Brian Lakso | Lackawanna, NY USA | 05/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong. Anyone who has the first two seasons of this series knows that these discs are of top-notch quality. However, if you saw the HBO salute to Monty Ptyhon, you heard Terry Jones tell the story about the BBC editing the "Summorize Proust Competition" so that the word "masturbating" is removed. During my initial viewing, I was upset to see that the rather horrendous, edited version of the scetch was what I had received. I know it's sort of petty to complain about this, but I was unpleasantly surprised to see that 30 years after the initial release, we are still unable to see a scetch that is rather tame by today's standards. So far, the only letdown from a great series of DVD releases by A&E."
They took the bones out and it's not crunchy anymore!
James M. Dickey | Alexandria, Virginia | 05/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The actual episodes rate 5 stars (and more if they could be given). Not only was MPFC unlike anything that had ever been on TV before, there has been nothing like it on TV since, more's the pity.The missing stars refers only to details of the packaging. There are some minor technical glitches. Sometimes episodes start to play without sound, although if you exit and restart this can be remedied. Why is there no digital time counter when you play an episode so you can know how long it is till the end?But my major quibble is that they chose to use the CENSORED version of these episodes. Specifically, in one episode the enchanted prince in one of Terry Gilliam's animations dies of "gangrene" instead of "cancer" and in another, Graham Chapman's character in the Summarize Proust Competition is not allowed to claim "masturbating" as one of his hobbies (although he is allowed "strangling animals!" This is LESS offensive?)Why in this day and age these minor points of controversy were not allowed to pass unaltered astounds me. It's not that the uncensored versions are not available, because I have personally watched them broadcast on US public TV stations.But, as I say, these minor flaws are specks in the eye of the Mona Lisa. If you are a Python fan, you have to have these DVDs!"
Five stars, plus one black hole for quality control
Taylor B. Jessen | Burbank, CA | 09/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must offer kudos to A&E. Before these DVDs, all I had were 12-year-old VHS copies of Flying Circus dubbed off MTV. They were dull and noisy and these DVDs look much better.
Unfortunately, due to the glut of gaffes and omissions in this 45-episode box set, I am forced to keep those VHS tapes as reference copies for several episodes that A&E have unintentionally - and, in at least one case, intentionally - adulterated.
For the uninitiated, here's a laundry list of some of the omissions and gaffes in this set:
Show 31: Line "Masturbating" censored. MTV managed to find an uncensored version - A&E should have done likewise.
Show 33: Dialogue snipped from "Biggles Dictates a Letter". Not censorship, just a jump cut. Major QC goof.
Show 38: EVERYTHING after Eric Idle's "Next week, Black...Botoon..." voiceover is gone. No "Dad's Doctor", no "Dad's Pooves", no "Up the Palace", no "Limestone Dear Limestone". Possible explanation: Tape operator saw the fake fade-out right before these items and pressed "stop".
And in addition to the gaffes noted above, one more omission from Show 30 ("Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror"): In the show, Graham Chapman belts out this brief West Side Story parody: "Tonight, tonight / I'm getting pissed tonight". A&E have cut the line.
The chain of events is easy to imagine:
1) A&E legal department decided they had to clear the line
2) Publisher wanted too much money
3) They cut it
Seems reasonable enough at first glance. So where, gentle reader, did they make their mistake? That's right, in step 1, when they decided they had to clear the line. It's called PARODY, dearhearts, and it's protected under the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.
A&E is never going to fix these errors - if they cared about this series as a historical artifact, they never would have made the errors in the first place - so there's not much anyone can do. Except humiliate them with reviews like this. Woo hoo! Feels good! Take that, you corporate behemoth! Oh, wait, they're not reading this. Oh well. Hey, this is why we have tape trading, isn't it folks? Treat yourself."
The Avangardists Of Modern Humour
Bjorn Clasen | RollÚngergronn, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Europe | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To this day, Monty Python remains THE idol and source of inspiration to humourists all around. »Monty Python's Flying Circus« made the group famous, and it is the best ever to come out, not only from Monty Python, not only from Britain... but humour in general!Highlights on this tape: »Court Scene - Multiple Murderer«, »Mrs Niggerbaiter Explodes«, »Argument Clinic«, »The News With Richard Baker (Vision Only)«, »Fire Brigade« and »Molluscs - 'Live' TV Documentary«.Own it!"