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Fawlty Towers Set

John Cleese , Prunella Scales    VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 64.98
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Basil Fawlty, as created and performed by John Cleese, is the rudest, most boorish, most hilariously obnoxious man on the face of the planet. What a natural for a TV sitcom! His screen wife, Sybil (Prunella Scales), put it best in the episode "The Psychiatrist": "You're either crawling all over them, licking their boots, or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder." He mockingly replies, "Just trying to enjoy myself, dear." With his gangly frame and contortionist abilities, Cleese brilliantly punctuates Basil's outrageous faux pas with absurd gymnastics and turns Three Stooges-style pokes and kicks into a slapstick ballet. Scales's Sybil is the genial but obliviously chatty voice of reason and Andrew Sachs mangles the English language as the Spanish bellhop Manuel, whose struggles with simple directions results in comic lunacy reminiscent of Robert Benigni. After a six-episode run in 1975, Cleese and cowriter and costar Connie Booth (who plays Polly, the maid all too often pulled into Basil's ridiculous plans) reunited the cast in 1979 for another six episodes without missing a punch line. The four-volume collection contains all 12 shows, interspersed with interview segments featuring Cleese discussing the genesis of the series and anecdotes about the individual episodes. Remember to watch the opening credits of each show to spot the creative misspellings on the hotel sign (my favorite: "Fatty Owls"). --Sean Axmaker


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British comedy at it's best Aug. 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Great fun if you understand British humor and enjoy slapstick comedy that involves unlucky accidents and unfortunate situations for Basil. I love this dvd set...I only wish they had made more episodes!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star Laughs Jan. 10 2007
By Graeme
Format:DVD
A must own for all Cleese fans. The sheer energy it must have taken to film an episode may explain the regrettably short run. I've watched them over and over and still laugh out loud! I'd have to say that Fawlty Towers ranks amoung the very best British comedies ever produced.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checking in? Dec 5 2005
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Come visit the worst-run hotel in the whole of western Europe (well, except for that place in Eastbourne...)
In a field with many top contenders, 'Fawlty Towers' remains my favourite of all 'Britcoms' - situation comedies originating on British television. Fawlty Towers has a cult following decades after the originals aired; it is sometimes hard to believe that there are but 12 episodes, six hours total. The regular cast is led by John Cleese, veteran of the famous Monty Python comedy troupe, as the irrepressible Basil Fawlty, titular head of the hotel with dreams of class and glory; Prunella Scales is his long-suffering and hardworking wife, Sybil, who recognises that while Basil may think 'the sky's the limit!', in fact, '22 rooms is the limit'. Connie Booth (Cleese's real-life wife) played the level-headed and sensible, overworked maid Polly, and in a role matched only by Fawlty's own bizarre manner, Andrew Sachs plays the loveable and ever-incompetent Spanish waiter, Manuel (he's from Barcelona...). Ballard Berkeley makes Ballard Berkeley makes a regular appearance as the Major, a retired long-term resident at the hotel. Brian Hall joined the cast for the second season as the not-quite-gourmet chef, Terry.
From the very first episode (first aired in 1975) featured a social-climbing Fawlty as perhaps the most rude and insufferable hotel manager in existence, in the resort town of Torquay, on the Channel coast of Britain.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version yet Jan. 4 2010
By Dogen
Format:DVD
Is this the second or third time's it's been "remastered" for DVD? I've been buying this since VHS days and it's never looked better. Cleese's commentary tracks are like listening to a clinic on the subject of farce (except way more entertaining than that sounds). Since this will never come out on Blu-ray it's the best it will ever be.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're stuck with it! May 16 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Nothing really needs to be said about this classic British sitcom, except that it contains some of the most brilliant, most hilarious, and most humiliatingly ghastly moments in the entire history of television.

And "Fawlty Towers Complete Collection" brings together the entire series in all its embarrassing avalanchal glory. It's one of those universally funny TV shows, all about the undignified exploits of a perpetually hostile, repressed and tetchy hotel manager, and the more competant staff who try to keep thngs sane, written with demented zeal ("That's Brahms! Brahms' Third Racket!") and excellent comic acting.

Basil (John Cleese) and Sybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales) run a moderately-sized hotel in Torquay, with the assistance of the clever waittress Polly (Connie Booth) and the Spanish waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs) whose grasp of English is a work in progress. The hotel is home to a dotty old soldier, fluttery spinsters, and a revolving door of very dissatisfied customers.

Basil Fawlty (Cleese) puts out a snotty ad to attract a "better class of customer," which attracts a pleasant aristocrat. Basil fawns revoltingly over the man, neglecting the other guests. But savvy waittress Polly (Connie Booth) discovers that another guest (who Basil snubs because he's Cockney) is a member of the CID -- and that Basil is in danger of handing his valuable coins over to a con man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!! Feb. 23 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Superb acting, and comedic timing is just bang on - every episode is gold! My only complaint is that not more of them were made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Show but Sloppy DVD Collection Dec 14 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
POSITIVES: These classic episodes are even more spectacular on crystal-clear DVDs, most of the interviews are interesting, and there are a few good special features (for example, the documentary on Torquay and the real-life nasty hotel manager who served as the model for Basil Fawlty).
NEGATIVES: The people who interviewed the cast members, and the people who provided the episode commentaries, seemed to be totally unprepared for their job, and appeared to be making up their questions and comments as they went along.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Andrew Sachs is a quiet, intelligent, dignified stage actor with a British accent, completely unrecognizable as the the goofy Spanish bellman/waiter he plays in the series!
MOST UNPLEASANT SURPRISE: Andrew Sachs's interviewer never once asked him to do any lines in his goofy "Manuel" voice and character, so how do we know it was really him? It's kind of like interviewing Mel Blanc and never asking him to do Bugs Bunny.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars John Cleese Superb
You cannot beat John Cleese for comedy. This series had very few episodes but each one was extremely funny. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars ... shot this series on film (like SEINFELD) instead of crappy British...
They should've shot this series on film (like SEINFELD) instead of crappy British videotape (like ARE YOU BEING SERVED?).
Published 11 days ago by Brian Hiltz
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest show ever
Absolute classic!
Published 1 month ago by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Fawlty Towers - What can I say!
A treasure trove of English humour at its best - a little dated perhaps but still well worth the price!
Published 1 month ago by Tony Maxwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again I have enjoyed watching some of the funniest skits by the...
Once again I have enjoyed watching some of the funniest skits by the masters of comedy.
If you like British humour this is a must for your library.
Published 1 month ago by Duncan Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic!!
This is a classic! British humour has to beat all, and this is no exception. Had the VHS set some years back and when this set came on sale I had to have it to add to my... Read more
Published 1 month ago by RedSkye
5.0 out of 5 stars Be prepared to sit and laugh for a while.
These are some of the funniest shows I have ever watched. You wonder if Basil Fawlty can get into any more trouble and he never disappoints. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Solomon David Dyson
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME VALUE!!!!!
AWESOME VALUE!!!!!
Published 1 month ago by gertrude mcisaac
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Totally happy with it.
Published 1 month ago by LSTucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious :)
Fabulous!! Hilarious!!! Bought 2 copies at a great price... 1 for my husband and 1 for a friend. John Cleese is amazing!!
Published 1 month ago by 88Tanya
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