Blu-ray Review Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard Gallagher, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Richard Gallagher

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    Monty Python and the Holy Grail is an iconic comedy which likely is well-known to most of the readers of this review. It is an often hilarious spoof of the legend of King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail. Although the film drags a bit in places, it contains enough laugh-out-loud material to satisy the most demanding Python fan. This exceptional Blu-ray release also contains a plethora of funny and informative extras.
     




    Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    Studio: Sony
    Year: 1974
    Rated: PG
    Program Length: 92 minutes                         
    Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 1080p
    Languages: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Original Mono, French 5.1, Japanese 5.1, Portuguese 5.1
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French. Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

    The Program

    'Tis but a scratch. - The Black Knight

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail is an iconic comedy which likely is well-known to most of the readers of this review. It is an often hilarious spoof of the legend of King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail. Although the film drags a bit in places, it contains enough laugh-out-loud material to satisy the most demanding Python fan. This exceptional Blu-ray release also contains a plethora of funny and informative extras.

    The plot, such as it is, involves King Arthur (Graham Chapman) roaming the English countryside (without a horse but with suitable sound effects) in search of worthy knights for his Round Table. Along the way he recruits Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot (Eric Idle), Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones), and Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin). The members of the Python troupe, including Terry Gilliam, also play multiple other roles. Supporting parts are played by Python regulars Carol Cleveland and Connie Booth (at the time Booth was married to John Cleese).

    When God appears in the sky and speaks to King Arthur with a command to find the Holy Grail, the knights are sent off in different directions to conduct the search. Along the way they have encounters with a killer rabbit, the Black Beast of Aaargh!, and the knights who say "Ni." Much lunacy ensues. The film also is quite bloody at times, but in a comical fashion which none but the very young will take seriously. The most memorable of the fighting scenes is King Arthur's sword fight with the unfortunate but indefatigable Black Knight, although Sir Lancelot's frontal assault on a wedding party is a close second.

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail also includes several amusing musical numbers and some of Terry Gilliam's unique animation. Gilliam and Terry Jones were co-directors of the movie, the first time either of them had directed a feature film. It is of course highly recommended for Python fans, and is an excellent opportunity for others to see what all the fuss was and contihues to be about.

    The Video

    Sony has produced another first-rate Blu-ray transfer. The filming was mostly done on location in Scotland, and on Blu-ray it looks better than I remember when seeing it in a theater. It is properly framed at 1.66:1, colors are deep and accurate, and film grain has been retained to produce a very pleasing cinematic experience. Contrast is strong, black levels are adequate and shadow detail is very good. I know that all of this sounds repetitious, but Sony rarely disappoints with its Blu-ray releases and this is no exception.

    The Audio

    The lossless 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack sounds terrific, although purists may prefer the original mono soundtrack (the audio was remixed in Dolby Digital for its theatrical re-release in 2001). The 5.1 mix gives the music a wider and more satisfying soundstage, but the mono track also is quite strong. Dialogue is clear throughout, although some viewers may want to engage the subtitles on occasion to help decipher the sometimes strong British accents.

    The Supplements

    A wonderful array of extras has been included on this Blu-ray disc.

    There are two entertaining and informative commentary tracks, one with Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones and another with John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin.

    "The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations" is a featurette which follows Michael Palin and Terry Jones as they visit various locations which were used during the filming of the movie.

    "Lego Knights" is a standard definition re-enactment of one scene from the film in Lego. Need I say more?

    "Coconuts" is a Monty Python "educational short" about innovative uses for coconuts.

    "BBC Film Night" was made on location and shows various portions of the film being made, as well as segments with members of the Python troupe rehearsing and discussing the project. It is in standard definition and has a running time of 17 minutes.

    For the musically inclined, three of the film's song scenes are shown with the lyrics sub-titled for sing-alongs.

    A "Japanese version" of the film contains two scenes which have been dubbed into Japanese with English subtitles. The Holy Grail is now the "holy sake cup." It has a running time of 8 minutes.

    Blu-ray exclusives includes a unique iPad app called "The Book of Holy Days" which "re-creates the 28 days on location with never-before-seen outtakes, stills, original script, diaries, sketches, sounds and much, much more." The app has to be purchased and downloaded from the Apple App Store, and both the Blu-ray player and the iPad have to be connected to the Internet via the same local WiFi network. I have not viewed this feature and cannot comment on it.

    Another Blu-ray exclusive is "Lost Animation," which has Terry Gilliam introducing several animation segments which were not used in the film. There is a total of 9 minutes of animation which did not survive the final cut.

