Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975.
Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones.
Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.
King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.
I have my town’s local PBS station to thank for my exposure to Monty Python when I was a kid. Not only did they show the series, but they showed it uncensored, which was even more exciting for a 12-year-old boy who usually couldn’t see breasts and hear certain swear words unless he snuck downstairs late at night when his parents were watching HBO.
Of course, the Pythons’ humor was what really struck a chord with me, and I’ve carried my love of their work until today, when I realized I am a mere five years older than Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Maybe the movie and I should go out for a beer sometime and reminisce.
If you haven’t seen this film before, all I can say is, please fix that hole in your life real quick. Since this 40th anniversary edition on Blu-ray is reasonably priced, I think it’s a safe bet to plunk down some of your hard-earned cash on it, assuming you’ve already enjoyed some of the Pythons’ other work or you appreciate absurd humor in general. No need to thank me after you’re done laughing, but tips are always appreciated – My editor can let you know my PayPal address.
And if you’re a fan, I assume you’re hanging around because you’re wondering if this new release is worth spending money on this movie yet again. (How many times will they get us to buy the same movie? If we love it, we’re like Pavlov’s dog.) If you haven’t upgraded to a Blu-ray copy of The Holy Grail yet, then, yes, this is a worthwhile purchase, although if you have that old two-DVD Special Edition from 2001, you should hold onto it if you’re a completist, since not everything was ported over. (However, all the good stuff was included, so if you can live without a few minor things, you can probably pass that set on to a friend.)
I don’t own the previous Blu-ray release of the film, but my understanding is that it didn’t include everything from that Special Edition DVD release either. As far as I can tell, this disc includes everything from that one, except it also has a new 30-minute piece with the surviving Pythons. Filmed at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, it opens with a brief chat with an unnamed moderator, followed by a couple of clips of the Pythons talking outside the theater, and concluding with a 20-minute conversation moderated by John Oliver.
Unsurprisingly, the chat quickly devolves into barely controlled chaos, with the Pythons switching chairs, wandering around the stage, and otherwise screwing around, much to the audience’s delight. They settle down eventually, though, and Oliver is able to ask a few questions that summon some interesting responses, such as what Eric Idle’s daughter thought of the ending and who Michael Palin based the Knights Who Say Ni.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★