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JABBERWOCKY 1977

4.1 out of 5 stars (69) IMDb 6.2/10

Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin pull together another medieval satire. A young man is forced to find fortune on his own in a kingdom terrorized by an evil monster called the Jabberwock.

Starring:
Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett
Runtime:
1 hour, 45 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Action & Adventure, Comedy
Director Terry Gilliam
Starring Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett
Supporting actors John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall, Rodney Bewes, John Bird, Bernard Bresslaw, Anthony Carrick, Peter Cellier, Deborah Fallender, Derek Francis, Terry Gilliam, Neil Innes, Terry Jones, Bryan Pringle, Frank Williams, Glenn Williams, Simon Williams, Annette Badland
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Based on Lewis Carrol's 'The Jabberwock', Terry Gilliam unleashes the full force of his creative talents in this brilliant film.
We follow the adventures of Dennis Cooper, besotted with love for the gruesome Griselda Fishfinger, as he is disowned by his dying father and goes off to seek his fortune in the city. The city is however besieged by the eponymous monster, so the king (played to wonderful effect by Max Wall) arranges a tourney to select the best knight to kill the beast. Of course, Dennis is carried along and wins the day.
Doresn't sound much of a story, does it? - but the intricately detailed sets, the wonderful staged humour and brilliant direction make this a cut and a half above anything else in the genre. It knocks the Monty Python films into a cocked hat - and they are GOOD! Not for nothing did this film win the best comedy at Montreux. Particularly good performances from Max Wall, John leMesurier, Harry H Corbett and of course, Michael Palin, who just IS Dennis.
I don't understand how a great film like this has been allowed to fall out of circulation. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD
"It is the middle of the Dark Ages, darker than anyone ever expected..."

This was Gilliam's first movie as a director independent of the Python team, although it possesses many Python influences. Filmed at Chepstow and Pembroke castles, as well as in a Welsh quarry for the battle scenes against the monster, one cannot help but make immediate associations with `Monty Python and the Holy Grail', which Gilliam co-directed with Terry Jones two years before. We have the same medieval setting, the same bad teeth and bodily functions, the same mud and grime. (Gilliam says in the accompanying commentary that the film is so textured that you can smell it.) There are also the same witty names: Dennis Cooper, Griselda Fishfinger, King Bruno the Questionable (son of Olaf the Loud), the Blessed Sisters of Misery, and Saint Tallulah's Day. The main difference from `Grail', though is that this time there is a through-story to be told rather than a collection of sketches cobbled together to make a film. And there is also political and economic symbolism aplenty.

In the commentary, which he shares with the lead Michael Palin, Gilliam references Tarkovsky's `Andrei Rublev', Scott's `Alien', Boorman's `Excalibur', and even Lucas's `Star Wars' as influences or stylistic equivalents. He describes his film in terms of a cinematic Brueghel, and goes on to reference other artistic influences including Bosch and Caravaggio. He adds that he deliberately kept half the screen often in darkness so as to allow the imagination to flourish, at least for those with imaginations. (Really, of course, the reason is lack of finance for anything more fanciful: Gilliam always fills the screen if he has the resources to do so.
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Don't write this off as failed Python. In the entertaining commentary on this disk, TG and Michael Palin not only state that they were trying to get away from the Python style with this film, but even that they think there are too many gags in it. I wouldn't go so far as that; Lewis Carroll's eerie source poem doesn't really have a great bearing on this story, but what they share is an ambiguous tone somewhere between epic, comic and surreal. All Gilliam's early films are about the relationship between real and fantasy worlds, and this is really no exception: Palin is the modern-minded mediocrity unwittingly (and unwillingly) caught up in a fairy tale.

Visually there's a certain similarity to `Holy Grail' (this is far more accomplished); in comedy terms, the closest thing is Palin's quirky, understated `Ripping Yarns' - but that doesn't have the same deep, ineluctable strangeness. In all honesty there's no other film like this. Just see the `you might also like' films trailed on the disc - `First Knight' and `Knight's Tale'! Good grief.

I'm also indebted to the commentary for the following fascinating trivia: TG's `diamond mine' character was originally to have been played by Dudley Moore; both the Black Knight and Palin's master are played by David Prowse (of Darth Vader fame), voices by Max Wall (King Bruno); and John Boorman apparently showed the film a dozen times to his crew before making Excalibur. How's that for a recommendation?
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This film is now out of print so buy it whilst you can. Its another nonsense film a kind of send up of a fairy story but I absolutely love it. Michael Palin is lead actor as Dennis Cooper who is a coopers son (wheelmaker to you). He is in love with Mr Fishfingers, daughter Grizelda and when his father dies suddenly having told him what a waster he is he leaves her and his home to seek his fortune about half a mile away. The story is all about his antics, causing havoc and ending up the unlikely hero when by sheer fluke he ends up killing the jabberwocky which is a fearsome monster terrorising the town nearby. In the process his heroics bring him the hand of the princess just like in the fairy stories. Except Dennis does not want that or her. I cant tell you more it will spoil it. Save to say if you like Monty Python and wacky hunour then this is for you. If you don't then pass it by.
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