of each series just got too much for the writers and performers.
Here is a quick summary of the premise of each episode and what to watch for:
"A Touch of Class" - this was the first episode ever recorded and deals with Basil's attempt at attracting "a better sort of clientele" to the hotel. Watch for Basil's changing attitudes toward Lord Melbury and the man in the biker jacket, while the standout scene is Basil's seating of Lord Melbury "in his usual seat" in the dining room. Best line: "A lemon squash, a gin and orange and a scotch and water please.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best funniest sitcom of all time. Hands down. Cleese and cast are brilliant.
Published 8 hours ago by Len
5.0 out of 5 stars A must own for any John Cleese fan
I could do so many classic quotes from this series, but I wont. A must have for and John Cleese fan, The only down side was this was such a short lived series. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
As funny today as it was I years ago
Published 3 days ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars Check in at Fawlty Towers in lovely Torquay
Dont know how much more you can say. John Cleese is a tour de force as a snooty,nosey and utterly belligerent hotelier on the "English Riviera" in this 12 episode drama... Read more
Published 4 days ago by gary hirel
5.0 out of 5 stars best comedy in history of
Doesn't need my review, best comedy in history of humankind
Published 7 days ago by John Shepardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved watching this on pbs
Published 8 days ago by sootshouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item as described.
Published 14 days ago by Penny Colley
5.0 out of 5 stars I have always loved faulty towers & now I can watch them when ...
I have always loved faulty towers & now I can watch them when I want. Looking forward to getting more British programs.
Published 15 days ago by Judy Frederick
4.0 out of 5 stars As described
Great gift for my father in law
Published 17 days ago by Charles G. Topping
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 21 days ago by G. Books
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Topic From this Discussion
Any big improvement over the previous set?
The only notable improvements are the extended interviews and some tweaking to the picture and sound quality. I own the original set as well and it's comparable, so I wouldn't be in any rush to get this if you already have the first set.
Oct 21, 2009 by Ben Rowland |  See all 6 posts
Benny Hill considered funnier than Monty Python by two TV stations Be the first to reply
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