Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Well, it’s a very SILLY film, isn’t it? Perhaps the most self-consciously silly film ever made, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is for a lot of fans the pinnacle of the Pythons’ work. I tend to prefer Life of Brian, myself: I think the continuity allows us to identify with Brian’s exasperation. He’s the sane one in a world gone mad, and constantly taken aback by the fact that the world really is insane. With Grail, all the characters are just sort of silly, the world is silly, and the action is punctuated with contemporary (to 1975) police investigation actions.

A very silly movie, indeed.

From the opening credits.

Very, very silly indeed. Down to the five minutes at the very end which is just blackness and organ music, with no indication that the movie is over until the lights go up.

But it’s also quite funny. Among the most quotable sketches the group ever produced, including “Bring Out Yer Dead” (“I’m not dead yet!”), “Dennis The Peasant” (“Come see the violence inherent in the system!”), “Brave Sir Robin” (“And Sir Robin bravely ran away!”), “The Black Knight” (“It’s just a flesh wound!”) and such memorable moments as the “Camelot” song-and-dance bit that ultimately evolved into the Broadway play “Spamalot” (if I’m not mistaken, which I may be), the “Vorpal” Bunny and the Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch, the air speed of a coconut-laden swallow, and so on. Oh, and the odd, and not really very funny but ridiculously over-quoted “Knights Who Say ‘Ni'”.

Known only as RABBIT in the script.

Christened “The Vorpal Bunny” by fans.

So, yes, funny, but more like an extended episode of the show than an actual movie. The Flower really liked it, and The Boy (who had, of course, seen it before) found it as funny as before. I had a degree of suspicion toward it (memory-wise) because I saw Life of Brian first and so that was my go-to MP movie. But I did find as funny as I ever had, and maybe then some.

Shockingly low budget. I have a book around here somewhere which contains some stories about the making of it, which was apparently quite unpleasant, what with the English rain and everyone getting sick and the budgetary issues and (as I recall) Graham Chapman’s substance abuse problems.

Even greater problems, at least from a budgetary perspective, would plague Life of Brian, but George Harrison saved them there, and the rest is English Cinematic History.

So there's that.

And this movie became a hit Broadway musical written by the grinning guy.

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