The Complete Ripping Yarns

ISBN 13: 9781569387894

The Complete Ripping Yarns

 
9781569387894: The Complete Ripping Yarns

Monty Python fans rejoice! This renowned BBC series, created and written by Python stalwarts Michael Palin and Terry Jones, provides more of the same surreal, bawdy, tasteless—and absolutely gut-splitting hilarity you know and love. The nine lavishly produced half-hour comedies—each starring Michael Palin—spoof the stirring adventure stories that were a staple of Edwardian schoolboy life. Plucky heroes triumph over adversity (or not) in such varied settings as Victorian London, Depression-era Yorkshire, WWII Germany, Peru, and India during the Raj.

The Episodes:

Tomkinson’s Schooldays
The Testing of Eric Olthwaite
Escape From Stalag Luft 112B
Murder at Moorstones Manor
Across the Andes by Frog
The Curse of the Claw
Whinfrey’s Last Case
Golden Gordon
Roger of the Raj

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Review:

Not as well- known as Fawlty Towers or The Rutles, Michael Palin and Terry Jones's Ripping Yarns is poised for discovery as among the best of the post-Python projects. The release of the complete series on DVD is ripping good news. Palin essays a gallery of colorful (or colorless, as in the case of one of the series' best episodes, "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite"), archetypal characters drawn from the storybook adventures that thrilled English schoolboys back in the day.


Read our interview with Michael Palin.
Palin and Jones take a Python-esque delight in turning genre convention on its head. In "Tomkinson's Schooldays," a series benchmark, woeful students must endure such corporeal punishment as being nailed to the school walls, and it is the enviable position of school bully where the real authority resides. "Murder at Moorstones Manor" presents a baffling mystery with a large body count and a rash of self-proclaimed murderers. "Whinfrey's Last Case" and "Escape From Stalag Luft 112B" are tales of wartime espionage and (attempted) derring-do. Ripping Yarns is an excellent showcase for Palin, who is at his funniest portraying characters either obsessed (a soccer fanatic in "Golden Gordon," an ill-fated car buff in "Manor," and an amateur amphibian-enthusiast in "Across the Andes by Frog") or dreadfully dull (Eric Olthwaite, who is so tedious and boring that his own father speaks French just so he won't have to communicate with him). Jones makes a brief appearance in "Schooldays," and John Cleese fleetingly cameos in "Golden Gordon" as a pedestrian. Beloved British comic actor and Richard Lester veteran Roy Kinnear (Help!, The Three Musketeers) costars in "Escape." As with Monty Python, Ripping Yarns has a tendency to get silly (in a couple of episodes, Palin hilariously strains for credibility as a hapless, caped host), but the lavishly produced yarns themselves are played to their best advantage without a nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Choose the preferred option to view these episodes without the intrusive laugh-track. --Donald Liebenson

Stills from Ripping Yarns (click for larger image)

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