Inspired by a hotel John Cleese once stayed in when he was filming "Monty Python." This complete set of Fawlty Towers episodes includes special new commentary by John Cleese. Please see individual volumes for episode descr... more »iptions.« less
Lore T. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 11/15/2014...
This DVD was a gift for my daughter and son in law. They loved it. My daughter said that she laughed so hard she almost fell of the couch.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Funny, not Fawlty
Shari | Westminster, CO United States | 11/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never heard of Fawlty Towers, you are truly missing a classic comedy series. Don't let the fact that it's British humor turn you away either. It's not your typical British sitcom. Fawlty Towers was a series of 12 episodes made in the 1970's about a hotel in the little town of Torquay, England (pronounced Torkee). The episodes all revolve around the mishaps and misunderstandings and flat out irrational behavior of the hotel owner Basil Fawlty played by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. Cleese does a wonderful job melding physical comedy, sarcasm, and British wit, but of course he doesn't do this alone. Prunella Scales (former RSC actress) plays Basil's wife Sybil Fawlty while Cleese's wife in real life Connie Booth plays Polly, the hotel maid/receptionist/waitress. Andrew Sachs plays Manuel, the Spanish waiter who does a fabulous job playing opposite Basil Fawlty and aggravating him to the point of frustration. Note that every character at one point in the series explains Manuel's funny behavior with the excuse "He's from Barcelona." There are a few other regular characters such as the Major who is an old, rather senile war veteran and the two ladies who are also old and rather senile. As I said earlier, there are 12 episodes. Each one is very original and I never get tired of watching them. The following is a short summary of each of the episodes. A Touch of Class - Basil places an ad for the hotel to attract upscale clientele. A Lord Melbury makes reservations at the hotel, but he isn't who everyone thinks he is. The Builders - Basil hires O'Reilly, a cheap Irish builder, to rennovate the hotel, but when he and his wife leave for an outing and Polly leaves Manuel in charge, everything goes wrong. The Wedding Party - Basil gets into a series of misunderstandings when a flirty Frenchwoman and a young, sexually playful couple and their parents stay at the hotel. The Hotel Inspectors - Sybil tells Basil there are hotel inspectors in town. He tries second guesses who the inspector is throughout the whole show and in the process is beat up, cries in front of a guest, and is frustrated beyond belief. Gourmet Night - Basil attempts to serve a special gourmet dinner to the town sophisticates. Of course it goes terribly wrong. (watch him beat a car with a branch) The Germans - Sybil is in the hospital with an ingrown toenail. Basil ends up in the hospital as well after a series of accidents, but escapes to the hotel just in time to greet some German guests. Communication Problems - Everyone is frustrated when Mrs. Richards, a woman with a hearing aid she chooses not to turn on, stays at the hotel. The Psychiatrist - Basil freaks out when he learns about two psychiatrists staying at the hotel. Waldorf Salad - An English woman and her husband, an American, stay at the hotel. The cook leaves early and Basil fills in to cook the couple a hot meal. The Kipper and The Corpse - A guest dies in the night and Basil has to get place the body in a discrete place until the coroner arrives. The Anniversary - Basil pretends to forget he and Sybil's anniversary. He plans a surprise party that falls apart when she storms out angry. Basil the Rat - A health inspector give the hotel one day to clean up their act. The hotel staff discover Manuel's pet rat (named Basil) and try to get rid of it. If you like British comedy, this is definitely a classic to own. If you like comedy, this is a treat. The best thing about these episodes is the detail involved in each episode. Every time you see the shows, you see something new. And all details in the episodes relate to each other. For instance in A Touch of Class, pay close attention to the pile of bricks mentioned at the beginning of the episode. You'll see them again. Another little cute fact about the shows is the way the signs change during the title frame. The opening of the show is a scene from outside the hotel and the sign saying Fawlty Towers, but after the first episode, the sign changes to the point that it spells things such as Watery Towels. Yes, the collection is on the expensive side but it is well worth the price and a must see for everyone. I am sure once you see these shows, you will watch them over and over again and love them for the classics they are."
"Right. I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing!"
