And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)

Synopsis:

A compilation of funny sketches and animated shorts that first appeared in episodes of the British television program Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which aired on BBC1 from 1969 to 1974. Although most of the material was lifted directly from the TV show, all the skits were remade for this big-screen incarnation of the legendary TV series.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“I’m warning this film NOT to get SILLY again!”

Bawdy, zany, and ornery British comedy troupe Monty Python was one of the greatest geniuses of TV comedy. Using pantomime, slow and fast motion, songs and dances, and all kinds of silly antics, Monty Python provided millions of viewers each week with a wild, inventive alternative to the famous dry and sly English humor.

As the troupe embarked on a crusade to make fun of marriage, church, government institutions, sex and (above all) figures of authority, the subversive and irreverent Monty Python introduced a completely disarming new style to commercial TV.

While I can sometimes detect a slight social critique in some of their sketches, I don’t think Monty Python had any agendas. They just wanted to make people laugh, and their deliciously silly style is what makes them such an enduring comedic force. Although the troupe dismantled prematurely, their routines are as popular as ever.

Monty Python’s And Now for Something Completely Different was released into theaters while the show was still playing on TV, and unfortunately, it feels like the film was put together hastily in order to capitalize on the huge success of the TV show. Even though most sketches are still as funny as ever, make no mistake, this isn’t really a movie. It’s literally a bunch of TV skits haphazardly spliced together.

The live-action sequences were directed by Scottish actor and director Ian MacNaughton. Terry Gilliam (feature debut) directed the surreal animated sequences. This is just my opinion, but I thought the animated episodes were the best things about the movie. The film does contain recreations of some of the troupe’s most famous sketches, including the legendary “Dead Parrot Sketch” and the hilarious “Lumberjack Song.”

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

As I said before, And Now for Something Completely Different is a compendium of some of the best sketches from the TV show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. These segments offer a glimpse into The Python’s versatility, as they sing, dance and make fun of anything and everything. While And Now for Something Completely Different doesn’t really work as a feature-length movie, it does serve as an introduction to the wacky humor of the British comedians. Color, 88 minutes, Rated PG.

10 responses to “And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)

  1. Coincidentally (or is it? … yeah, it is) I’m currently watching the TV series and I’m about half way through. I also recently picked up the film on a cheap DVD, so I’m interested in comparing them. My memory is that the TV versions are a bit better than in the film. It’s disappointing to hear that the film is just sketches haphazardly put together, as the way the sketches are linked and flow into each other is often inventive in the TV version.

    Watching the series again, I’m even more amazed that it ever caught on in the US, or even that it ever got shown there. It’s very British and very parochial, but it is quite undergraduate in its humour. I guess it appealed to US college students as something “different” that their parents would never watch or understand.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think I read that And Now for Something Completely Different wasn’t a hit in America (I’m not sure about how the TV show was perceived here). But you are absolutely right, it was Monty’s anti-establishment streak that made the troupe a big hit among young people.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I must have seen this–later when I was older. I was too young for the humor when the “movie” came out, but then I think I saw it on cable or syndication. At any rate, once I was old enough, the Monty Python troupe was my favorite. I was never into slapstick, even as a kid, but I loved the wry humor and seemingly catch 22 conversations characters would have, spinning reality and reason in circles. LOL ! !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) — Diary of A Movie Maniac – johnrieber·

  4. I found the TV series on a local PBS station when I was a kid, and was hooked…my brother and I loved this type of humor. So I was already well established with every show and skit when I caught ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’ on DVD years later…only I was expecting a movie of NEW skits. Still, I was intrigued by how the old and re-done skits compared…definitely a more polished and ‘slick’ look for the updated ones. I’ll have to watch it again – it’s been years – and pay attention to what you say about the animations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Something Completely Different” is mostly for people who aren’t familiar with the show. It’s a nice taste-test party where you get to sample the troupe’s eclectic menu. In my opinion, The Pythons hit their stride with their next movie, the brilliantly silly “Holy Grail.”

      Liked by 1 person

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