History is turned on its comic head when, in tenth-century England, King Arthur travels the countryside to find knights who will join him at the Round Table in Camelot. Gathering up the men is a tale in itself but after a bit of a party at Camelot, many decide to leave only to be stopped by God, who sends them on a quest: to find the Holy Grail. After a series of individual adventures, the knights are reunited but must face a wizard named Tim the Enchanter, killer rabbits and lessons in the use of holy hand grenades. Their quest comes to an end however when the Police intervene - just what you would expect in a Monty Python movie.Written by
Terry Jones remembers some of the problems the group ran into going from TV to film. Their timing was always off when they started out. They wanted to get in as many big jokes in as early in the film as possible, not a pleasant pace for a 90 or 120 minute long film. Jones points out how the third acts of their films always have something of a dip, particularly in the energy. Jones blames audience fatigue for this. Good call. See more »
When Sir Galahad arrives at Castle Anthrax, he is told by Zoot that "8 score" (160) blondes and brunettes reside there. Later on, when Sir Lancelot comes to "rescue" him, he protests that he can handle "150" girls. See more »
In the Special Edition DVD, when you play the film, at first a film called "Dentist On the Job" starts playing, and it goes up until the end of its opening credits, then you hear someone saying that they put in the wrong film. The film stops, a quick reel change slide is put up, then the real movie starts. See more »
That same extra footage was also on the original UK pre-certificate Brent Walker Video, which also included the theatrical trailer with what sounds like Burt Kwouk doing the voice over in Chinese/Cantonese. As well as this it also included the few minutes of organ music at the end of the film. This version was released in widescreen. See more »
Written by Oliver Armstrong (pseudonym of Graham Whettam)
Published by De Wolfe Music Ltd. See more »
You'll love it or hate it
Monty Python will always be loved or hated depending on your personality. And this is Monty Python at its typical best. If you like daft jokes, killer fluffy animals, bad accents and intelligent discussions that will most likely go over your head the first time round, then you will love The Holy Grail.
The jokes vary from obvious visual puns (coconut halves to represent horses) and audio puns ("I am Roger the Shrubber") to more subtle and intelligent jokes ("I thought we were an autonomous collective" / the Witch-burning scene). The greatest thing about the Holy Grail is that there's something for everyone. No one is left out.
What many don't realise is the sophisticated intelligence behind the jokes that many of later generations don't understand (back in the Life of Brian - Romani Ite Domun - which wouldn't have such impact on the youngsters who never had to suffer through Latin classes) such as the witch burning scene, where it was true that any means possible was used to warp the natural and legal laws to create the desired result i.e. one less warty woman in the village, and how the mish-mash of Celtic tribes were suddenly forced to become a diplomacy ("Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!"). It always reminds me of Blackadder - how so many great jokes were wasted by bad timing or bad judgement on the audience's vocabulary.
And for those who can't keep up with historical jokes, there's the Black Knight, Tim, and Zoot to keep you occupied. They sure as hell make me laugh.
So if you like daft humour, go for it! But promise to check out the subtle jokes as well. It's worth the effort, and you'll learn a little about history too.
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