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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Comedy > Satire > Spoof > Skit > Sketch > British TV > Monty Python: Almost The Truth – The Lawyer’s Cut (2009/Eagle Rock Entertainment Blu-ray)

Monty Python: Almost The Truth – The Lawyer’s Cut (2009/Eagle Rock Entertainment Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B-     Feature: A-



There is a funny Family Guy segment in which Meg is tied down and forced to watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus skits, to which she exclaims “I’m a girl! I don’t even like the good Monty Python!”  For the most part that is how many people feel; a majority of Americans end their fascination of Monty Python with The Holy Grail; though there are others (like myself) who believe the crew has to offer.  Outside of their several film ventures, the fellows of Monty Python have had a humongous career with their own television series (the aforementioned Flying Circus) as well as the men branching off to have very successful solo careers.


With all of that said, those of us who have actually attempted watching the hours and hours of Flying Circus material realize that time has not looked too favorably on the old sketches.  For the most part Flying Circus has fallen victim to dated references, dreadfully drab British humor and some things that not even I can put my finger on.  The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that the good sketches are timeless, amazingly well constructed and feature some of the most brilliant moments in television history.  I am talking a lot about Flying Circus, whereas the Blu-ray under review here is a pure documentary on the cast and crew of the insanely popular Monty Python; as my intention is mainly too emphasize the huge career that band of comedians has had and applaud them as this documentary is a worthy tribute to their lives.


The documentary is broken down into 6 wonderfully presented episodes.  The episodes are as follows:


  1. “The Not So Interesting Beginning”
  2. “The Much Funnier Second Episode”
  3. “And Now, the Sordid Personal Bits”
  4. “The Ultimate Holy Grail Episode”
  5. “Lust for Glory!”
  6. “Finally, the Last Episode (ever) (for now…)


Also incredibly included on the Blu-ray set are several of Monty Python’s most famous sketches; Disc 2 includes:


  1. The Parrot Sketch
  2. Spanish Inquisition
  3. The Fish Slapping Dance
  4. Ministry of Silly Walks
  5. Lumberjack Song
  6. The Cheese Shop
  7. SPAM



Also on Disc 2 are extended interviews with the Pythons, Outtakes from the Cutting Room Floor and Terry Gilliam Picture Gallery.


The documentary is well made from beginning to end; with each of the 60-minutes-long episodes fascinatingly having the cast recount their memories for that episodes particular theme.  The episodes infuse that casts happy memories, hardships, endless debates and the controversy that has surrounded them since their first sketch.  The cast also goes into great detail about the many achievements and failures they have had over the years; but always maintain a sense of humor about the situations they have been put in.


In all honesty, Almost the Truth is the most honest, lively and hilarious documentaries I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.  The crew has no restraint as they explicitly and candidly give their opinions about the past, present and future (especially Eric Idle who never tends to hold back).


The road was tough for the Python troupe as most people saw their brand as comedy as weird and strange in Britain; while in America broadcasters refused to even convert the Flying Circus tapes to NTSC.


It is good to know their vision was realized and the world of comedy would never be the same.


The technical features on this 2-Disc Blu-ray are very well done and will make any Python fan very happy.  The picture is presented in a 1.78 X 1 1080i MPEG-4 AVC transfer that nicely presents both new footage and old.  The newly created interviews have great detail, solid contras and look great.  The old stock footage of films, personal moments and skits is also amazingly impressive as it has higher quality than I ever expected.  The footage from beginning to end is a great visual experience.  The audio is presented in both English LPCM 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; both having their own merits.  With both track the older footage has its limits and is noticeably bland at times; whereas the new footage is amazingly crisp, clear and full.  A nice presentation from beginning to end.


The extras are those listed above.


Almost Truth is a great set that will impress any Python aficionado as it weaves together the long and trying tale of a band of idiots that made it big.



For more Python, try these links:


Life Of Brian Blu-ray & DVD



Flying Circus: Idle & Plain Best Of DVDs




-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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