Monday, May 13, 2013

Hamlet in Monty Python’s Flying Circus

“Hamlet.” By Monty Python et al. Perf. Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, and Eric Idle. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Season 4, episode 4. BBC. 21 November 1974. DVD. New Video, 1999.

I've commented before on the notion that the British Comedy Troupe Monty Python has a relative scarcity of Shakespeare-related material. Of course, there is the Underwater Measure for Measure sketch—and the sketch that includes something of Shakespeare's biography—and, naturally, the optional Shakespearean subtitles to Monty Python and the Holy Grail (more can be found here)—and the one about the Overactors Hospital—and, finally, Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp. But there's not much beyond that.

When I wrote on those points of convergence between the comedy troupe and Shakespeare, I knew about the episode entitled “Hamlet”—but I didn't like it very much. It descends into crudity and obscenity far too often and far too quickly.

Still, I felt Bardfilm was letting its public down by not noting the episode. In the clip below, I've expurgated the naughty bits, leaving in three key points: Hamlet on the psychiatrist's couch, two ladies suddenly and inexplicably quoting from Hamlet, and the end of the episode, with its Shakespeare-related credits. Enjoy, Bardfilm's public!

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

Click below to purchase 
all the Monty Python’s Flying Circus there ever was 
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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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest