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Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story (2006)

Steve Coogan , Gillian Anderson , Michael Winterbottom  |  R |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Price: $13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Coogan, Gillian Anderson, Jeremy Northam
  • Directors: Michael Winterbottom
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EOTFBW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,891 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Extended interview with Steve Coogan conducted by Tony Wilson (24 Hour Party People)
  • Deleted scenes
  • Scene extensions
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Michael Winterbottom is no stranger to literary adaptation. Both Jude and The Claim were drawn from works by Thomas Hardy. Nor is the versatile filmmaker a stranger to the post-modern romp, like 24 Hour Party People. In that paean to Manchester’s music scene, Steve Coogan was Factory honcho Tony Wilson. In Winterbottom's take on Laurence Sterne's digressive The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the prolific helmer combines literature with lunacy and brings Coogan back as the titular character--and then some. Coogan doesn’t just portray the 18th century squire, but his father Walter and insecure actor "Steve Coogan." It's a film about the making of a film, effortlessly shifting between Tristram’s tumultuous birth and his frustrated adulthood--bogged down in the writing of his life story--and between fiction and (what appears to be) fact. There are no end to the worries on and off the set: Coogan worries his heels aren't high enough, Rob Brydon worries his teeth are too yellow, and Coogan's girlfriend (Kelly Macdonald) worries she isn't seeing enough of him. It may sound like Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, but in spirit, it more closely resembles Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones. Coogan and his co-stars, particularly Naomie Harris as the ultimate film nut, Gillian Anderson as the American brought in to boost the project's profile, and Brydon as Tristram’s Uncle Toby are as game for the challenge as their fearless leader. Consequently, Tristram Shandy isn’t just one of Winterbottom’s best films--it's one of the year’s best. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Michael Winterbottom?s TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY is a rollicking, inventive adaptation of the notoriously unfilmable British comic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, written by Laurence Sterne. Crammed with literary jokes and dark humor, and aided by stellar performances by Jeremy Northam, Rob Brydon and Naomie Harris, Shandy?s warped tales reveal far more about himself than any conventional autobiography.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Extended takes
Interviews
Theatrical Trailer


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very different, and very funny April 16, 2006
Format:DVD
Forget most of what you've read about this movie. It is not postmodern, nor "Pythonesqe", nor any of the other adjectives I've read in user reviews. What it is is a very intelligent, and very different piece of filmmaking that is quite unlike anything you've ever seen. If I had to compare it to any movie in recent history, I'd say it's a bit like "Adaptation", but that film was crude and heavy handed in comparison to "Tristram Shandy". It's also a bit like "This Is Spinal Tap" in the deadpan way it presents some very silly parody.

Imagine a Merchant-Ivory costume drama in which the principal actor suddenly stops, turns to the camera, and tells a Groucho Marx story, And imagine that part way through an increasingly confusing narrative, that keeps movinng forward and back, in fits and starts, the camera abruptly pulls back, and we see a film being made.

From that point on, "Tristram" becomes the story of the attempt to make a film from a very difficult to film novel, with a very difficult cast. The lead hasn't read the book, and is consumed with petty jealosies concerning the main supporting actor. The producers don't want to put any more money into it. And it just gets sillier, and sillier- while never quite falling into slapstick.

