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Monty Python in France

Started by Spiny Norman, November 25, 2021, 07:09:40 PM

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Spiny Norman

Nobody expected the French cameo!


Glebe

Great find, never saw this before! Cleese either not arsed or busy elsewhere. As suggested in the YT comments, don't think think this is mentioned in Palin's diaries?

Andy147

Cleese had left Python at that point, until he rejoined for Holy Grail.

Ant Farm Keyboard

The narrator is Salvatore Adamo, a popular Belgian crooner in the 70s and 80s. Terry Jones is dubbed by Roger Carel, who passed away last year and who voiced an incredible number of characters and actors for decades, with a range that went to Charlie Chaplin in The Dictator to Kermit the Frog and included Astérix in nearly all animated films, C-3PO, a lot of Disney characters (almost every voice from Winnie the Pooh) or Benny Hill, who was a fan of his performances.

Monty Python Flying Circus remained unreleased in France until the early nineties, when it aired during summer mornings on a public national network (as part of an educational program that also offered The Avengers in English, including black & white seasons that hadn't been broadcast in decades). They actually first used subtitles made available by the Belgian French-speaking television, which had decided to reference a ton of middle-sized Belgian towns instead of the British original locations, in a mediocre attempt at adapting it. It naturally confused the French audience a lot more than the comedy, as every proper Monty Python film had actually been released here at this point.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

^ Interesting stuff that, cheers!

Also interesting to see all of the Pythons ( not just Idle) with girly hair, and Eric Idle gamely speaking yer actual French ( quite well) at the start of the clip.
Bit disingenuous of them to purport for Mrs Idle to be a genuine member of the troupe though ( I'm assuming Carol Cleveland wasnae available), but it's nice that they gave her the role as the receptionist in the argument sketch ( not actually performed by La Cleveland in the original, of course), that's probably the longest sustained speaking part she did for Python.

Spiny Norman

Quote from: Lisa Jesusandmarychain on November 26, 2021, 07:49:59 AMEric Idle gamely speaking yer actual French ( quite well) at the start of the clip.
Ah, yes, but it probably helped that he had a book to read it from!

Spiny Norman

Quote from: Ant Farm Keyboard on November 26, 2021, 02:48:06 AMThe narrator is Salvatore Adamo, a popular Belgian crooner in the 70s and 80s. Terry Jones is dubbed by Roger Carel, who passed away last year and who voiced an incredible number of characters and actors for decades, with a range that went to Charlie Chaplin in The Dictator to Kermit the Frog and included Astérix in nearly all animated films, C-3PO, a lot of Disney characters (almost every voice from Winnie the Pooh) or Benny Hill, who was a fan of his performances.

Monty Python Flying Circus remained unreleased in France until the early nineties, when it aired during summer mornings on a public national network (as part of an educational program that also offered The Avengers in English, including black & white seasons that hadn't been broadcast in decades). They actually first used subtitles made available by the Belgian French-speaking television, which had decided to reference a ton of middle-sized Belgian towns instead of the British original locations, in a mediocre attempt at adapting it. It naturally confused the French audience a lot more than the comedy, as every proper Monty Python film had actually been released here at this point.
Just out of curiosity: how did you know, or did you simply recognise his voice?

Some more facts:
Adamo (Italian-Belgian) is still alive and singing today. The Pythons were always popular with the musicians.
In fact, this video was directed by Adrien Maben, also known for Pink Floyd at Pompei.

Ant Farm Keyboard

Roger Carel, regardless of his range, had a very distinguishable, somewhat nasal, voice. And like almost every kid in France for decades, I grew up hearing his voice in half the cartoons that were shown on TV at the time... and on the Benny Hill Show. Then I googled for confirmation and found a Twitter thread that mentioned it... while realizing it was started by some friend of mine who had also shared it on Facebook at the same time, which I had actually half-forgotten about.
Roger Carel even dubbed Jerry Lewis on one of his two French-speaking films he did in the 80s. I thought that he did the voice in the terrible and offensive one, but it turns out he actually dubbed him only in the terrible but bland one.

Anyway, it would be hard to miss Salvatore Adamo, who has been a popular singer in French-speaking countries for an eternity, even if I would be unable to name more than one song he's sung.

