Saturday, 7 July 2018

JABBERWOCKY

Terry Gilliam's Holy Grail of Medieval Romps!
With such a rich DNA implanted by Monty Python, how could this fail to be an absolute cracker of a comic film! Set in a similar era as Monthy Python and The Holy Grail, medieval England, it's a laugh a minute and is littered with a plethora of screen and TV stars from the 1970's! Python boys Michael Palin and Terry Jones were roped in for a start and are hilariously supported at every turn in various measures by Harry H Corbett, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall, Rodney Bewes, John Bird, Bernard Bresslaw, Gorden Kaye... the list goes on.

The general plot of the film is that there's a monster which needs killing to stop it ravishing the ordinary people who live in the countryside around the walled kingdom's city in medieval England. Dennis Cooper (Michael Palin) is a Cooper's Apprentice in the family firm in a village with his dad in charge. Dad dies and Dennis heads to the city to make his fortune so he can come back and claim the hand in marriage of the love of his life, Griselda, daughter of Mr Fishfinger (Warren Mitchell) the fishmonger. So off he goes and gets into adventures and scrapes as he's roped into all sorts of shenanigans in the city!

Many of the wonderful aspects of Monty Python and The Holy Grail survive into this film but none so much as the attention to detail. Fans of The Life of Brian will know what I mean when I say that every time the film is watched, something new pops up. Something going on the background visually, or off-camera on audio that had not been picked up on before but had been carefully and thoughtfully scripted in and laid down for multiple viewings. As you'd expect from the creative genius of Terry Gilliam, the direction and camerawork are quite brilliant, sets are drab, dour and dark, reflecting this crumbling (and rapidly becoming bankrupt) kingdom.

Trying to pick out any one person, role, actor, set or character is so hard because so much of it is so well written and executed by everyone, though Michael Palin holds the whole thing together having the most screen-time of anyone as the story follows young Dennis Cooper! The comic timing, both verbal and visual, is just superb throughout.

The Monty Python style of humour might pass many by as 'just stupid and not funny' (I know people who have missed the thrust completely - I guess in the same way that I just don't find 'The Goons' funny) but if you 'get' Python, this is a treat of a film which many have missed, concentrating attention on the main Python catalogue and allowing this treat to pass them by. I continue to watch, enjoy and find new stuff to consume with every viewing, almost 40 years on! Hope you give it a go and let us know what you think.

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