Cover image for Monty Python speaks! : John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin (and a few of their friends and collaborators) recount an amazing, and silly, thirty-year spree in television and film-- in their own words, squire!
Monty Python speaks! : John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin (and a few of their friends and collaborators) recount an amazing, and silly, thirty-year spree in television and film-- in their own words, squire!
Morgan, David, 1960-
Publication Information:
New York : Spike/An Avon Book, 1999.
Physical Description:
335 pages ; 21 cm
Corporate Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


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Home Location
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PN2599.5.T54 M66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN2599.5.T54 M66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Broadcast by the BBC between 1969 and 1974, Monty Python's Flying Circus introduced something completely different: a new brand of surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness comedy that pushed the traditional boundaries of format, style, and content. Blending brilliant satire with slapstick silliness, The Pythons--Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin--spoke to a generation eager to break free of the conventional. Making their way across the Atlantic and the world, the Pythons' zany approach to comedy would have a monumental influence on modern popular culture, paving the way for farcical entertainment from Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons to Austin Powers.

In Monty Python Speaks, David Morgan has collected interviews with Monty Python's founding members, actors, producers, and other collaborators to produce a no-holds-barred look at the Pythons' legendary sketches and films, including Monty Python's Life of Brian, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Spamalot), and The Meaning of Life.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

If the simple phrase "Ministry of Silly Walks" prompts a giggle, you are part of the target audience for this oral history of Monty Python, cobbled together from extensive interviews with the five surviving members of the British comedy troupe as well as various friends, collaborators, and hangers-on. It is not "something completely different," however. Many of the anecdotes in it will be familiar to longtime fans, though they will also think that those, like the troupe's old TV shows, bear endless repeating. Morgan's informed questions elicit much detail about the nuts and bolts of the TV series, its cinematic and stage spin-offs, and troupe members' pre-and post-Python efforts--detail that affords a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. The Pythons talk candidly and revealingly about one another, revealing the differences between their individual writing styles and approaches to humor. Their thoughtful observations on their group dynamic show just how seriously they took their comedy. Thirty years after the show's premiere and 15 after the last Python movie, their work remains popular--and funny. That kind of longevity means that libraries should be strongly encouraged ("wink-wink, nudge-nudge") to have this volume on hand for the considerable Python cult. --Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Pythons and several key colleagues look back in a broad retrospective, presented in oral history format, that begins just before the 1969 premiere of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the landmark TV series, and follows the story into the troupe's movie years and beyond. More than anything else, the book reveals that the blend of anarchic themes, unconventional show structure and chaotic pace that defined Flying Circus was not the product of madcap rebels, but rather the result of hard work by ambitious craftsmen determined to reinvent a form. Fans will be disappointed to find few intimate looks at specific shows and skits. Comparisons of the Pythons' philosophical differences and writing styles are handled in broad strokes. Not until the discussion of the group's film work (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life) will readers encounter specific accounts of clashing artistic attitudes: for instance, how an actor's director (Terry Jones) views production differently than a cinematographer's director (Gilliam), and how the other writers and actors (especially John Cleese) absolutely hated the tedious process of filming. By the time Morgan is done with Life of Brian, the philosophical battles are over, and the discussion consists of good and bad business decisions. Although the book is redundant at times, such clever mates can't help offering some insightful and entertaining perspectives on comedy writing, television and film. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In their 30th-anniversary year, the surviving members of the famed comedy troupe reminisce about their careers with media journalist Morgan. This entertaining volume consists of interview transcripts covering the full Python spectrum, from the 45 episodes of the BBC's beloved Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74) to films like Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and recordings like Monty Python's The Final Rip-Off (1988). True to form, the Python members make for witty interviewees, and they relate not only production but also personal detailsÄfor example, the deceased Graham Chapman's alcoholism. Their voices are supplemented by such Python collaborators as director Ian MacNaughton, actress Carol Cleveland, and best-selling author Douglas Adams. Illustrated with behind-the-scenes photographs and stills from celebrated sketches, this volume will undoubtedly please fans. Recommended for public libraries and academic collections supporting popular culture curricula.ÄNeal Baker, Earlham Coll., Richmond, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Intervieweesp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Pre-Pythonp. 5
Birthp. 22
Take-Offp. 36
The Pythons Through the Looking Glassp. 75
The Control Freakp. 77
Splunge!p. 81
The Nice Onep. 92
The Cheeky Onep. 95
The Zealous Fanaticp. 98
The Monosyllabic Minnesota Farm Boyp. 104
The Group Dynamicp. 108
And Now for Something Completely... the Same?p. 118
Fear and Loathing at the BBCp. 129
Monty Python and the Holy Grailp. 144
The U.S. Invasion Beginsp. 182
The Fourth (and Final) Sortiep. 196
Caught in Python's Orbitp. 210
Life of Brianp. 224
Flying Solop. 255
The Meaning of Lifep. 272
Le Morte d'Arthurp. 294
The "If You Could Save Only One Thing You've Produced" Chapterp. 302
21st-Century Pythonp. 305
The Python Oeuvrep. 317
Sourcesp. 323
Bibliographyp. 325
Indexp. 327