Watch All of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python Animations in a Row

How it must have surprised longtime Monty Python adherents when Terry Gilliam, the group’s only American and the creator of its always cheap, usually garish, and often goofy and lewd animated sequences, went on to direct such darkly elaborate cinematic visions as Brazil and 12 Monkeys. Conversely, how it must surprise Gilliam the filmmaker’s younger fans — you can always count on his work to tap straight into the youthful imagination — to discover that, at the beginning of his career, he made all of these cheap, usually garish, and often goofy and lewd animated sequences. But like many of the silliest live-action Monty Python sketches, Gilliam’s animations (“cartoon” doesn’t seem quite the word) have a hidden intelligence all their own, and you can examine it by watching all of them, compiled into four videos: one (above), two (middle), three (bottom), four.

Gilliam began his professional life working on print comic strips, and in that form mastered his signature technique of manipulating photographic images to his much less realistic ends. The Python connections formed quickly: he used a photo of John Cleese for one of the strips he put together for Help! magazine, and when he moved to England soon after, he found work putting together animations for the Eric Idle-, Terry Jones-, and Michael Palin-featuring children’s program Do Not Adjust Your Set. This placed him well to hook up with the group at its very formation, and consequently his signature style, seemingly slapdash yet all but inimitable, became the look of Monty Python. Just imagine, watching all of Gilliam’s Python pieces strung together, what iron dedication to silliness it must have taken to complete them with the technology he would have had at hand in the seventies. To see what went into making his animated productions, simply watch this: Terry Gilliam Shows You How to Make Your Own Cutout Animation

via Room 641-A on Metafilter

Related Content:

The Best Animated Films of All Time, According to Terry Gilliam

The Miracle of Flight, the Classic Early Animation by Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam’s Debut Animated Film, Storytime

A Very Terry Gilliam Christmas: Season’s Greetings, 1968 and 2011

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los AngelesA Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



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  1. Bill Peschel says . . . | July 12, 2013 / 8:37 am

    “How it must have surprised longtime Monty Python adherents when Terry Gilliam … went on to direct such darkly elaborate cinematic visions as Brazil and 12 Monkeys.”

    Ummmm, no. Gilliam co-directed (with Pythoner Terry Jones) “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” followed by the dark comedy “Jabberwocky” only two years later.

    Let’s face it, watching in animated heads gobbling people on Python was already pretty weird. He just got better tools in the studio.

  2. Adam says . . . | July 14, 2013 / 4:19 pm

    Wow. All of his Python animations are a mere 45 minutes? Who would have thought?

  3. Adam says . . . | July 14, 2013 / 4:23 pm

    Bill, I don’t think the guy was suggesting he hadn’t directed anything PRIOR to those films – just that those films were much darker and more ambitious in scope and theme, etc. In other words, he’d directed two comedies, but it “would have surprised Python adherents,” etc., that his films went so beyond the Python aesthetic, etc.

  4. Zakuformer says . . . | July 14, 2013 / 6:19 pm

    Adam, there is a part 4 mentioned in the article. The 4 of them combine into nearly an hour’s worth of animations.

  5. andrew rich says . . . | July 15, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    Don’t forget this brilliant Terry Gilliam from the final season of FRINGE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mlYm9LsqZU

  6. andrew rich says . . . | July 15, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    Sorry, that should have read:

    Don’t forget this brilliant Terry Gilliam *tribute* from the final season of FRINGE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mlYm9LsqZU

  7. Sarah Umel says . . . | July 15, 2013 / 7:22 pm

    I do wish he would read (and do a film of) the biography of Baron Von Steuban, The Drillmaster at Valley Forge. The Baron was a lot closer to the Baron Munchausen than you might think (even having a big, spoiled dog, and being gracious to the ladies).

  8. Carl Howard says . . . | July 17, 2013 / 8:24 am

    This is NOT all of Gilliam’s animation for the show. It’s, at best, all (or most) of Series 1 from 1969, and perhaps half (or less) of Series 2 from 1970.

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