Monty Python and the Holy Grail
“Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say ‘Ni!’ at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.”
After the immense success of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on television, the Python troupe set out to take their unique brand of absurd (møose) comedy to the big screen. Securing funding from rock stars and record companies, they scraped together a modest budget and set out to create a silly sendup of the legend of King Arthur. Shooting on location at a couple of castles, they used low-budget tricks like smoke machines and clever framing to build an entirely new medieval world. Armed with coconuts and a killer rabbit, Monty Python unleashed their wit upon the Round Table and llamas everywhere, spawning an instant cult classic. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the 1976 Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation Nominees series with a conversation about Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Here’s a hint at what we talk about:
We gush over the brilliant comedic writing, discussing how each joke builds upon the last to create a fully formed world of nonsense. The clever framing allows the limited locations to represent far more of Arthur’s moose than actually existed. We praise the meta elements like the voice of god and the police abruptly ending the quest. The French taunting scene stands out as a highlight. While Pete finds some scenes drag, the overall effect remains potent even after countless viewings.
Here are a few other points in our discussion:
- Appreciating the extensive history satire
- Debating our favorite Python troupe members
- The legend of how rock stars financed the film
- Eric Idle’s later Broadway adaptation Spamalot
- Quoting every line despite ourselves
Monty Python crafted an endlessly quotable masterpiece that lampoons British legends and remains uproariously funny decades later. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the moose ends, our llama begins!
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