Running Time: 91 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Format: Widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 TVs
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: 1
MSRP: $24.95 (OOP)

Own It!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

King Arthur and his knights are tasked by God to find the Holy Grail.

Any further plot details would only A) spoil any surprises for anyone leaving their Bio-Dome and having never seen the movie; B) spiral us into a never-ending re-telling of all the lunatic digressions packed into this non-retelling of the Arthurian legend. Suffice to say that the Monty Python troupe (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle) play about a million characters each, and future super-director Terry Gilliam starts honing his directing chops in an entertaining mish-mosh which is never boring.

The original theatrical release was one of those revelatory experiences for many; the original Python TV shows were just starting to be syndicated here in America, and we were ill-prepared for the total anarchy of their approach to humor, smashing together high intellectualism with low humor and rampant absurdity. For a lot of us, this movie was like a hot shower and a bracing shot of oxygen after working all day in a stifling, dirty factory: our eyes were opened and we suddenly realized how good life can be.

Of course this movie also provided creativity-challenged Renaissance Faire participants with their repertoire of lines, if not their entire character, but that cannot be held against the Pythons; Holy Grail remains, in many ways, their masterwork - a gem of inventiveness created under what can only be described as impoverished, rushed circumstances.

Columbia Tristar once more puts out a terrific-looking disc. There is some blooming on the white-against-black credits (consistent even through the trailers in the extra section), though to be fair, this is a phenomenon I've also noticed in theaters, with a projected image.

The only extras to speak of are trailers for other movies: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The City of Lost Children, Dr. Strangelove, and Homegrown. A theatrical trailer for Holy Grail is incredibly conspicuous by its absence.

Perhaps one day the Criterion Collection's playful laserdisc pressing of this movie will be ported over to DVD - but until that fine day, this edition offers a proper, if unadorned, treatment.

Dr. Freex, 5/22/00