And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)

“I would just like to point out that this film is displaying a distinct tendency to become SILLY.”

Synopsis:
The Monty Python comedy troupe — Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, and Connie Booth — reenact the most popular skits from their Flying Circus television show.

Genres:

Review:
Monty Python’s first feature length film is essentially a compilation of reenacted skits from their popular BBC television show “Monty Python and the Flying Circus”; in this sense, its title was a misnomer for Brits of the day, but not for American audiences, most of whom were witnessing Python’s inimitable sense of wacky humor for the first time. Your enjoyment of And Now For Something Completely Different will inevitably ride upon how well you “get” the group’s particular brand of comedy — yet despite how often you actually find yourself laughing out loud, there’s no denying that the film is, indeed, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Terry Gilliam’s unusual animation style provides a surreal set of transitions between the skits, which in themselves are often beyond belief, skewering (nay, butchering) every social convention and P.C. hot button imaginable. Listed below are a few of my own favorite “redeeming moments” in the film, but each fan is likely to come up with her or her own. While certainly not for all tastes, this cult movie should be seen at least once by every film fanatic.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The “Hungarian phrasebook” sketch
    ANFSCD Phrasebook
  • The initial “public service” skit: “How Not to Be Seen”
    ANFSCD How Not to Be Seen
  • The “dead parrot” skit
    ANFSCD Parrot
  • The “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m Okay” song
    ANFSCD Lumberjack
  • The “Upper Class Twit of the Year” sketch
    ANFSCD Twits
  • Countless classic lines, spouted ad infinitum by Python fans: “Nudge, nudge, say no more, know what I mean?”
    ANFSCD Say No More
  • Terry Gilliam’s surreal inter-skit animation
    ANFSCD Animation 1

Must See?
Yes, for its status as a cult favorite.

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One Response to “And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)”

  1. A once-must, as a cult film.

    When Monty Python came on the tv scene when I was growing up, there was definitely nothing else at all like them. I had, of course, sought out the type of friends that lived for this kind of lunacy – and we couldn’t get enough of it.

    This film is indeed a grab-bag of what made the tv show must-see viewing. Surprisingly, it holds up rather well – though I don’t know that the average ff will consider it worthy of multiple viewings.

    Several of the noted standout sequences are faves of mine as well. (I esp. like ‘The Hungarian Phrasebook’.) I enjoyed a revisit with it.

    Sidenote: A friend told me that the “I’m a Lumberjack” song came about because they didn’t know how to end the sketch that preceded it. Apparently it was revealed in an MP doc that Gilliam suggested the sketch segue into song – and thus the song was born. Basically the guys were in something of a hurry to go to lunch and wanted something finished. And it sure was!

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