Release: Nov 18, 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
- 1 cut
- Duration: 3,8 sec
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 1
Now we've compared all 13 episodes of the 1st season in the old Sony DVD version with the new Network Blu-ray. At least for this first season we can say that for deviations within of the episodes you can rely on the specification of "Reinstated content" in the Special Features. Only here real differences can be spotted. Each episode is otherwise almost identical to the last frame and the "Extended Ron Obvious filmed material and clean end titles footage" promised for 1x10 (Untitled) can only be found individually as a bonus. Especially with Gilliam's animations, however, the Blu-ray now shows consistently stronger colors and a larger image framing. So quality-wise it can be recommended.
But 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.
Over and above that, the opening credits of episodes 1x07 (You're No fun Any More) and 1x12 (The Naked Ant) of the old DVD started a bit too late for the music cue. The last shot of the foot was then broken off right in the middle here. On Blu-ray everything is as it should be. In episode 1x12 there is also the minimal difference in the 3rd minute that the letter shown in the old version is zoomed back a bit at the end, while the Blu-ray remains in the same position here.
The only significant deviation can be found in episode 1x02 (Sex and Violence). Compared to what still awaits you in the following seasons, this is rather unspectacular. A phone number shown on the screen was removed from all previous home cinema releases and the shot was also cut away earlier, because it is still read out. Obviously this was done to prevent eager viewers from calling the number - it belonged to the British TV star and producer David Frost, who apparently wasn't amused about the phone calls. Since the repeat showing in August 1970 this was missing, but nowadays the problem doesn't exist anymore and so the sketch can be seen again in its original form.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
As with every episode, at the beginning of the video stream you can still see the clapper board that was shown in the studio before the show started. With a normal episode start on the Blu-ray, you jump to chapter 2 or the start of the actual episode.
While in Episode 1 you can overhear a quick talk about Giliam, Episode 2 doesn't have anything special except the countdown (and some "Psst!" sounds). Note: The second episode broadcast was the first one to be recorded. Hence the different note on the clapper board.
00:36 and 01:10 / 01:06 and 01:40
The opening credits sequence of the DVD starts 0.5 sec earlier and the still image can be seen a little longer before Terry Gilliam's animated roses sprout. But the opening credits are identically longer on Blu-ray at the very end - also completely inconspicuous during normal viewing.
No time difference
Not a real deviation, but an example to illustrate: In the animation in the 20th minute (and most other ones throughout the series), the framing on Blu-ray is now clearly bigger on all sides.
27:20-27:26 / 27:50-28:00
When the true identity of the mouse fan (John Cleese) was revealed, the telephone number was missing in the previous versions. The text and font differ (upper/lower case) and it can be seen a little longer because the number is also read aloud.
Blu-ray 3.9 seconds longer