LIFE OF PYTHON by Georse Perry


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Uncritical, non-humorous, but certainly comprehensive: a detailed scrapbook for fans of Britain's Monty Python group in all its multi-media, group/solo manifestations. Least predictably, Perry (senior editor of the Sunday Times) begins with a solid, if uninspired, history of postwar British humor--from the Goon Show through Suez (""the moment when the edifice of the Establishment sustained permanent cracks"") to the irreverent university revues, Beyond the Fringe, Private Eye magazine, That Was the Week That Was. . . and the 1960s theater/TV satires where most of the Pythons began as writer/performers. Then come close-up profiles of each of the six Pythons, based largely on interviews: Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam (the animation man), John (Fawlty Towers) Cleese, Graham Chapman, and Eric Idle all get admiring treatment, complete with peeks at domestic arrangements (houses, spouses, kids, pets). And the book's final section is a history of the Group itself--with season-by-season comments on the Flying Circus series (""Connoisseurs of Python tend to regard the second series as reflecting the team at its peak""); summaries of some famed sketches (the dead parrot, of course); plus consideration of censorship/legal problems, intra-group conflicts (""The most assertive team members, and each a leader of the respective factions, were Jones and Cleese""), stage and film work, and the many non-Python solo ventures. Sometimes Perry's positive tone slops over into gush. (Time Bandits ""is another personal film for Terry Gilliam, and contains within it the promise of a rich cinematic imagination that will undoubtedly yield more treasures in due course."") But there's enough sheer data here, along with appropriately silly photos, to command the attention of any serious Python-eer.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1983
Publisher: Little, Brown