Monty Python: Almost the Truth The Laywer's Cut

Monty Python: Almost the Truth The Laywer's Cut
In honour of the 40th anniversary of the Monty Python comedy troupe, the living and the dead assemble to reflect, gripe, air dirty laundry and pick the scabs of some old wounds. And while fans may think this is just another cash grab ― that the splits in the troupe (Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle versus John Cleese and Graham Chapman, with Terry Gilliam the American outsider) have been well documented ― this six-hour opus proves that there's plenty of story untold. Part one, covering individual university journeys and early British sketch TV efforts, is comprehensive and informative, while their Flying Circus days get relatively brief attention, which is appropriate, considering that's well covered ground. Holy Grail and Life of Brian get an episode each, fleshing out both group challenges (Grail's two directors, the Terrys, Chapman's increasing alcohol problem) and Life of Brian's success (their greatest vision, sensible director/art director division, Chapman's sobriety), and then the hell that's broken loose in the meantime. The making of Meaning of Life turns out to be a clash of ambition versus a lack of focus, and it's a fascinating look at a no-longer-cohesive team. Cleese comes off as the most bitter, while archival interview footage of Chapman makes him the most missed. (He died of cancer in 1989.) Terry Jones and Michael Palin enjoy the most comfortable relationship ― they take a train ride around to various British filming sites to reminisce ― while Gilliam remains his enigmatic, challenging self. Eric Idle ― the musical one ― has become the keeper of the Python flame, as the primary architect behind Holy Grail Broadway musical Spamalot, as well as an in-progress musical of Life of Brian. Fleshing out this three-disc effort is an entire disc of classic sketches, including all manner of parrots, lumberjacks, Spanish inquisitions, silly walks and fish slapping dances. There's no greater single look at the development of the modern comedy sensibility than Almost the Truth. Plus: extended interviews, picture gallery, more. (Eagle Rock)