Friday, July 22, 2011

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail; comedy, UK, 1975; D: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam; S: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones
England, Middle Ages. King Arthur and his servant arrive to a fortress and enter, but nobody recognizes them. Still, Arthur gathers a mass of Knights, from Lancelot to Bedevere. On a meadow, God appears before them and gives them an assignment: to find the Holly Grail. On their long journey, the meet a blood-thirsty rabbit and various wackos, until the police in the end arrests Arthur for murder.

Viewers annoyed by too serious movie depictions of King Arthur will surely enjoy in the 2nd Monty Python film, "The Holly Grail": this hilarious grotesque is a grand spoof on sagas, legends, myths and theatrical cliches of knights, much more inspiring than Python's last film "The Meaning of Life". Those unfamiliar with the Pythons will need some time to "adjust" to their frequency, but once they get use to it the movie will turn out to be a blast: unlike numerous comedies that are just pretending to be funny, "The Holly Grail" is funny. It is a howlingly funny comedy of the absurd, achieving laughs through dialogues, movements, slapstick, exaggerated situations or simple directorial intervention. For instance, in one scene there is this golden dialogue: "Who is that guy?" - "The King!" - "How do you know?" - "He hasn't got shit all over him!" while another line gives a genius comment on Excalibur ("Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!"). The scene where a boring historian is walking on a meadow and pretentiously giving a lecture about King Arthur until some knight passes by on a horse and sacks him is a riot; the sequence where the knights are dancing and jumping on the table while geese are flying above them is a comical 'tour-de-force' sight whereas even one simple movement, the where one knight constantly raises his visor up and down on his helmet just to say one word, slowly advances into a joke that will sooner or later cause the viewers to burst into laughter. A fantastic fun, despite an occasional empty, too abstract or bizarre scene.


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