Sunday Matinee: Jabberwocky

Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind aren’t the only movies celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year. Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky is too.

Jabberwocky was Gilliam’s first solo directorial effort away from Monty Python although Michael Palin stars in it and Terry Jones has a cameo. Palin stars as a poor cooper in medieval times. All Palin wants to do is work and marry a large peasant woman who doesn’t really like him. Palin’s father disowns him on his deathbed so Palin goes to town to try and find work.

The nearby town has been besieged by a monster called the Jabberwocky. There isn’t any work because the guilds run everything and are getting rich off of the monster. The king has a tournament to find a champion to kill the monster and Palin ends up tagging along with the winner.

The movie has a kind of Monty Python feel to it and has a similar style to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Everything is dirty and filthy. The castle for the king is decrepit and falling apart.

In some countries despite the complaints of Gilliam, distributors tried to market the movie as Monty Python’s Jabberwocky. After threats of lawsuits these eventually stopped. The Criterion Collection has just released the movie on blu-ray and it looks, well as good as the film looked when it was original released.

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