Monty Python and the Holy Grail

IN THE HISTORY of every high-tech company that ever boomed or busted, has a day ever gone by when at least one sleep-deprived computer geek didn't relieve the terror and stress by quoting a line of dialogue from this nerd classic? Released Sept. 16, this two-disc special edition of 1975's Grail will make such late-night citations even easier. It not only includes the entire shooting script, but you can also read along with the text (displayed in subtitles) during the movie. (Or, instead, choose excerpts from Henry IV, Part II"for people who don't like the film.") You can also view it dubbed in Japanese or, better still, in Frenchwhich raises the question of how John Cleese's French-accented tower taunting will sound in French. (Answer: weird.)

Was there ever a comedy that flew its geek flag so high and so proudly? The six Oxbridge Brits and their token California friend (co-director Terry Gilliam) raised their brand of high-IQ absurdism and compressed TV gagsmithery to a '70s zenith. Directors Gilliam and Terry Jones share one chat track, while Cleese, Idle, and Palin occupy another (Graham Chapman died in '89), and both commentaries strike the right balance between medieval erudition and silly asides.

Python purists will relish the production arcana (how do you find a dead sheep to catapult? Look for roadkill), nicely augmented in two main featurettes among the sundry extras. First is a 1974 BBC set visit (love the hair and bell-bottoms!), and second is a recent sojourn through the Scottish locations with Jones and Palin. At one castle, they have to buy a Grail companion book to refresh their recollections after 29 years.

Elsewhere, Gilliam suggests that the real and the fantastic were conjoined in the medieval mind, adding that the Pythons followed that chimerical spirit as their working method on the picture. It shows.

OTHER DISCS OUT Sept. 16 include the geek-laden tech doc Revolution OS (see above), the high-IQ WWII code-breaker flick Enigma, and the Sandler-versus-Nicholson clunker Anger Management. John Sayles lends commentaries to Lianna, Return of the Secaucus 7, and The Brother From Another Planet. Among crime flicks, Prizzi's Honor is new to disc, and Confidence features a shared chat track with Ed Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, and Andy Garcia.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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