B-MAN | Earth, occasionally. Until I get bored. | 01/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Right. If you want to know precisely what you get on this spectacular set, then read on. If you, however, like the element of surprise, then don't read it and just order it and bite your nails anticipating all the fantastic little...oh, just read the bloody thing! Here is exactly all the wonderful little bits of fun that await you on the Fawlty Towers complete collection on 3 DVDs:These are features every disc shares: Main menu options - Play all episodes, Episode selection, Scene selection, Subtitles (English, German, French). Special features: Director's Commentary, Helpful Staff (Bios of main cast), Guest Registry (Bios of other cast members), Trailers - French & Saunders, Father Ted, The League of Gentlemen, Wallace & Gromit, and BBC America.
Disc One - 4 Episodes: A Touch of Class, The Builders, The Wedding Party, and Hotel Inspectors. Special Features: Interview with John Cleese (1), A visit to Torquay (Home of Fawlty Towers), Footage of the Fawlty Towers hotel, Customer Service tips (Clips)
Disc Two - 4 Episodes: Gourmet Night, The Germans, Communication Problems, and The Psychiatrist. Special Features: Interview with Cleese (2), Interview with Andrew Sachs (Manuel), How to manage your staff (clips)
Disc Three - 4 Episodes: Waldorf Salad, The Kipper and the Corpse, The Anniversary, and Basil the Rat. Interview with Cleese (3), Interview with Prunella Scales (Sybil), Out-takes, Tips for a successful marriage (clips)Things I learned from Fawlty Towers:1. One nail isn't strong enough to hang a giant moose head on your wall.
2. When your car doesent work, sometimes it helps to attack it with a tree branch.
3. If you take a guest breakfast in bed and speak to him and he does not move or speak back to you - he may be dead.
4. A burglar alarm and a fire alarm sound quite a lot alike."
The Manger's Faulty? What's Wong With Him?
3rdeadly3rd | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 12/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Fawlty Towers", for those who have somehow not been exposed to it, is simply the most glorious example of the farce ever to be committed to television. "Monty Python"'s John Cleese is Basil Fawlty, a snobbish, rude owner of a small hotel in Torquay. On staff are his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) - a gregarious woman with the most amazing laugh in television history, receptionist Polly (Cleese's wife Connie Booth) - probably the only staff member with an ounce of common sense, and Manuel (the incomparable Andrew Sachs) - a Spanish waiter with severely limited English. Of the guests, Ballard Berkely delivers a wonderful performance as the not-quite-there Major.Each episode deals with Basil's various problems at the hotel, problems which he never fails to make much worse by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, leaving Manuel in charge or generally being himself. The laughs ramp up to fever pitch very rapidly and each episode ends with rapturous cheers from the studio audience. There were only ever 12 episodes recorded of this classic series, but each one has incredible quality. As Cleese explains in part of his interview, attempting to equal the highlights of each series just got too much for the writers and performers.Here is a quick summary of the premise of each episode and what to watch for:
"A Touch of Class" - this was the first episode ever recorded and deals with Basil's attempt at attracting "a better sort of clientele" to the hotel. Watch for Basil's changing attitudes toward Lord Melbury and the man in the biker jacket, while the standout scene is Basil's seating of Lord Melbury "in his usual seat" in the dining room. Best line: "A lemon squash, a gin and orange and a scotch and water please."
"The Builders" - Basil's attempts at cost-cutting result in a drastically reconfigured hotel. Watch for Mr O'Reilly's Irish accent and Basil's monster double take at the renovations. Best lines: "Where are your ears you halfwit? He no here - LISTEN", "Which of you is Man With Beard?" and "Door gone was here!"
"The Wedding Party" - Basil gets caught up in the fray as a large number of guests appear to be getting very close to each other. Watch for the drunken Manuel and Basil's rising blood pressure at the various couplings. Best lines: "And I saw him...sitting on the waiter!" and "Leaving my three mothers".
"The Hotel Inspectors" - Basil desperately tries to impress guests who he thinks are inspectors. Watch for the revelation of who everyone is.
"Gourmet Night" - Basil's attempt at a gourmet night goes horribly wrong. Watch for the "beating the car" scene (recently voted one of the funniest scenes ever). Best line: "I warned you, you vicious bastard!"
