Life of Brian: The Immaculate Edition Terry Jones

Life of Brian: The Immaculate Edition Terry Jones
The Monty Python crew’s best film — the biblical parody Life of Brian — scores a sweet two-disc issue with this newer, cheaper Immaculate Edition. It’s especially sweet for fans who balked at Criterion’s 1999 single-disc set, which included most of the material: team commentaries from the Terrys (Gilliam and Jones), plus Eric Idle and another from John Cleese and Michael Palin (lead actor and founding member Graham Chapman died in 1989), deleted scenes, radio ads and beautifully restored picture and sound. The Immaculate Edition gives two and takes one away in the form of its new "The Story of Brian” doc, which covers the production from conception (on a post-Holy Grail Amsterdam bender, director Jones blurted out, "we should make Jesus Christ: Lust For Glory!”) to writing (on a two-week tear in the Bahamas) to a last minute financing scramble when the head of their initial studio (EMI Films) finally read a script that’d been approved months before and promptly cancelled it. "The Story of Brian” replaces period-doc "The Pythons,” featured on the ’99 Criterion edition; "Story” is better and more comprehensive but "The Pythons” featured more original location footage. The Immaculate Edition tips the scales with an illustrated, full-length "read-through” of an early in-progress draft, which includes many new jokes and highlights the evolution of the writing process. The film was financed in the end by well-connected Python fan George Harrison, and was met with typical controversy upon release. It’s no surprise; it skewers beloved Christian tenets literally from cradle to cross, and would be impossible to do now, in today’s less liberal comedic times. That’s just why we need this hilariously pointed critique of dogmatism in all its absurdity ¾ to see the Latin writing on the wall, as it were. Plus: original radio ads, more. (Sony)