Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975 Gilliam, T. Jones
It is the Monty Python clan’s first narrative feature film and it is absolutely hilarious. Gilliam’s feature debut as well as he co-directed with Terry Jones
Makes for a nice pairing with Woody’s comedy Love and Death which came out in 1975, too. These are comedies so sophisticated (in spots, it certainly isn’t all sophistication) you needed to see Ingmar Bergman first to understand some of the jokes—here we have the Swedish subtitles in the opening and The Seventh Seal scene- the scene of the flagellants in black cloaks (but here they hit themselves on the head with wooden boards).
They openly mock sacred text and canon ( good practice for Life of Brian)—but they’re also mocking form here by throwing in animation, openly questioning if they should cut out a scene (the whole “get on with it” running joke), throwing up the “intermission” title with 10 minutes left
Highbrow social satire and critiques mixed with lowbrow slapstick– often right next to each other. There a hysterical debate about class and system of governments following by Arthur cutting off all four limbs of an enemy (clapping along to the sound of a coconut instead of a horse in-between- haha).
There are a few very nice shots using the castle set pieces but Gilliam would obviously develop from here as a visual artist. The main praise here is for the writing and the creativity thumbing its nose at traditional form
The individual tales of the knights and their background show the trope’s talent for shorts
It is hard not to think of The Marx Brothers and Duck Soup
Glad to see this make the archives. I could be remembering incorrectly, but I thought I saw a comment a little while ago saying you didn’t think it was very good – what do you think changed on this watch?
Also love the note on the Bergman references. It wasn’t until my recent viewing of the Seventh Seal that I even made the connection.
@Declan- I think this is my only comment on it previously- on the 1975 archives comments – ” have to see it again. I don’t feel comfortable commenting. It was 20 years ago. I do love Life of Brian- very good.”
Hmm I must have misremembering then
Interesting review, one would think you would rate it higher since many hold it in high esteem, how do you compare this movie in terms of dialogue with Annie Hall? or even Big Lebowski
@Aldo- I’d put it below Annie Hall and Big Lebowski in every way essentially- including dialogue. I mean it is hilarious. But there are a lot of films simply going for more. I can rip through 15 films from 1975 (admittedly a special year) pretty easily before getting to this one
This is quite funny but pales in comparison to Life of Brian. I do think some of the scenes here are the funniest things ever seen on screen but unfortunately the ending is extremely disappointing. I know they went over budget so they had to do that ending but it was disappointing when I first saw it.
Is Monty Python’s Life of Brian(1979)in the archives?
@Malith- it is– it is for 1979 and on the top 100 of the 1970’s list
Is there a page on Life of Brian(1979)?Feels like a miss when both Holy Grail(1975) and The Meaning of Life(1983)have one.
@Malith– no miss here- Life of Brian isn’t directed (or co-directed) by Gilliam like the other two. I completed the Gilliam study (well– still waiting for the availability of Zero Theorem)
But isn’t the three Monty Python films the only 3 archivable films of Terry Jones?Gilliam had a hand in the screenplay if I am correct.It is the best of the three for me.
OK OK.Life of Brian isn’t part of the filmography of Terry Gilliam.But I’d just like to see a review for all three Monty Python films,(Seperate from the Gilliam study).
@Malith- For sure- I want to get to it as well. I was explaining why I skipped it during the Gilliam study