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Not Only...But Also... Best of
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Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were a major part of the new comedy era in the '60s and '70s. When the pair wrote and conceived Not Only... But Also a great partnership developed. They would talk into a microphone and then record and review their impromptu speech developing parts that had promise and discarding the rest. The scripts were not written in stone and half of the charm of the show is the pair's ad-libs and the laughter they were trying to hold back. Six episodes have been compiled from what remains in the BBC Archive of this classic comedy. Guests include John Lennon and Barry Humphries.System Requirements:Running Time: 170 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: TELEVISION/BBC UPC: 883929024131 Manufacturer No: 1000039478
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For fans, old and new alike, it breaks your heart when you read in the enclosed booklet that the BBC erased [wiped is the technical term] the master video tapes in the early 1970's due to some silly notion that they, the BBC, couldn't afford new reels of videotape and Peter Cook himself offered to BUY NEW REELS in order to keep the BBC from wiping the tapes, hence, the program, Not Only..But Also, would be eliminated like it never had been in the first place.
I don't really know how the material on this DVD survived, it must have hidden itself in a warehouse somewhere under the title "BBC Documentary:
How To Tell When It's Raining".
Shame on them for destroying the masters of this funny, funny, series.
Now, with both men gone forever, if you enjoyed their unique humor as I have, buy this DVD and enjoy what once was. We'll never see their likes again. Darn it!
Working from memory it looks as if all the material from the videotape has been included here EXCEPT for the Pete & Dud reunion sketch they recorded for the release of the video. The sketch is short, not terribly great, but it was nice to see the two of them together again. That's the reason for my four star review instead of five; that sketch should have been included here.
Having said that what's here is quite good. All of their most famous sketches from the series are here (nuns on trampolines, a handful of Pete & Dud sketches, Superthunderstingcar, Peter as Garbo, teaching ravens to fly underwater, Peter as a dad having a sex talk with his boy Dudley) and it's a lot of fun. A bit less fun are the jazz trio pieces and the female singers that occasionally perform with them. There's also a somewhat interesting bonus feature entitled 'Success Story' that includes some nice clips (One Leg Too Few) and an interview with the boys from the 1970s.
All in all it's great slice of mid-60s British sketch comedy. Although Monty Python would come along in a few short years and destroy this format, there's something very sweet, silly and ultimately quite satisfying about Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
Don't hesitate to pick up this DVD and if you enjoy it then immediately head for the 'Beyond The Fringe' disc as well. You won't be disappointed.
In any case, what survives is somewhat hit-and-miss, but much of it confirms the enduring comic genius of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Some of my favorites include "Superthunderstingcar," a hilarious parody of Gerry Anderson's stiff, on-the-cheap sci-fi puppet shows; the skit showing a nervous, stuffy upper-class father (Cook) telling his son (Moore) about the facts of life; the Leaping Nuns of Norwich, a dry run for the sublime "Bedazzled;" "Bargo," Cook's goof on Greta Garbo, which MUST be seen to be believed; and any skit featuring Pete and Dud, Cook and Moore's Cockney alter egos, particularly the one in which they complain about constantly being molested by various Hollywood glamor queens. We also get generous portions of Moore's jazz piano, which of course is all to the good.
Watching this DVD hurt my heart a little, both because the BBC destroyed so much of Cook and Moore's legacy and because we will never see them again. But this DVD of "Not Only...But Also" is still a joyous event for anyone who appreciates the best of British comedy.
So, no need to repeat what others here say. There are several screamingly funny sketches that will make anyone's all time top 100, much to enjoy, an overabundance of the Dudley Moore Trio, and a few bombs that just don't work. (And I wish that idiotic laugh track had been deleted. Ouch..... it is painful.) Overall though, way more good than bad. If you don't get fourteen bucks worth of entertainment from Superthunderstingcar you are comatose. Buy this to help satisfy my selfish desire to get the remainder unleashed some day....