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The Nearly Complete MPFC.....,
This review is from: The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus (DVD)
I just couldn't bring myself to give this set 5 stars. I wish it were possible to give it 4 1/2 stars.
First of all, it's true, the episodes are not 100% complete, however, many people, in my opinion, have been over-reacting about the cuts. Actually, the A&E DVD #1 has a sketch in the 2nd episode called 'The Wacky Queen', which was edited out of the show after the first broadcast & was never shown again on TV in the UK or abroad, as far as I know. Seasons 1 & 2 have no cuts, at least none that I spotted when comparing the DVDs to the synopsis in the Monty Python books by Jim Yoakum & Kim "Howard" Johnson. There is a slight edit of one word in the 5th episode of the 3rd season during the 'Summarize Proust Competition' which the BBC made to the episode before broadcast. Broadcasts outside of the UK had the uncensored version of the sketch. Unfortunately, A&E got a censored master. In the 7th episode of the same season during the 'Biggles Dictates a Letter' sketch, there is a slight glitch which can be blamed on slopply mastering on A&E's part. It doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the sketch very much. The episode that appears to be worst hit is the 12th episode of season 3. A&E goofed when they included 'Party Political Broadcast' on the box to this episode. The sketch was edited from the master tape and hasn't been seen since the original broadcast in 1973. This material is very probably lost forever. The very end of this episode, which has a trailer for Dad's Doctors & Dad's Pooves, is also missing from the episode. This was probably sloppy editing on the part of A&E video as the episode does a fade to black with the BBC TV logo then fades up again with the BBC TV logo again and the 'Dad's...' trailer. The person transfering the episode, who probably had no familiarity with Python thought that it wasn't part of the episode or something. A&E should have hired one of the US Python experts like Kim 'Howard' Johnson, Jim Yoakum, or David Morgan to oversee the A&E transfers so these mistakes might have been prevented. As far as I know, the cuts I just mentioned are the only ones that have been made to these DVDs. Not that much, in my opinion. Certainly not enough to bring this set all the way down to one star. Some have also complained that this set didn't include the German episodes 'Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus'. These episodes were produced for German TV & not for BBC TV. In fact, the 1st one, which was done in German, was never shown on British TV. This set does contain all 45 episodes that were produced for BBC television. A&E has released the 2 German episodes. The first one, in German with English subtitles, is in the set 'Monty Python Live' and the second one, shot in and in English, is in the 'Life of Python' set.
Yes, yes, the quality of the picture and sound is not perfect, but still better than any TV broadcast that I've seen. I suspect that the quality of the shows as broadcast wasn't terribly impressive. BBC Television only started broadcasting in color in 1969 (the year Python started) and it was still new technology to them. The sound is Mono. The BBC didn't go to Stereo until 1988! To do some kind of stereo remaster, one would need access to seperate dialogue, sound effect, and music tracks, which I'm sure don't exist with the Pythons or the BBC. Such a thing did exist for Holy Grail, which is why Columbia was able to do a remastered Stereo soundtrack. Furthermore, each show had a budget of $6000. These shows were done on a shoestring and the BBC probably didn't have state of the art equipment, being a Government funded broadcaster.
I love Monty Python, and these 45 shows changed the face of comedy. There are a few, very few, bits missing.
If you love Python, you should buy it. Some fans have over-reacted way too much about the missing material. If something like the Lumberjack Song, or Parrot sketch, or Cheese Shop, or Nudge Nudge were cut, that would be reason for outrage. Not for the few fairly minor missing bits. Over 24 hours of pure fun.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 14, 2012 8:35:37 AM PDT
If you search the net, you can find a video called Monty Python's Party Political Broadcast...specifically on dailymotion.com. So it's either not lost forever, or the clip is mistitled.
Posted on May 29, 2013 10:52:48 AM PDT
W. David McGuinn Jr. says:
Thank you Mr. White for a balanced and informative review.
Posted on Dec 6, 2015 8:43:31 AM PST
J. Barth says:
I have been enjoying A boxed set (which one I'm not so sure anymore) since 2008, when my wife purchased it up here on Amazon. Since I began watching Python from its inception, I do consider myself somewhat of a purist, but I rolled with the punches with this set because the errors weren't all that massive.
HOWEVER- today I decided to try and purchase the same set for a friend, so up I came to Amazon. WHOA! My 2008 $87.97 set is now a whopping (close to) $400! Okay, can anyone explain why? Oh, I realize there is some added material, but unless this set has been completely remastered...c'mon! What would I get for 400%?
Have all the errors been fixed? Is this finally the real deal? Or are we just getting ripped? Pull the other one!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2015 12:38:13 PM PST
The price on this set varies widely over time. Just wait a couple days or weeks. Assuming the price wasn't increased due to it being out of print, it'll come back down. Heck, I got this set here in 2012 for $29.99!
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