Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Week of Gilliam: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Hey folks welcome back to the week. So this week I was thinking of humor, pretensous behavior and clever writing so of course I immediately thought of Terry Gilliam (And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Jabberwocky, Life of Brian, Time Bandits, The Meaning of Life, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and 12 Monkeys), writer/director/animator/actor/Monty Python alumni. Between the hiatus between the 3rd and 4th season of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Pythons decide to poke fun at the Arthurian legends of Camelot. This is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Second unit loathes them all. You can just tell.

Before we get into this, yes I love this flick. It was a staple of junior and senior high and yes, my friends and I all quoted from it on a regular basis much to my parents' substantial patience. Where else are you going to see the foley ( ADR and sound effect) effect being used as horses cantering on the ground by Gilliam as Patsy clunking a couple coconut halves? The place. England. The year. 932 A.D. King Arthur (Graham Chapman of At Last the 1948 Show, The Magic Christian, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Odd Job, Life of Brian, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, The Meaning of Life, Yellowbeard, Still Crazy Like a Fox and Stage Fright) and Patsy attempt to recruit men that will take up arms to defend of Britain. After being mocked profusely of his lack of knowledge based in coconuts and swallows, Arthur moves on to find able bodied men for his quest to Camelot. Encountering an awesome swordmaster simply known as the Black Knight does not bear fruit to the likes Arthur would appreciate. For one, the Black Knight is a complete loony. 

Gods, I just sneezed!

 Making their way to a village under going a witch trial they meet with Sir Bedevere, Arthur and Patsy find the first knight to join them. With a bit of fast forward others join in their mission to defend the realm...only to find tis a silly place. Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese of Life of Brian, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, The Meaning of Life, A Fish Called Wanda, Erik the Viking, Fierce Creatures, The World Is Not Enough, Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Trolls) Sir Gallhad the Pure (Michael Palin of Twice a Fortnight, Broaden Your Mind, Complete and Utter History of Britain, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, The Missionary, Brazil, A Fish Called Wanda, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, The Meaning of Life, The Wipers Times and Clangers) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot (Eric Idle of Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Odd Job, Life of Brian, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, The Meaning of Life, Yellowbeard, The Transformers: The Movie, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Nearly Departed, Discworld, Discworld II: Mortality Bytes!, Hercules, Suddenly Susan and Ella Enchanted)

So were we clear whether or not coconuts could migrate?

What a better time that be greeted by God voiced by Graham Chapman charging the Knights of the Round Table with acquiring the Holy Grail at the request of God. So of course you best hop to it. I mean, I for one would not relish the idea of being turned into a pillar of salt. With barriers such as snooty French soldiers, a three-headed giant and the Dreaded Knights who say Ni, our heroes know that this very well could be the story of the ages.

Will our brave knights find their way?? Can the Grail be all its cracked up to be?? Are the Psalms really that depressing??

The brilliance of having equally screwy for your cast means you can use them as you have in the troupe for the show so they are basically performing skits throughout the film. The wisdom to drag poor Connie Booth (Dickens of London, Fawlty Towers, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Story of Ruth, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Every Breath You Take, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Floodtide, The Tomorrow People, Faith and The Bucccaneers) and Carol Cleveland (Now Look Here, Old Dracula, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Brute, Life of Brian, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, The Meaning of Life, Too Much Too Young and The Search for Simon) brings in additional love from the Python fans.

With a budget of $400,000 The Holy Grail racked in more than $5 million in 1975, as far as I know has been on of the most sought after rentals since it was on Betamax, VHS and Laserdisc. The comedy is mostly in the background. Peasants flogging cats against poles, monks thumping their own foreheads with wooden idols, farmers collecting dirt as if it was something rare, there is a scarce level of intelligence just creating this absurd world and no one batting an eye on that sure oddity?

Michael Palin played the most characters tallying to twelve different roles. Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Film is Michael Palin's son William as a wee baby. Fans of Monty Python include in our ranks are the bands Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Genesis. They also ponied up some production funds for the Pythons as well.

Careful. That vixen probably has a comfy chair.