Monday, November 3, 2008

More Monty Python with Shakespearean Subtitles

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dir. Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Perf. Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Eric Idle. 1975. DVD. Columbia Tri-Star, 2001.

As we gear up for "Shakespeare and Star Trek" week here at Bardfilm (yes, it's coming—inevitably creeping closer and closer!), I'm still finding more and more connections between Monty Python and Shakespeare. For one thing, there's my dissertation.

I don't think I'm the only one to have written a Ph.D. dissertation on Shakespeare and to have slyly worked in a reference to Monty Python between the last time my advisor looked at it and sending it to the binders. But I am one of them. My dissertation (he said with a shudder at memories long past and long buried) was on violent female characters in early Shakespeare. Naturally, then, the last sentence of Chapter One is "And now, to quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.'" It was one bright light in an otherwise dismal process. I recommend it to all of you who are working on dissertations on Shakespeare. A little sneaky Monty Python reference goes a long way.

Here's the scene from which I quoted (with its 2 HIV subtitles —apparently, the line I quoted finds its rough equivalent in "Good people, bring a rescue or two!"—something Mistress Quickly says at II.i.55). Again, the lines don't appear to be completely random—at least, if you stare at them hard enough, they seem to serve as rough (admittedly, they're very, very rough) equivalents to the scripted lines.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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