Monty Python & the Holy Grail


Everything was done so unbelievably cheaply but our costume designer, Hazel Pethig, was quite brilliant at making it look like some money had been spent. Partly because all that we were doing was all very well researched. It also shows you can fool the camera because if you're making a big expensive film people would be embroidering all that stuff and you'd be using hand-woven cloth and then they'd probably be spending too much time thinking about that and then not getting the jokes.

Oh, Terry Gilliam directs Eric Idle. There we go, I was in this shot, but only because Terry Jones was trapped in the body of the three-headed knight (along with Chapman and Michael Palin). So I got to stand around looking like I knew what I was doing. The thing about this scene, strangely enough, is what a wonderful little bit of the forest we were in because all the bluebells were out. It was just stunningly beautiful. Flowers everywhere. In fact, I don't think the giant worked as well as it should've. The body was too crude and rigid. We'd actually trimmed that scene down in the film quite a bit from what it originally was. It was one of the less successful moments. Probably because I was directing it. That's why. That's it.

I don't know why Terry [Jones] is in all these pictures. I don't know who the still cameraman was but I think he was in Terry's pay. [Laughs] Plague Village was actually a pig farm. The best thing about with was Mike Palin eating mud. I think it was cut out of the film. But we had to specially prepare mud that was edible and then put a little pile of this amongst all the pig shit. Then, make sure that Mike ate the right stuff! [Laughs] We made Plague Village as foul as we possibly could. It was just steeped in mud. Before Python did Holy Grail, comedies were generally done in a light, superficial way. We decided it was going to be much funnier if we could make the place seem real - as decrepit and miserable and awful as it must have been. So we went out of our way to do just that. And out of that comes a nice line at the end of the scene, "How do you know he's a king? He has all this shit all over him." But nobody had really done that in comedy before. Because we had approached the film the same way that Pasolini - Pasolini, at the time, was our hero and he'd been doing a lot of period films - and we approached it in an absolutely serious way to try and create this sense of reality because the jokes were going to be funnier in contrast to it. See, my problem is I was normally behind the camera. Terry [Jones] was out in front talking to the actors. so it looks like he was doing everything.

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