DVD Release: A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 12, 2013
Price: DVD $24.99
Studio: Virgil


A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman

A Liar's Autobiography offers a colorfully animated look at Monty Python's late Graham Chapman.

The 2012 sort-of documentary comedy film A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman offers a humorous examination of the life of you-know-who, a member of the legendary British TV comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The late Chapman, the man who co-wrote Python’s immortal “Dead Parrot” sketch, became himself “demised” in 1989 at the age of 48 from throat cancer. But in seeming preparation for this event, Chapman years earlier recorded himself reading from his book A Liar’s Autobiography Vol. VI, a fictionalized account of his life published in 1980.  Now, directors Bill Jones (son of Python member Terry Jones), Jeff Simpson and Ben Timlett, with help from animators at 14 studios, have turned those tapes into a look at the very creative and very complicated Chapman. Strangely, though, the bottom line is that it’s never exactly clear what, if anything, in the film is actually true.

The film utilizes a wide range of animation techniques (some of them very Pythonesque) and new contributions from the other  members of the troupe to tell the story of Chapman. A man of deep contradictions, Chapman lived fairly openly as a gay man at a time when that was rare, but kept his serious drinking problem in the closet.

This strange R-rated film (it’s neither a doc nor a Python film, but still a little of both) opened in a limited run of U.S. theaters in November, 2012 to generally positive reviews. The New York Post’s Kyle Smith nailed it well when describing it as “a weirdly entertaining, quirky meditation about stardom, booze and ’70s excess.”

The DVD boasts over an hour of bonus features, including a behind-the-scenes featurette and an “Anatomy of a Liar” piece.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.