Cleese Encounters

Overview

Adored around the world by an extraordinary spread of generations, from early Monty Python fans to teenagers for whom Fawlty Towers is a cult - and who know all the Monty Python catchphrases - John Cleese is the quintessential English eccentric. Most of Cleese's admirers regard him as a sophisticated clown, like the repressed lawyer dangled by his legs from a window in A Fish Called Wanda - but he is a far more complex character than that. Others see him as one of the finest comedy writers ever, the creator, for ...
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NY 1992 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing)

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Overview

Adored around the world by an extraordinary spread of generations, from early Monty Python fans to teenagers for whom Fawlty Towers is a cult - and who know all the Monty Python catchphrases - John Cleese is the quintessential English eccentric. Most of Cleese's admirers regard him as a sophisticated clown, like the repressed lawyer dangled by his legs from a window in A Fish Called Wanda - but he is a far more complex character than that. Others see him as one of the finest comedy writers ever, the creator, for example, of Basil Fawlty, the manic hotelier who thrashed his car with the bough of a tree. Still others are interested in his insightful discussions of marriage and the nature of the family. In fact, the introverted and awkwardly tall boy (six feet, four and three-quarter inches at the age of thirteen) from the dreary English village of Weston-super-Mare nearly became a lawyer, until he discovered Cambridge and the footlights at the dawn of the Swinging Sixties. Today, after masterful roles in films like Life of Brian ("miserable little film" - Malcolm Muggeridge), Clockwise, and A Fish Called Wanda (thought to be incredibly sexy in Japan), John Cleese may at last have the answer to that tormenting question from Wanda: "Do you have any idea what it's like being English?"
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British journalist Margolis, undeterred by his subject's opposition to this biography, produces an edifying, entertaining portrait of internationally-known comedian John Cleese. Member of the Monty Python troupe, creator and star of the BBC comedy series Fawlty Towers , writer and star of the notable film A Fish Called Wanda, the towering (nearly 65) Cleese delights in mocking stuffy British authority figures. Here, we follow the development of his subversive wit during his quiet, cricket-playing adolescence to his more extroverted years at Cambridge University; although urged by parents and teachers to be a schoolmaster or barrister, Cleese preferred to target such professions with his comedy. We take a behind-the-scenes look at Monty Python's bickering members, meet Cleese's ex-wives and companions, learn of the comedian's positive views of his psychotherapy. Although Margolis must sometimes backtrack as he speeds through his roughly chronological narrative, he describes memorable comic turns--Cleese's silly walks, for example--admirably. Anecdotes, thoughtful observations and quotes collected from Cleese's acquaintances, friends and published statements make this an altogether enjoyable account. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This unauthorized biography, written by a self-described ``unreconstructed admirer'' of John Cleese, offers a respectful and well-researched--if not very meaty--profile of the most famous member of the Monty Python comedy ensemble. Margolis recounts Cleese's career as an erstwhile law student, revue sketch comedian, member of Monty Python, maker of best-selling industrial films, coauthor of pop psychology books, cocreator of the Fawlty Towers TV series and hit film A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and commercial spokesperson-for-hire. Cleese fans who aren't already familiar with these details will be fascinated to learn what a complex, enterprising, and generously talented individual this popular performer really is. For popular collections.-- Anne Sharp, Ypsilanti Dist. Lib., Mich.
Gilbert Taylor
Promoted as the "unauthorized--indeed, actively discouraged--biography" of England's top twit, John Cleese, Margolis' cullings hardly need an imprimatur. They come from the detailed press exposure, in 60 or so publications, his subject has received since "Monty Python's Flying Circus" scandalized anything with a whiff of smugness or self-importance. The author fills in blanks with a fistful of how-I-remember-Cleese interviews, which show that Cleese is actually a well-educated, cool-headed businessperson, perhaps to the chagrin of his anarcho-syndicalist comrades on the "Python" sets. He turned his arch, or slightly frazzled, sense of humor into a lucrative instructional video outfit, and flogs any number of products on television. The fact that he taught school, then read law at Cambridge and wrote briefly for "Newsweek" in the 1960s, as well as his upbringing as an only child in a hyperreticent family rather low in the class-encrusted British social system, outlines his fund of source material. Fans looking for joke upon joke had best stick to "Fawlty Tower" reruns, for Margolis delivers the backstage blather, psychological tidbits, and accumulating film/video/bibliographic oeuvre of the multitalented comic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312081621
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/21/1992
  • Pages: 272

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