Now, for the Python themselves, as I said we never had Flying Circus until 1991, as opposed to Belgium, which apparently got it in the late seventies. And we didn't have any particular incentive to get the albums released here.
And Now For Something Different was originally released three years after the US in a dubbed version under the title Pataquesse. But Holy Grail, Life of Brian and possibly Live At Hollywood Bowl were released quite soon after the British release, because of director/producer Yves Robert (The Tall Blonde Man with One Black Shoe) who was an early fan and was bold enough to offer the films only in English, with French subs. Robert also handled the first two solo films by Terry Gilliam, and put out everything on VHS in the 80s (for a while, these were some of the only non-arthouse films you could rent or buy in their original language). Another huge fan was cult cartoonist Marcel Gotlib, as he and Terry Gilliam were mutually appreciative of each other's work and were longtime friends. So by the time The Meaning of Life came out, Python had a dedicated fan base appreciative of their comedy, rather than being just the weird troupe that some people had seen for ten minutes introduced by Adamo a decade earlier and promptly forgotten.
Still, I'm not sure that the films were shown on French TV (mainstream networks would never show subtitled movies on primetime), apart maybe The Meaning of Life on premium network Canal+.

One of the earliest times I was exposed to Python was well after these films were released, as I was too young then (and my family didn't have a VCR), but some talk show screened a stage version of Colin "Bomber" Harris vs Colin "Bomber" Harris in French. As I've checked a little while writing this message, it would be 1990, when a couple of Swiss people put together an adaptation in French of the live act, without asking for permission first. The show was a hit in Switzerland, but shortly after it moved to Paris, lawyers heard about it and shut it down.
And then I could see some of the episodes on German TV, in English but with German subtitles I couldn't understand (and I wasn't either fluent in English then).
And finally there was this morning show hosted by a British expatriate, Alex Taylor, who screened the first two series and the first three or four episodes from the third one during August 1991. With the early subs in "Belgian".

Spiny Norman

Quote from: Ant Farm Keyboard on November 26, 2021, 11:49:04 PMRoger Carel, regardless of his range, had a very distinguishable, somewhat nasal, voice. And like almost every kid in France for decades, I grew up hearing his voice in half the cartoons that were shown on TV at the time... and on the Benny Hill Show. Then I googled for confirmation and found a Twitter thread that mentioned it... while realizing it was started by some friend of mine who had also shared it on Facebook at the same time, which I had actually half-forgotten about.
Roger Carel even dubbed Jerry Lewis on one of his two French-speaking films he did in the 80s. I thought that he did the voice in the terrible and offensive one, but it turns out he actually dubbed him only in the terrible but bland one.

Anyway, it would be hard to miss Salvatore Adamo, who has been a popular singer in French-speaking countries for an eternity, even if I would be unable to name more than one song he's sung.

Now, for the Python themselves, as I said we never had Flying Circus until 1991, as opposed to Belgium, which apparently got it in the late seventies. And we didn't have any particular incentive to get the albums released here.
And Now For Something Different was originally released three years after the US in a dubbed version under the title Pataquesse. But Holy Grail, Life of Brian and possibly Live At Hollywood Bowl were released quite soon after the British release, because of director/producer Yves Robert (The Tall Blonde Man with One Black Shoe) who was an early fan and was bold enough to offer the films only in English, with French subs. Robert also handled the first two solo films by Terry Gilliam, and put out everything on VHS in the 80s (for a while, these were some of the only non-arthouse films you could rent or buy in their original language). Another huge fan was cult cartoonist Marcel Gotlib, as he and Terry Gilliam were mutually appreciative of each other's work and were longtime friends. So by the time The Meaning of Life came out, Python had a dedicated fan base appreciative of their comedy, rather than being just the weird troupe that some people had seen for ten minutes introduced by Adamo a decade earlier and promptly forgotten.
Still, I'm not sure that the films were shown on French TV (mainstream networks would never show subtitled movies on primetime), apart maybe The Meaning of Life on premium network Canal+.

