Monty Python: “Almost The Truth – The Lawyer’s Cut” [DVD]

If you were ever a fan of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus television program that aired on the BBC Network then this lengthy documentary film will be something that you’ll really enjoy. Originally airing on the IFC Network, “Monty Python: Almost The Truth” was a six hour documentary that covered what appears to be every major point about the comedy troupe’s origins, first meetings, and their motivations to deliver their unique and eventually influential brand of comedy to the masses and much more. They succeed in this by including commentary from every one of the six Python’s (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) and each of them offers up a terrific insight to what they were all about. From beginning to end the documentary features little bits and pieces of the famous sketches and animations that the program was so well-known for. The complete IFC documentary comes to us care of Eagle Vision and while it is loaded with features, I am not too certain that it includes anything that we did not see on the original broadcast.

The program began in 1969 which for me meant that it was a little bit ahead of my own interests (as I was only four when it first aired) and while I eventually found myself fond of British Comedy, I found that my own interests were more in tune with self-contained shows like “Fawlty Towers” and “The Young Ones” more than the slapstick sketches that Python was splitting sides with. Given the basis of my own comedic interests I had to say that it made this documentary such a fascinating thing because it was able to clue me in on numerous items that I had missed or “didn’t get” in the first. I must admit that it was awesome to listen to John Cleese and Terry Gilliam line out their views on how a particular bit was formulated and what they felt made it work in the end. While the six-hour length might seem rather daunting, I can inform you that a lot of this moves rather quickly and will keep you entertained.

It’s packaged in a highly decorative box with various jokes and snippets around the photos and images and comes together on three DVD discs. The first two are the core of the documentary footage and the third one features some of their most time honored sketches. I might not have been the biggest study of the Monty Python players, but I sure knew the “Spanish Inquisition”, “Dead Parror” and “Fish Slapping Dance” numbers very well. They are a part of world comedy history based on their hilarily and impact to this very day. I can safely recommend this to not only the Python die hards but also those who for whatever reason missed the boat like I did. It’s also great for anyone who is studying modern comedy as an art form because the laughter instilled by these guys so many years ago is still revered by many comedians who found their work inspirational and had it guide their own destinies. The DVD medium we find so commonplace now allows the curious fan to own the complete run of episodes of the series for only a few dollars and you cannot beat that. Check this out and then order the series if you like what you have learned from this release. Maybe after you’ve done that you can check out the two programs I mentioned earlier that I found enjoyable.

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