It’s hard to think of a time when Monty Python and the Holy Grail wasn’t the revered classic we know it to be. We latecomers have the advantage of having seen it at home, in the basement (possibly under the influence) where we were in a position to giggle at all of the inspired silliness with our friends. But contemporary audiences were baffled. Critics didn’t know what to make of it . There were reports of people demanding a refund because the famously abrupt ending was considered to be a mistake by the projectionist instead of a clever subversion of audience expectations.
And there was much confusion.
Since then, Holy Grail has achieved a status that transcends cult classic. It’s fully part of the mainstream. It’s an icebreaker at parties. It’s one of the few movies that is not ruined by excessive quoting. [Debatable. –Ed] It launched directing careers for both Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. The entire cast is used perfectly, and the characters are some of the best in Python history—Graham Chapman rises to the occasion as straight-man King Arthur, John Cleese nails it as French Taunter and the Black Knight, and my personal favorite, Eric Idle’s Brave Sir Robin.
And it’s coming to Kendall this week, along with a new, never-before-seen short, “Terry Gilliam’s Lost Animations.” It may have been tailor-made for the home video market before there was such a thing, but you won’t want to miss this chance to see one of the greatest comedies of all time fully restored and as it was meant to be seen. We’re ready for it now. C’mon, everyone—if this re-release is enough of a success, maybe we can make it a regular thing. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has reigned for too long as the dominant quote-along movie.
You may remember back in January it was widely reported that a Python reunion would soon be underway for the film Absolutely Anything. This is what we in the industry like to call “burying the lead.” Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the real story is that Jones is back to making films after a 16-year absence , and his next project would feature the voices of each surviving member as CG animated characters . In other words, they wouldn’t even have to be in the same room at the same time and would have no role in writing, producing or directing.
And there was much disappointment.
Now, I love Monty Python more than most things. I own DVD sets of the Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus and all of the Python films. I’ve even seen Erik the Viking more than twice. I’ll enjoy the “reunion” for what it’s worth, but for me—and possibly for them—nothing will compare to the original. So check out Monty Python and the Holy Grail at Kendall starting this Friday. Is it too cheesy to close with … aw, what the hell.
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
OPENS | FRIDAY 4.27.12
RATED | PG
KENDALL SQUARE. CINEMA
1 KENDALL SQ.