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Double-dip is warranted
on January 30, 2008
I suspect most fans of this film and Monty Python in general already own a copy on DVD. The bonus features in this new double-disc edition definitely make it worth the repeat buy. Most of the features from the Criterion edition (two commentary tracks, five deleted scenes, radio ads) are here. (The nice 1979 BBC documentary "The Pythons" is the only feature from the Criterion version missing from this new set.)
The new hour-long documentary included with this edition is worth the purchase alone. All five surviving Pythons are interviewed and offer a lot of insight into the film, from its conception, to the controversy surrounding its opening (in the US and in the UK), to its lasting standing as the Pythons' greatest work. (Yes, I know, many fans like "Grail" even more.) I'm always pleased to see up-to-date interviews with the team, now all in their sixties.
The other significant feature is an audio reading of the original script, recorded with all six members several months before filming began. This is much more enjoyable and watchable than you might expect, illustrated onscreen with storyboard drawings and script pages. The reading is 20 minutes longer than the film, and you hear some bits that never made it past this stage.
And the film itself, of course, is a treasure. A hysterically funny, yet thought-provoking satire whose target is group-think in general, and not merely religion or superstition.