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42 Things We Learned From the ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ Commentary

Monty Python And The Holy Grail
By  · Published on February 17th, 2012

A lot of thought went into what quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail would be used for this intro. In the end, though, it was decided that you all probably know this film by heart, anyway. If you don’t, what are you doing right now? Get to memorizing. When you’re done, though, be sure to come back for this special, little treat we have in store for you on this week’s Commentary Commentary.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail had not one, but two directors to it, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. The rest of Monty Python did their own commentary track, but it’s separate. Something about a death threat or something. Anyway, this week we’re listening to Gilliam and Jones, the directing team behind this comedy classic, some would even consider it among the greatest comedies of all time. What could they possibly have to say that this film doesn’t say already? Let’s find out. We may even find out what the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is, but I’m not holding my breath.

Right. Off you go.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

Commentators: Terry Gilliam (director, writer, actor), Terry Jones (director, writer, actor), Bun, Wackett, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot

Best in Commentary

“The silliness comes from a real, deep-seeded confidence or arrogance. You can’t be silly if you’ve got self-doubt.” – Terry Gilliam on all British comedy, not just Monty Python

“That’s very dangerous to look for significance in Python stuff. It just seemed like a silly idea to us.” – Terry Jones

“The great thing when we were in these modes, you just take a logic, and you pursue it relentlessly and stupidly.” – Terry Gilliam

Final Thoughts

Those quotes really dig into what there is to find on this commentary. Gilliam and Jones can’t really discuss how a certain sketch came about, because, like “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, Holy Grail is a series of ridiculous moments, one right after the next with little in the way of logical sequencing. This gives Gilliam and Jones ample amounts of time to recollect on how the group came together, how “Flying Circus” came about, and where the name Monty Python came from. This is mostly from Gilliam, but Jones, who was clearly recorded separately, has memories to share, as well.

Jones does slip into pointing out locations or even explaining obvious film trickery that everyone knows. We know a live rabbit was used in the first shot, but a puppet was used later. Thanks for that. Still, there is more than enough information regarding the group dynamic as a whole to recommend this commentary track. One with all five, living members of the group together in one room could offer more lighthearted anecdotes, though.

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