If you’ve been checking in on Premium Hollywood over the course of the past few days, then you’ve probably spotted our man Bob Westal’s tributes to the 40th anniversary of Monty Python, and if you haven’t…well, they’re here, here, and here. Python fans will likely have already seen Bob’s finely-chosen clips, but if they’re new to you and made you laugh, then you really ought to be tuning into IFC’s ongoing six-part documentary about the history of the Python organization: “Monty Python: Almost the Truth – The Lawyer’s Cut.” As evidenced by the fact that there’s an Amazon link in the midst of the title, the documentary is indeed being released onto DVD on Oct. 27th, but don’t let that stop you from checking out the remaining episodes as they air on IFC. Those who aren’t obsessive types might find it a bit more Python than they can stand, but it’s definitely the comedy equivalent of “The Beatles Anthology,” leaving no stone unturned from the group’s career, showing their origins, discussing their TV series, films, and infamous live performances, and offering insights from other comedians who’ve received inspiration from the gentlemen in the Flying Circus.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that there is actually a theatrical cut of “Almost the Truth,” which comes in at a decidedly tighter run time of under two hours…and I know this because I was in attendance at the Ziegfield Theater in New York City last week when it was screened. The best bit about it, though, was that the screening was attended by John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, not to mention the group’s female in residence, Carol Cleveland.
Oh, no, wait, that wasn’t the best bit. The real best bit was when, after the screening, the gentlemen took the stage – with Cleese carrying a cardboard stand-up of the late Graham Chapman under his arm – to answer questions which had been submitted by the audience, which you can experience for yourself below:
No, hang on: the actual, honest-to-Brian best bit was the fact that I actually got to meet the Pythons.
Tonight we have one more pair of movie moments in honor of the 40th anniversary of Monty Python. This time, unbowed by the controversy stirred up by the allegedly sacrilegious “Life of Brian,” the Pythons take on Christianity, both Church of England and Roman Catholic style, in their final official work, “The Meaning of Life.” First, a look at prayer as it is most often offered.
And then a look at the most basic form of the right-to-life debate, with mild apologies to the interminable musical sequences of the dreadfully over-Oscared”Oliver” and assorted other badly bloated musicals. This is the sequence that deserved an award.
And, once more, we remind all Python lovers to check out Will Harris’s piece on Python solo projects at Bullz-Eye.com