In point of fact, as conditions around the film get sillier, the lives of the main characters become more complicated, and consumed by some very serious issues. And yet everything slowly comes togethers, a few people learn a few lessons, and a film is made... although no one seems to ber very pleased with the results. And then, as the credits are rolling, the two main actors are debating acting techniques, in what may be the funniest scene of the entire film.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired modern classic March 6, 2006
By S. King
Format:DVD
Brilliant modern take on an early novel. The director captures the premise of the novel: that life is chaos by setting the film in the past and present at once. Brilliant concept and execution. I didn't know what to expect, but thoroughly enjoyed the film and it's cleverness, it's inspired direction and editing and some stellar performances. A joy to watch.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, funny film about film October 5, 2006
Format:DVD
"Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" reminded me a bit of an Altman film--it's a story within a story about a novel being filmed--but it's really about the chaos of life. It has a bit of a amateur film feel about it, that draws one into the middle of the making of the film. The film opens with a vignette about the vanity of actors--are my teeth too yellow? do I look good with a big nose? should I get a chin tuck? am I too short? Characters move in and out, and it's not always clear who is who--the agent, the nosy journalist, the moneymen (and women), the history expert, the girlfriend, the pretty assistant, the babies. Some scenes are truly hysterical--all you need to know is that almost all of the Sterne novel happens before the narrator is born, and the filming of the birth is hilarious. This film is not for linear plot types, or those who are bothered by heavy British accents or mumbled dialog. It's sly, quirky--but I liked it much more than I expected to!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tristram Coogan August 18, 2006
Format:DVD
How do you film a story about telling a story? You nest it in a film about making a film, then bring in elements from the offscreen life of its star, Steve Coogan, until you've created this Russian doll effect, each story distinct but similar in shape. It's a great idea, but the film works a little too hard at being clever, and some powerful questions about celebrity, autobiography, and the nature of stories take a back seat to making the next witty narrative jump. Coogan and his co-star Rob Brydon are enjoyable to watch, and there's a winning low-key quality to the production that makes you feel like you're on the set watching everyone make it up as they go along. I wish more movies took risks like this, even though I found myself admiring it more than enjoying it.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:DVD
To fully appreciate Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, most viewers who haven't read the famous Laurence Stern novel upon which the film is loosely based, will at least need to have an idea of its concept. But I cannot envisage getting into this film with no foreknowledge of both the novel and Steve Coogan's irreverent brand of comedy.

The tone is light-hearted and witty, and the performances are very good, and the period induced first half is an absolute riot, but Michael Winterbottom's latest film might be a bit elitist for most, depending a little too much on parallels to the classic book's structure and the fashionable imprint of Coogan's celebrity. It all presupposes that you're part of the "in" club and familiar with the humor to actually get the joke.

Anyway, for those of us who appreciate films that impertinently skewer the classics of English Literature the Tristram Shandy is mostly a real treat. The film begins with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in makeup, arguing over the colour of Rob's teeth and whether Brydon's part is a "co-lead" or a supporting role.

Coogan is supposed to be the title character, which makes him, supposedly, the star of the picture, but as the story progresses, he becomes increasingly concerned that his star wattage is being taken away from him. But I digress - the first half of the movie involves Tristram's birth as the movie constantly flips backwards and forwards with his father (played by Coogan) trying to meticulously plan his conception, birth and life. Shirley Henderson does a marvelous turn here as a maid trying to get everyone to focus on the birth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Low key humor
Love the humor, low key and British. And it is shot in Quenby Hall, one of the most beautiful houses in England.
Published 5 months ago by richard spain
5.0 out of 5 stars A "typical" movie
The movie deserves a 5--one of the most intelligent and funny experiments in film in many years, adapting a novel that is nearly unclassifiable. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Donald F. Larsson
2.0 out of 5 stars Whatever
I got this on the strength of The Trip and loved Steve Coogan in this also but the basic story was uninteresting. Read more
Published 7 months ago by My Mother Was An Astrologer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny film about human weaknesses
I found this film to be hilarious. It is first and foremost a comedy about making a movie based upon the life of Tristram Shandy in the 17th century. Read more
Published 7 months ago by C. B Collins Jr.
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip but watch the final three minutes when some puts that on Youtube
Dull story with English funny man Steve Coogan about making a movie of the unfilmable novel, Tristam Shandy. Had one sort of laugh in 95 minutes of film. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Patrick J. Brunet
1.0 out of 5 stars Admirable undertaking ruined by obnoxious actors
Although I admire the intention of this movie, its execution is ruined for me by its very annoying stars and a director who indulges their excesses. Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Martin
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I sorry, it just wasn't funny except when he asked someone to put hot coals in his britches, I roared at that but otherwise it just dragged on and on
Published 15 months ago by Tricia Vestal
4.0 out of 5 stars More Clever Than Funny
I'm sure anyone who has ever worked on a big budget movie set has seen things exactly like this. Everything is exaggerated so the universal truths of creative people can be... Read more
Published 16 months ago by mr. contrarian
3.0 out of 5 stars It sounded good, but I couldn't get into it
I was recently watching some Michael Winterbottom movie, and after checking on some of his other movies, I fell upon this one, based on a novel that was/is considered to be... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paul Allaer
3.0 out of 5 stars The Trip was better
I saw this after seeing, and thoroughly enjoying, 2010's The Trip, also starring Coogan and Brydon. Tristram Shandy was amusing at times, but I wouldn't say it's worth the price. Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by Kimberly Colley
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