Blu-ray Review: Monty Python Live (Mostly) - One Down, Five to Go

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Last minute holiday shoppers with comedy fans on their gift lists would do well to snag Eagle Rock Entertainment’s Monty Python Live (Mostly) - One Down, Five to Go. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, the 136-minute Monty Python reunion show was shot in 2014 during a short run of performances that featured the five remaining troupe members onstage together for the first time in 34 years. The show presented on One Down, Five to Go was filmed on July 20, the final show of only ten.

The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that one original Python, Graham Chapman, has departed (in 1989 at the age of 48). Chapman is featured throughout via archival clips. That leaves the quintet of septuagenarians—John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Jones—to recreate some of their best bits in front of a massive, and massively appreciative, audience at London’s O2 arena. Monty Python’s Flying Circus veteran Carol Cleveland is featured in numerous segments.

Some viewers have chosen to focus, perhaps a little too closely, on the advancing ages of the Pythons, but honestly we should all be this spritely in our 70s. The comic timing is still spot on and the occasional updates that are thrown into various sketches are as welcome as they are unpredictable. Highlights from the performance include: “The Lumberjack Song,” “Every Sperm is Sacred,” “I Like Chinese,” “Nudge Nudge,” “Spanish Inquisition,” “Argument,” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Eagle Rock’s Blu-ray presentation is on par with their usual high level of quality seen and heard in concert releases. The extremely colorful, multi-media presentation looks great in the 1080i high definition transfer. The LPCM 2.0 stereo mix is quite sufficient, but the DTS-HD MA 5.1 is a real treat during the many musical numbers.

An array of short special features is included, led by the eight-minute featurette “The Production - November 2013 to June 2014.” Rather self-explanatory is the four-minute “Backstage at the O2, London - July 2014” behind-the-scenes piece. More preparation footage turns up in “Green Screen Shoot - June 2014” (five minutes) and the all-too-brief “Highlights from the 10 Shows at the O2” (two minutes). Clocking in at less than two minutes each are “The Reunion” and “The Announcement.”

A very nice booklet is included, featuring bios of all the principal players, photographs, and a timeline of key events in Monty Python history.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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