Directed By: Terry Hughes, Ian MacNaughton
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Tag line: "Never before in the history of human civilization has there been a movie called Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl"
Trivia: Eric Idle sings the "Lumberjack Song" in this film, even though Michael Palin sang it on the TV series
Recorded over five nights in September of 1980, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl features all six members of the Python troupe presenting some of their most popular skits, as well as a few they hadn’t performed since their college days.
Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl is a lot like the gang’s first foray into cinematic territory, And Now For Something Completely Different, in that it highlights some of the funnier sketches from their ‘70s TV show, including the “Ministry of Silly Walks”, in which Michael Palin, trying to obtain government funding, wants to improve upon his “only slightly silly” walk; and “the Argument”, where a man (Palin again) pays to have an argument with a professional (John Cleese), only to be disappointed by the outcome. There are musical numbers as well, including “The Lumberjack Song” (performed, for some reason, by Eric Idle instead of Michael Palin, who had sung it in both the show and Something Completely Different) and a few tunes by the troupe’s longtime collaborator, Neil Innes. The highlight, though, is the always popular ode to the Australian education system, “The Bruce’s Philosopher’s Song”, which Palin, Innes and Idle transform into an audience sing-along.
Yet what I enjoyed most about Live at the Hollywood Bowl were the new skits I’d never seen before. Included in the mix are “Colin ‘Bomber’ Harris”, an entertaining bit of physical comedy by Graham Chapman who plays both a wrestler and his own opponent, a bit he first performed while a student at Cambridge. Also included is the incredibly racist song, “Never Be Rude to an Arab”, sung by Terry Jones; and “The Last Supper” (my favorite skit in the movie), with John Cleese as the Pope and Eric Idle as Michelangelo, forced to defend his rather colorful rendition of the famous painting, The Last Supper.
A nice blend of old and new, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a walk down memory lane for Python fans, while, at the same time, giving them a little something they've never seen before.