"The Germans" - this is probably the best episode of the entire show. Sybil is in hospital and Basil ends up there as well, but then (still suffering the after-effects of a concussion) handles the arrival of some German guests. Watch for the Major's reaction to the "talking moose" and Basil's marvellous "don't mention the war" performance. Best lines: "I speak eeengleesh very well. I learned eeet from a booook.", "one Hermann Goering" and "well YOU started it!".
"Communication Problems" - a deaf guest checks into the Hotel. Meanwhile, Basil needs to keep his gambling a secret. Watch for the "your horse, he win" scene and the incredible scene in which Manuel can't explain the source of the money. Best lines: "Is this a piece of your brain?", "nitwit or dragonfly?" and "I know NOTHING."
"The Psychiatrist" - Basil provides some great research material for two visiting psychiatrists. Watch for his shameless buttering-up of the doctors. Best line: "Two doctors? How did you become two doctors?"
"Waldorf Salad" - an American attempts to order a Waldorf Salad from the chef. Watch for Basil playing both himself and the chef. Best lines: "What's a waldorf anyway?" and "Whopee, let's all have an apple party!!"
"The Kipper and the Corpse" - a guest dies and Basil tries to prevent everyone else from finding out. Watch for the carrying-the-guest-up-and-down-the-stairs scene. Best line: "I'm a doctor and I want my breakfast".
"The Anniversary" - Basil infuriated Sybil by seemingly forgetting their wedding anniversary. Watch for his solution to the problem. Best line: "Agincourt? Poitiers? Crecy?"
"Basil The Rat" - a health inspector's arrival is precipitated by Basil's discovery of Manuel's "siberian hamster". Watch for the look on Manuel's face as he puts out some food for his pet and Basil's "celebration" upon finding that the cat is alive. Best lines: "Basil, Basil", "To spleep?", "He put Basil in the ratatouille?", "Pigin, like your English" and "no no, is hamster".For die-hard fans, the third disc, containing interviews and outtakes is also more than worthwhile as a purchase.Enough praise cannot be given to this series. It should be compulsory viewing for anyone remotely interested in comedy."
As good as TV comedy gets!
J E Hobson | Heckmondwike, W Yorkshire United Kingdom | 05/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Words cannot even begin to describe what delights are in store for the hapless comedy fan who has not yet seen Fawlty Towers, but I'll try. Basil Fawlty has become a comedy legend since he and his co-stars first graced our screens in the mid 70's. Yes, it's a vintage series and some of the language may not be very PC in this day and age but the result is still hilarious. Take it as you find it and you will be rewarded. There is not enough space to fully describe what delights are in store, but rest assured, you will be investing in a piece of essential comedy history when you buy this. Imagine a hotel owner who dislikes foreigners and has little respect for his guests and your'e just a little way there. The writing, the timing, the characters....everything is utterly perfect! John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth could think of nowhere else to go after two series, so they called it quits and left on a high. What they didn't realise was the fact that they gave us what is without doubt one of the finest and funniest comedy legends. Americans have a taste for this kind of peculiar British humour, we British also adore it. You are in for a treat! Don't miss."
A great DVD set for an even better TV show
Stephen Keller | Oceanside, CA United States | 01/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fawlty Towers, among those who know about it, is generally considered one of the funniest television shows of all time. Created by and starring John Cleese (of Monty Python fame), each of the twelve episodes is sheer genius in some way or another. The setup is simple: Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, the rather snide owner of a second-rate hotel. Cleese surrounds himself with hilarious characters, including his overbearing (but far more competent) wife and the bumbling but good natured waiter Manuel ("You'll have to excuse him; he's from Barcelona.") Each episode finds Fawlty involved in some scheme, which usually has something to do with abusing customers and hiding things from his wife. The plots build in classic screwball fashion, as the situations get more and more absurd while Cleese digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole. The comedy ranges from incredible dialogue to some perfectly timed slapstick, and all of it's funny.Though I'd seen all of the episodes before many times, the DVD set was a great buy. It's packed with extras, including commentaries by the director of each episode and some really informative, in-depth interviews with John Cleese and other cast members. In fact, while I got the discs just because I wanted copies of the episodes, I've had a ton of fun with the extras. Add in fairly nice packaging (the art on each disc is hilarious) and some other cool things such as cleverly designed menus, and this is one of the better TV collections I've seen. Well worth your money if you've never seen the show but enjoy British comedy, or if you're an old fan and looking for a new way to appreciate this great series."