    The final Blu-ray exclusive consists of 7 segments of outtakes and deleted scenes which are introduced by Terry Jones. Including the introduction, this segment has a running time of 19 minutes.

    Also included is a photo gallery which gives the viewer an opportunity to see stills of each member of the cast is various roles and the 2001 U.S. re-release trailer. Sony also has included trailers for Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) and The Imagninarium of Doctor Parnassus, both of which have been reviewed on Home Theater Forum.

    The Packaging

    The single disc comes in a standard Blu-ray keep case.

    The Final Analysis

    The new extras alone make the Blu-ray of Monty Python and the Holy Grail a no-brainer upgrade for Monty Python fans. The sterling transfer and the excellent audio are also strong incentives which make it wasy to recommend this Blu-ray for purchase. It will undoubtedly be replayed many times.

    Equipment used for this review:

    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
    Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specifications by Gregg Loewen
    Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
    BIC Acoustech speakers
    Interconnects: Monster Cable

    Release Date: March 6, 2012
     

     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the review! Hard to pass up for 12.99.
     
  3. Guest

    Is the short film at the beginning in the 1.66 ratio or 1.85 as on the dvd? Thanks.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Rich,

    Thanks for the review. Certainly one of the most

    hailed comedies of our time.


    Question for anyone that wants to answer this....


    Did Sony incorporate into the film the cut sequence

    in Zoot's castle with the line about "pussy jokes"?


    This scene appeared in the Special Edition DVD.


    Speaking of which, the Special Edition DVD runs

    89 minutes and the Blu-ray 92 minutes. So, I am
    wondering what else has been put into the film.


    There seems to be a separate feature of outtakes,

    but hopefully those outtakes have been put back

    into the feature.


    Can anyone confirm?


    I have the Blu-ray sitting in front of me, but I
    usually don't get to watching anything until the

    weekend.
     
  5. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    Buying this for a 4th time? Geez! :D I'm such a Pythonmanic. Sounds like a worthy purchase. Can't wait to see it at (estimate) 43% more shiny.
     
  6. WinstonCely

    WinstonCely Stunt Coordinator

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    This was a rare blind buy for me. The last time I "owned" it was when I taped it off TV. Glad to see it's got high marks, though. Of course, I had little doubt since this is a Sony release.
     
  7. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    It's an absolute buy for me at this rate.. now I just need an upgraded Life of Brian.
     
  8. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review! I can't wait to get this. It's not only a favorite comedy of mine, but one of my favorite films of all time.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the review, Richard. I am glad to read that Sony provided a good transfer for this favorite of mine. This is one film I'll always buy in a new format. Ni!
     
  10. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    If you're talking about "Do you think this scene should have been cut?" then, yes, it is included in the film.


    I have seen this film a ton of times, and I didn't notice anything new added to the film, so I'm not sure about the running time.

     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I had an absolute blast watching this last night! I have probably 30+ movies still in shrink wrap that I purchased in the last 3 months that I haven't had time to watch, but somehow I found time for this. I have never seen it look so good (keep in mind this is a low budget 1974 film so it won't look like Avatar), and the jokes for me still work (I'm in my late thirties). A great treat was the Locations featurette which is over 45 minutes long and is humorous and informational. One of the better "extras" I've viewed in a while, and a must-see if you're a fan of the film. I'm now planning to include that castle in my next vacation in Europe!
     
  12. Guest

    Nevermind, I guess "Dentist on the Job" is missing from this release. Was it part of the original 1975 version or something done for dvd?
     
  13. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    The latter.
     
  14. Guest

    Thanks.
     
  15. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    Yes, that line is included.


    I went back and clocked the running time at 92 minutes. I don't have the DVD to compare it with, but did the DVD omit the nearly three minutes with a blank screen and music at the end of the film?
     
  16. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Supporting Actor

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    I thought that 'pussy' bit was something I didn't remember. Seen this many times but not for a few years and I guess it was cut from some releases. No wonder it seemed fresh!
     
  17. gomezfan69

    gomezfan69 Stunt Coordinator

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    Both the Blu-ray and the "Extraordinarily Deluxe" DVD run 1:32:05
     
  18. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Is the Japanese track the same as what was on the old Criterion Laserdisc?
     
  19. Guest

    I know this comes up from time to time, but is there a huge difference between lossless mono and lossy mono? How much of a difference is lossy mono and mono heard on the film in the theatre? I'm asking in this thread because the mono track is lossy.
     
  20. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    You'll be happy with the Brian upgrade. Night/day with the Criterion.
     

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