Very Naughty Boys by Robert Sellers

very naughty boysThe 1980s decade of films were dominated by Hollywood blockbusters and sequels, but also during this time, from across the pond in Britain, a couple of films would make it’s way over, like the “Life of Brian”, “Time Bandits”, “Mona Lisa” and “The Missionary.”  All these films was brought to film-goers by an unlikely friendship between a famous musician and Wall Street-type accountant/lawyer forming an independent film company.  During the ten-year run, HandMade Films produced 23 films and made it’s own mark in British film history.

Author Robert Sellers chronicles the rise and fall of HandMade Films and weaves together a drama true story through his various interviews with the likes of John Cleese, Sean Connery, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones.  It all begins in Tunisia 1978, as the Monty Python team begins shooting the “Life of Brian,” EMI boss Lord Delfont gets a hold of the script and cannot believe EMI is producing an offensive religious film.  EMI pulls out, leaving the Monty Python team desperately seeking funds.  Through the grapevine, ex-Beatles band member George Harrison steps in and drops $4 million dollars to finish the movie.

The old couple forms between George Harrison who handles the artistic and creative side, while his accountant Denis O’Brien handles the business and legal side of things.  At first Handmade was created for tax purposes, but dumb luck falls upon the two Hollywood novices, with the growing box office receipts and rave reviews of their first two projects, the “Life of Brian” and “Time Bandits” help cement Handmade Films as a strong independent production company.  Author Robert Sellers also provides back story of how George Harrison and Denis O’Brien meet and become friends.  The book describes all the films Handmade produced and the early days Handmade Films when it started in a tiny office room and a staff of one.  Author Robert Sellers provides insight on not just the main players, but interviews the Monty Python team, cast and crew involved with Handmade Films.

When reading “Very Naughty Boys” with each page flip, you feel like you are watching a documentary film unfold before you.  The trials and tribulations of clashing egos, the power struggles, the fame, the money, and just everything going crazy, especially when Handmade produces “Shanghai Surprise” starring Sean Penn and Madonna in 1985.  This is a great read for film buffs and fans of British cinema.


Paperback:  Very Naughty Boys – The Amazing True Story of HandMade Films

Author:  Robert Sellers

Publisher:  Titan Books

MSRP:  $14.95USD

Available:  Now

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