One of the earliest times I was exposed to Python was well after these films were released, as I was too young then (and my family didn't have a VCR), but some talk show screened a stage version of Colin "Bomber" Harris vs Colin "Bomber" Harris in French. As I've checked a little while writing this message, it would be 1990, when a couple of Swiss people put together an adaptation in French of the live act, without asking for permission first. The show was a hit in Switzerland, but shortly after it moved to Paris, lawyers heard about it and shut it down.
And then I could see some of the episodes on German TV, in English but with German subtitles I couldn't understand (and I wasn't either fluent in English then).
And finally there was this morning show hosted by a British expatriate, Alex Taylor, who screened the first two series and the first three or four episodes from the third one during August 1991. With the early subs in "Belgian".
What about The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine? That was partially brodcast in France I think, maybe in other shows. Included Gilliam animations. :)


Come to think about it, is there any chance at all that you'd know someone who might have taped "Assaulted nuts" off the Arte channel back in the 1990s? Unlike big hits this is amazingly hard to find. Six episodes made it to the internet (legal even, I think) recently but 7 remain missing... Casse-noisettes, it might have been called?

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

" Assaulted Nuts", scripted by those " End Of Part One" blokes, starring Tim Brooke- Taylor, Cleo Roccos, Daniel Peacock, Newman from offa " Seinfeld", and a cameoing Jilly Johnson with her knockers out? That One?

Spiny Norman

Quote from: Lisa Jesusandmarychain on November 28, 2021, 07:47:06 AM" Assaulted Nuts", scripted by those " End Of Part One" blokes, starring Tim Brooke- Taylor, Cleo Roccos, Daniel Peacock, Newman from offa " Seinfeld", and a cameoing Jilly Johnson with her knockers out? That One?
Yes. Reminiscent of The 1948 Show in some ways... Barry Cryer was also writing for it...

So the second series replaced TBT with Emma Thompson, but that was never shown in the UK... But it seems it was shown in various countries including Finland and France (Arte).

I once saw a full set of the surviving "It's Marty [Feldman]" episodes which were recorded from Arte around the same time, so I remain hopeful.

Six are on youtube. (But not the rest.)

Ant Farm Keyboard

According to the French version of Wikipedia, Assaulted Nuts (but apparently just the first series) aired in France in the 80s, in the Sunday 8pm slot of the third network which was usually devoted to Benny Hill. As there was only a definite amount of Benny Hill episodes that were going in reruns, the network would try to mix them with other sketch comedy shows in the half-hour format, even airing, pre-Crocodile Dundee, various episodes of the Paul Hogan Show. And I remember distinctly a duet which was either British or Australian, two guys in their 40s or 50s who had some long-form sketches, including a whole spoof of Citizen Kane where Kane (who had affairs with all of the Radio City Rockettes) wouldn't die because of how rich he was. Around 1995 or 1996, they briefly hit a vein with Rowan Atkinson, airing Mister Bean and The Thin Blue Line. Not the Nine O'Clock News was shown in a poor translation on a different network.
But the third network, FR3, would always go back to Benny Hill, from 1980 to 2000. Hill loved France and was a fan of Roger Carel's dubbing and ad-libs.

Then, in the early nineties French-German cultural public network Arte started to air half-hour British comedy shows with subs on a daily or weekly base. There was The New Statesman, Monty Python Flying Circus (in its entirety and with real subtitles), KYTV, Harry Enfield, Hale and Pace, The Fast Show, some episodes of The Comic Strip Presents..., a Robbie Coltrane special (split in various parts), and a lot of adjacent Python shows such as Marty/It's Marty, How to Irritate People, Fawlty Towers, or The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It. Arte's ratings were however very low at the time, and I have no idea about how many series of Assaulted Nuts they showed.


Spiny Norman

Quote from: Ant Farm Keyboard on November 29, 2021, 01:09:34 AMThen, in the early nineties French-German cultural public network Arte started to air half-hour British comedy shows with subs on a daily or weekly base. There was The New Statesman, Monty Python Flying Circus (in its entirety and with real subtitles), KYTV, Harry Enfield, Hale and Pace, The Fast Show, some episodes of The Comic Strip Presents..., a Robbie Coltrane special (split in various parts), and a lot of adjacent Python shows such as Marty/It's Marty, How to Irritate People, Fawlty Towers, or The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It. Arte's ratings were however very low at the time, and I have no idea about how many series of Assaulted Nuts they showed.
Still, if you think you know anyone who might have taped it... it's kinda rare, possibly wiped.