Release: Dec 11, 2019 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Comparison between the censored European DVDs by Sony (identical to the American DVD by A&E Home Entertainment) and the uncut British Blu-ray by Network on Air
- 11 deviations
- Difference: 195,6 sec (= 3:16 min)
Censorship on MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS
A few years before the Pythons became immortal with their movies, they rose to fame on British television with Monty Python's Flying Circus. The British original series ran for 4 seasons, while the first three still had 13 episodes each and the final one without John Cleese only had 6 episodes.
After a first US DVD set by A&E Entertainment, Sony 2006 took on the series and released it on DVD in e.g. Great Britain and Germany. On some episodes this meant a clear added value compared to the American DVD release. In Episode 3x05 a well known censorship of the word "masturbate" was finally added in again and Episode 3x12 was even about two minutes longer than the first DVD edition. Nevertheless, among eager fans and thanks to recordings of early TV broadcasts and literature from the Pythons, further censorship and cuts are known. These have been added over the years, especially through syndicated airings in the 80s, but some were even done right after or during the first broadcast. A small summary can be found in the appendix of the two cut reports, in the Blu-ray.com thread e.g. here further examples were collected.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 show some specials were now produced in Great Britain but the big surprise was the announcement of a Blu-ray premiere. Since 04. November 2019 it's now available in Great Britain and the US. We're now diving deeper into the promise that the episodes will not only be elaborately restored, but also "complete and uncut on Blu-ray for the first time". In a Q&A session under their own Facebook post Network on Air wrote "the episodes have been restored to the original UK broadcast length". Shortly before the release, the listing of all special features also showed in more detail which episodes can be expected to contain new material.
The differences in season 4
Now that we have compared all 6 episodes of the 4th season in the old Sony DVD version with the new Network Blu-ray, two reports came out of it thanks to quite extensive extensions. But there is also quite a lot of bonus footage for all 6 episodes to be found separately in the special feature. This is especially interesting for the very last episode, because with "Ursula Hitler" a completely new sketch was discovered. More about this in the appendix of the cut report for episode 4x05.
There is still one general peculiarity throughout the whole box set. At the beginning of each episode there is a roughly 30-second recording from the TV studio of that time. Here a countdown for the studio audience runs down and occasionally some nice comments from the Pythons can be heard in the background. By default the Blu-ray jumps directly to chapter 2 right afterwards, but this is part of each video stream and explains the longer runtime.
The episode 4x05 compared here (Mr. Neutron) is again extended extensively in several places. Censorship should not be behind it here either, for years a clearly trimmed version of the episode was simply more common. It is noticeable that the Blu-ray is clearly based on a worse SD source in two places. In the previous seasons, such SD inserts were only placed individually in the bonus material for longer sketches.
Note: There is also an extended bit separately in the bonus section with Mr. Neutron drinking tea. Here it goes still somewhat more extensively over hairdressers, really not that exciting though.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
In this episode there is nothing special to be said about the usual film board.
00:59 / 01:26-01:52
You can see the carriage driving down the road for a much longer time, with things thrown onto the unloading area. The middle part of the shot has been tightened in the old version.
03:43 / 04:36-04:58
You can see the carriage driving around in another shot.
The off-comment starts here, which the old version already had at the previous shot. The speaker now also has some problems with the word "irrev..." which he starts saying several times.
04:21 / 05:36-05:49
Mr. Neutron enters another property, with another off-comment: "For this little neighbourhood would surely never be the same again. Nothing was ever the same in the world of Mr. Neutron."
05:50 / 07:18-07:37
Mr. Neutron listens to the couple longer, off commentary: "So, Mr. Neutron, the most powerful man in the universe, the man who could see through 10-inch steel, the man who could catch H-bombs in his teeth, sat and bided his time, surely just waiting for the moment to use his incredible powers to destroy and lay waste all around him."
11:48 / 13:35-13:41
You can see Mr. Neutron a little earlier working on the wall. The identical off commentary starts a bit earlier and is a bit longer with the same footage shortly after: "Men of weak will, who he could bend to his evil trade of world domination."
By the way, this is clearly an SD insert.
15:40 / 17:33-17:39
Palin bends down to the dog and the follow-up shot also begins a little earlier.
16:16 / 18:15-18:18
Idle speaks a little longer to the dog.
16:36 / 18:38-18:44
Idle goes away a little longer. The off commentary starts a little earlier with the old version.
16:59 / 19:07-20:07
Idle calls the secretary for much longer, so communication doesn't quite work out. Interestingly enough, the picture quality changes to clearly worse SD quality right in the middle.
Secretary: "I beg your pardon?"
Idle speaks louder: "Show him in."
Secretary: "Ah, that's what I thought you said."
Secretary: "Sorry, I didn't quite catch the last bit."
Idle: "Show him in."
Secretary: "No, no, the bit after that."
Idle: "I didn't say anything after that."
Secretary: "I'm sure you did."
Idle: "No, I didn't."
Idle: "You did, it was just one word. It doesn't matter anyway."
Secretary: "Oh, it does. You told me to write everything down."
Idle: "All right, I'll have a listen."
Idle: "I'm just gonna listen to what I said."
Secretary (band): "The Secretary of State to see you, Prime Minister."
Idle (Band): "Very well, show him in."
Secretary (Band): "I beg your pardon?"
Idle (Band): "Show him in."
Secretary: "I'm sorry? I can't hear what you said."
Idle: "I'm just listening to what I said."
Secretary: "Oh, I'm sorry."
Idle: "Oh, damn, now I've missed it."
He presses the tape again and you can hear him say several times: "I am the prime minister. I am the prime minister, I am the prime minister. I am."
Hectically he presses Stop again.
Secretary: "Oh, um, there's a Mr. Barlow to see you."
Idle: "I don't wanna see anyone."
Secretary: "I heard that perfectly."
60.4 sec (= 1:00 min)
18:55 / 22:04-22:26
Here a dialogue coach comes into the picture, who then briefly goes through the right emphasis with Jones and Idle.
Coach: "No, no, no, you guys! It's, Okay! More round on the Oh."
Jones: "Oh, I see."
Idle: "Okay! Is that better?"
Coach: "That's better, that's good."
Coach: "No! Okay!"
Idle: "Oh, sorry, love, I wasn't doing the voice there.
Coach: "Oh, I see. Okay, carry on.
Idle: "Okay. Okay!"
19:40 / 23:11-23:22
Palin sits longer at the table and the dialogue coach joins him again, but is chased away by him. The camera moves towards Palin.
Finally, here is a short look at "Ursula Hitler", the complete bonus sketch for episode 4x06 (Party Political Broadcast). Idle announces part 8 of the series about the British housewife Ursula Hitler and when Jones comes into the picture, the corresponding cutaway follows. Ursula was a harmless apiarist who suddenly received a letter in 1938 that she should withdraw her troops from Poland. She simply threw the letter away and therefore possibly caused the years of war.
Jones is facing her with a weapon and asks how the war affected her beekeeping activities. This is followed by some anecdotes about beekeeping. Suddenly a shot is fired and Jones goes down. Behind him a man waves and finally the blue "political broadcast" board is shown again. Palin has to laugh several times while reading aloud.
165 sec (= 2:45 min)