Check in to the most popular BBC comedy of all time, where merriment and madness are on the house. Newly remastered for better-than-ever viewing, this set contains four classic episodes, as well as interviews, behind-the-s... more »cenes and cast bios. John Cleese stars as Basil Fawlty, the sharp-tongued, short-tempered owner of Fawlty Towers, a hotel plagued by crisis, chaos and bizarre characters.A Touch of Class: Once Basil decides it?s time the hotel had a better class of clientele he?ll do anything to keep Lord Melbury there-including cashing his sizeable check. Hotel Inspectors: Thinking a guest he has thoroughly offended may be a hotel inspector, Basil fawns all over him to make amends-but has he got the right man? The Wedding Party: Flabbergasted by an outbreak of seemingly loose morals at Fawlty Towers, Basil leaps to wrong conclusions and gets caught in a compromising position. The Builders: Basil goes with the lowest bidder when the lobby needs repairs. He soon discovers firsthand why this crew comes so cheap.« less
"John Cleese's "Fawlty Towers" is one of those universally funny TV shows, all about the undignified exploits of a perpetually hostile, repressed and tetchy hotel manager, and the more competant staff who try to keep thngs sane. This DVD contains the first three episodes, which starts off a little wobbly but quckly gains its comic footing.
In "A Touch of Class," Basil Fawlty (Cleese) puts out a snotty ad to attract a "better class of customer," which attracts a pleasant aristocrat. Basil fawns revoltingly over the man, neglecting the other guests. But savvy waittress Polly (Connie Booth) discovers that another guest is a cop -- and that Basil is in danger of handing his coins over to a con man.
"The Builders" are called in for Fawlty Towers, while Basil's wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) is away. But Basil has hired a cut-rate builder, and Manuel (Andrew Sachs) and his broken English are in command at the time. So when Basil arrives, he finds a disaster zone -- and he has only a matter of hours to repair it.
Finally, Basil's prudish sensibilities are offended when a couple stays at the hotel -- and they're not married. Even worse, an older couple shows up and seems to be engaging in hanky-panky with the younger ones -- and even Polly is in on the action. Now Basil is determined to keep it all clean and chaste -- as he dodges an amorous Frenchwoman.
The first few episodes are not quite up to the standards of later ones like "The Germans" and "The Kipper and the Corpse," with some comic timing that just feels a little off. But the first volume of "Fawlty Towers" is still very entertaining, and has lots of legendary comic moments like Basil throttling the gnome. (And no, that is not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge euphemism)
What is really noticeable about this series is that there is always a feeling of barely-restrained chaos, as if peace'n'quiet is an abnormality. The crazy humor tends towards naughtiness (a drunken Manuel embracing Basil in the hallway) and slapstic, while the dialogue is loaded down with witticisms ("She can kill a man at ten paces with one blow of her tongue!").
Basil is a prudish, eccentric, classist manager based on a nightmare hotelier that Cleese met during his "Monty Python" days, and Cleese is brilliant here. Scales is great as his acid-tongued, beehived wife, while Booth and Sachs are great as (respectively) the intelligent waittress and the hapless Spanish waiter who doesn't understand half of what people say, because "he's from Barcelona."
"Fawlty Towers" lacked total brilliance at the start, but by the third episode the series had evened out nicely. A great trio of episodes."
A Much Needed Laugh
Harold Hendler | Riverside, CA & Hannover,Germany | 03/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Faulty Towers brings laughter and a great deal of relief from a barrage of news which offers nothing but gloom and doom. John Cleese and the entire company can cheer anybody with their farce and comedy. Highly recommend this series to anyone who wants to get a good laugh."
Just a minor quibble
Paul Myfingher | menlo park, ca | 11/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"yes, these shows are excellent. i can't recommend them enough - so i won't. my quibble has to do with the director's commentary. the director's voice comes across as a phlegmy, watery sound effect. then there's the puntuating of long silences with the sluuurping of whatever he's drinking. i have to admit it was funny for 5 minutes, but i then became nauseous and had to turn it off. the shows are worth the price of admission without the director's commentary."
Quite Simply the Solution to Everything
C. Farley | Bakersfield, CA USA | 11/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, of course, the world is coming to a banging, whimpering end. The toilet is flooding the bathroom, the kids' report card is finally confirming just WHOSE side of the family the kid is taking after and your boss couldn't be a bigger Bozo even if they had on the red nose and upturned wig. Stop, breathe and sit down for the supreme madness and wisdom of this incredible and perfect solution to everything. Cleese gives vent to all your frustration in ways sublime and the ever-suffering wife provides new modes of disbelief to employ in all stressful situations. And then--MY personal favorite--the long-suffering "Wily E. Coyote" of British comedy--Manuel. When you return refreshed, because nothing compares to Basil's life, you may begin to cope with your own disasters capable and smiling once more."
I'ts Python on steroids!
cheetah111 | 06/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like Monty Python's loud and exaggerated style, throw in a Spanish speaking waiter, an insulting wife and dimwitted guests and you're in for the laugh of your life! The characters are realistic (we've all met someone like these people) and John Cleese just brings it all together in his own panic-ridden style. A definate must-have for any collector!"