Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Film Review: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Unlike the other Movie Reviews that I have written so far on this blog, this is not a review of a movie that we have seen recently, instead I was reminded of it when we recently saw Spamalot.

It is, of cause, a cult classic though I have always thought that it was a bit hit and miss. Some scenes were laugh-out-loud funny while other fell completely flat.

The first scene begins:

[clop clop]
ARTHUR: Whoa there!
[clop clop]

GUARD #1: Halt! Who goes there?
ARTHUR: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle
of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeator of the Saxons, sovereign
of all England!
GUARD #1: Pull the other one!
ARTHUR: I am. And this my trusty servant Patsy.
We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights
who will join me in my court of Camelot. I must speak with your lord
and master.
GUARD #1: What, ridden on a horse?
GUARD #1: You're using coconuts!
GUARD #1: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're bangin'
'em together.
ARTHUR: So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this
land, through the kingdom of Mercea, through--
GUARD #1: Where'd you get the coconut?
ARTHUR: We found them.
GUARD #1: Found them? In Mercea? The coconut's tropical!
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
GUARD #1: Well, this is a temperate zone.
ARTHUR: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin
or the plumber may seek warmer climes in winter yet these are not
strangers to our land.
GUARD #1: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
ARTHUR: Not at all, they could be carried.

The idea of the knights miming riding on horses while their servants made clip clop sounds with two halves of a coconut was fun and original. The scene continues with the guards discussing how swallows could have carried a coconut to England.

Immediately following is the following scene:

Bring out your dead!
CUSTOMER: Here's one -- nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing -- here's your nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here -- he says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
MORTICIAN: He isn't.
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that -- it's against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go in the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
MORTICIAN: I can't take him...
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Oh, do us a favor...
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't
be long.
MORTICIAN: Naaah, I got to go on to Robinson's -- they've lost nine
CUSTOMER: Well, when is your next round?
MORTICIAN: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, isn't there
something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: I feel happy... I feel happy.
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
MORTICIAN: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
[clop clop]
MORTICIAN: Who's that then?
CUSTOMER: I don't know.
MORTICIAN: Must be a king.
MORTICIAN: He hasn't got shit all over him.

That is funny all the way through and I particularly like the ending.

The next scene, though, is my favourite:

[clop clop]
ARTHUR: Old woman!
ARTHUR: Old Man, sorry. What knight live in that castle over there?
DENNIS: I'm thirty seven.
DENNIS: I'm thirty seven -- I'm not old!
ARTHUR: Well, I can't just call you `Man'.
DENNIS: Well, you could say `Dennis'.
ARTHUR: Well, I didn't know you were called `Dennis.'
DENNIS: Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you?
ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the `old woman,' but from the behind
you looked--
DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!
ARTHUR: Well, I AM king...
DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. An' how'd you get that, eh? By
exploitin' the workers -- by 'angin' on to outdated imperialist dogma
which perpetuates the economic an' social differences in our society!
If there's ever going to be any progress--
WOMAN: Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here. Oh -- how d'you do?
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
Who's castle is that?
WOMAN: King of the who?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous
DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship.
A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.
DENNIS: That's what it's all about if only people would--
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives
in that castle?
WOMAN: No one live there.
ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?
WOMAN: We don't have a lord.
DENNIS: I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take
it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified
at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: --but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more--
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh -- who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,
[angels sing]
her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur
from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I,
Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.
[singing stops]
That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen -- 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.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power
just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just
because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd
put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that,
eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me,
you saw it didn't you?

Next is the Black Knight where Arthur hacks off all of the limbs of the Black Knight and moves on the Black Knight says:

Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow
bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you.
I'll bite your legs off!

Next follows the Witch scene, that includes:

CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: No, we didn't... no.
WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEMIR: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat -- but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no... no ... yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.

Arthur receives his quest in a vision from God who is somewhat irritated:

GOD: Arthur! Arthur, King of the Britons! Oh, don't grovel! If
there's one thing I can't stand, it's people groveling.
ARTHUR: Sorry--
GOD: And don't apologize. Every time I try to talk to someone it's
"sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy". What are you
doing now!?
ARTHUR: I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord.
GOD: Well, don't. It's like those miserable Psalms-- they're so
depressing. Now knock it off!
ARTHUR: Yes, Lord.
GOD: Right! Arthur, King of the Britons -- your Knights of the Round
Table shall have a task to make them an example in these dark times.
ARTHUR: Good idea, oh Lord!
GOD: 'Course it's a good idea! Behold! Arthur, this is the Holy
Grail. Look well, Arthur, for it is your sacred task to seek
this Grail. That is your purpose, Arthur -- the Quest for the
Holy Grail.

Arthur and his Knights are soon taunted by some Frenchmen in a castle, which includes the memorable:

GUARD: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal
food trough whopper! I fart in your general direction! You mother
was a hamster and your father smelt of eldeberries.

For me it is all down hill from here. I really don't get the Knights that say Nee, Tim the Enchanter, the Bridge of Death or the Rabbit.

Irrespective of the flat bits there are so many highlights that the film remains one of the all time classics.

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