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Monty Python's Flying Circus - Set 7 (Epi. 40-45)
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2000
These are the last six episodes of the series (episode 45 *will* be included in this set though it doesn't say so here. The first two episodes of this season ("The Golden Age of Ballooning" and "Michael Ellis") are easily the weakest two episodes of the entire series, but the later episodes, including Mr.Neutron (one of my favorite Graham Chapman characters), are pretty good, and the final episode, featuring The Most Awful Family in Britain, ranks with the some of the best episodes from the first three seasons. Overall, this is for the completist, and casual fans should stick with the first three seasons. Also worth noting: these are the six episodes John Cleese does not appear in.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2000
There is a tendency to dismiss these final 6 eps as lower in quality than the 3 seasons that preceded it. My personal recollection (from the days when MPFC played on American public television) followed that, perhaps because of the absence of John Cleese (by far the most famous Python here in the U.S., then as now).
But Cleese's departure didn't so much drag the humor down, as jolt Python out of a remarkable balance of styles that had served them well. The result is a very different breed of Python: the sketches are much longer, and often a single story thread predominates - though the longer narratives still exist to hang sketches on (anticipating the structure of their next two films). They are also much more surreal; the logic (twisted though it was) of Cleese and Chapman's collaborative efforts now gives way to Jones and Palin's flights of fancy.
Well, okay, but is it *funny*? Absolutely - my memory of these episodes didn't do them justice at all. Sure, the stuff I always loved was still there: Golden Age of Ballooning, Anything Goes, the Queen Victoria Handicap - but even the stuff that had me scratching my head in the past (e.g., the entire Michael Ellis and Mr. Neutron episodes) worked surprisingly well for me. And Terry Gilliam (who appears onscreen much more here than in the previous seasons) had me gasping for breath with his part in "The Most Awful Family in Britain"! BEEEANS!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2000
Maybe I'm weird too, but Mr. Neutron has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV (and this is a full 30 minute sketch). If I was to recommend a single MPFC episode to someone it would be this one. As the U.S. military chief says after bombing London..."Do we have any statistics on how scared they are?".
The Michael Ellis episode is also very funny and surreal (also a full 30 minute sketch).
The Golden Age of Ballooning is excellent.
The Most Awful Family in Britain speaks for itself...hope you like beans.
All in all an excellent set.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
When the second season ended for "Monty Python's Flying Circus," John Cleese announced he had had enough, but he was talked into a third season. The fourth season came to pass without him and the effect was not all that good, as you can tell from the A&E release of the very last six Monty Python episodes: <Monty Python's Flying Circus, Set 7> (AAE 70088).
Some of the six try to stretch a single idea into a full show. The first concerns the Montgolfier Brothers and "The Golden Age of Ballooning" and falls flat. The second is the best of all with the classic "Michael Ellis" sketch and comes as close to Kafka as this show ever did. The Court Martial sequence in the third, however, comes very close to pornography but makes up for it with the wonderful "Anything Goes" (not the Cole Porter one) lyrics.
The "Bogus Psychiatrists" of the fourth merely repeats a formula done many times in the past, as does the "Mr. Neutron" sketch in the fifth. The latter, though, does have the hilarious bit of Master CIA Agent Teddy Salad disguised as a dog. The very last show gives us a bloody cricket match that is still not as gory as the "Salad Days" sketch from an earlier season. At the end, it was Eric who put thumbs down on a fifth season--and the show passed into history.
For those who own the other sets, this is a must for the sake of completeness. Cleese is missed but the others--Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, et al--are in top form. The menu system of the DVD is just as complicated as were all the others and at times it really is difficult to find your way into the episode. Still the ability to directly access your favorite parts (even the naughty ones) is a great advantage over having these shows on videotape. The added features are not particularly exciting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2001
While John is not in these last 6 episodes, the others take a different turn, making some of the most twiztid (and my personal favorite) humour ever seen by BBC audiences. This is not a set for people not familiar with Monty Python. Those people should buy one of the first two seasons. However, if you LOVE Monty, then you'll probably love these last episodes. The memorable episodes are:
The golden Age of Ballooning, Michael Ellis(my favorite of the last six shows), The Light Entertainment War, Hamlet, Mr. Neutron (very funny, I love Teddy Salad, and Conjuring Today), and the final episode Party Political Brodcast.
If you like Monty, you'll still love 'em without Cleese.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2001
The forth series of Python is essentially the only moment when the performances outweigh the script. Terribly under-written episodes like THE GOLDEN AGE OF BALLOONING do feature some excellent performances, like the embarrassed pauses between Palin 's psuedo-French King and Idle. There are still some classic bits of writing, but they seem stranded between vast slabs of underwriten tripe. Highlights include the Most Awful Family in Britain (particulary Gilliam's bean-eater), the Courtmartial sequence in the third episode, and the wonderfully exaggerated Banter sketch. Sketches like these make the videos worth buying alone (just fast-forward throught the other sketches...)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2000
This may not be the best collection of episodes, but Mr. Neutron kills me. "I can eat vast quanities of ice cream" They nailed the US General and the extreme madness of the CIA. Not all that far from reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2000
The only reason that people might this particular season isn't as good as all the others is because John Cleese is gone. There is, however, in a special section of the DVD called the "Loony Bin" where you can see John Cleese do an especially funny bit. (I think this part was filmed for their 30th anniversary last year.)
My favorite episode in this package is "The Light Entertainment War," which contains such sketches as "Woody and Tinny Words," and a delightful rendition of "Anything Goes" that Cole Porter obviously didn't write. I also loved the sketch with the stupid TV programmers, and Michael Palin's German Louis XVI.
All in all, not as good as its predecessors, but I enjoyed it just the same.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
Maybe I'm weird, but I actually think "Michael Ellis" and "The Golden Age of Ballooning" are two of the funniest Python episodes of all -- and they're in this set. Everyone seems to sneer at the later episodes, but I think they're even more surreal than the earlier stuff.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2000
While in a final season, "ze goofy funsters" are still as creative as ever. Cleese is notably missing in silly action, however, his creativity is not. He is factually credited with "additional blank verse" in episode 43, "Hamlet", which for me is the epitome of Pythonic silliness, from bogus psychiatry to Palin's helmet-fixated Bobby to a bargain piston engine. The last episodes are characterized by show-length sketches, and is the ONLY season when the shows were aired in the order that they were recorded (why Idle suddenly appears as the linkman in #2!). Nonetheless, a priceless, timeless, and an essential peice of blatant stock film of women applauding. (that two-second clip was found in the BBC archives, and no-one knew why it was there in the first place)
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