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Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection (Remastered)

When John Cleese joined forces with the other members of Monty Python, he was the most recognized face in the bunch, having made his name on shows such as The Frost Report, Marty and At Last The 1948 Show. And by the time he parted ways with Python, he was a bona fide star. As you would expect, the BBC were willing to do anything to keep their comic actor bringing in viewers. So in 1975, they gave him free reign to conceive, write, produce and star in a new series.

The end result, Fawlty Towers, is one the most beloved programs of all time and a show that presaged the current strain of uncomfortable comedy in England (Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are quite vocal about the influence this had on The Office and Extras). As well, it holds up beautifully some 35 years after its initial appearance on the air.

Although the complete series has found its way to DVD before, what makes this set so special is not only the enhanced picture quality which does reverse the muddy trend of previous home video releases, but also the rare treat of hearing Cleese comment on each of the 12 episodes. His commentary tracks illuminate a great deal about the writing work that he and then-wife Connie Booth (she co-wrote and starred in the series as Polly, one of Fawlty Towers’ put upon employees) put into the series, but also provides some fascinating background information into the actors on the show and the inspiration behind various episodes.

This set also comes with a bonus disc of interviews with Cleese, Booth and fellow co-stars Prunella Scales (Sybil Fawlty) and Andrew Sachs (Manuel), outtakes, and a short documentary on Torquay – the seaside town that the series was based on – and the hotel that inspired both the character of Basil Fawlty and the hotel itself.

December 28, 2009 - Posted by | 1, DVD review | , , , ,

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