Follow Here To Purchase Holy Flying Circus [Blu-ray]

Publisher: Acorn Media



Holy Flying Circus is a major treat for Monty Python fans.

First broadcast as a BBC-4 program in October 2011, HFC is a 90 minute take on the controversy that surrounded the release of Python’s Life of Brian in 1979. Written by Tony Roche and directed by Owen Harris, the film is anything but a straight-forward documentary or biopick. The storyline builds up to a climatic debate, of sorts, between Malcolm Muggeridge (Michael Cochrane) and the Bishop of Southwark (Roy Marsden) taking on John Cleese (Darren Boyd) and Michael Palin (Charles Edwards) on the Friday Night, Saturday Morning TV show.

Getting to that confrontation is roughly 75 minutes of very Pythonesque humor in very large doses. There is animation, cross-dressing, over-the top monologues, surrealistic dream sequences, oddball wordplay, and even cameos from God ((Stephen Fry) and Jesus (Ben Crispin). Everything you’d expect from the Pythons except silly songs. Wisely, Roche chose to frame his script on essentially two Pythons. both Edwards—as the nicest man in England—and Boyd, who tells the audience he’s doing more Basil Fawlty than the actual Cleese—give spot-on impersonations. The rest of the Python troupe have their scenes, but they’re mainly supporting players including Eric Idle (Steve Punt), Graham Chapman (Tom Fisher), Terry Gilliam (Phil Nichol), and Terry Jones (Rufus Jones, who also plays Palin’s wife.) Trying to give the entire ensemble equal time wasn’t necessary as Palin and Cleese serve as perfect foils for each other—up to that televised debate.

Clearly, viewers who will most appreciate this program will be those familiar with Life of Brian due to the frequent allusions to the film’s content. Clearly, fans of Monty Python should be delighted not only for the actor’s impersonations, but the very clever use of Python’s trademark comic devices. True, if foul language is offensive to your ears, you won’t last five minutes with HFC. I must admit, I wasn’t totally convinced this outing was the best defense of Life of Brian I’ve seen; the Pythons were far more eloquent themselves in interviews they did in 1979 that are now available on the DVD version of LOB. There’s nothing especially revelatory about the deleted scenes, outtakes, or other brief special features. Still, I wouldn’t have missed Holy Flying Circus for anything. I’ll be watching this one again. After all, the package includes both a Blu-Ray and DVD version. It’s another slice of the bright side of life.

 Follow Here To Purchase Holy Flying Circus [Blu-ray]