released OUT NOW! 1977 | PG | Blu-ray
Director Terry Gilliam Cast Michael Palin, Harry H Corbett, John le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell
There’s never been a scatological comedy as intermittently beautiful as Jabberwocky. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem, this grimy, rambunctious Dark Ages fantasy is brimming with bodily functions, but also studded with moments lit like a Caravaggio painting.
Terry Gilliam’s first solo flight as a director, it stars his Python comrade Michael Palin as Dennis, the innocent who heads for the city as a fearsome monster lays waste to the countryside – and, after a series of absurd misadventures, ends up pitted against it in battle. A line-up of Britcom titans, including Dad’s Army’s John Le Mesurier and Steptoe’s Harry H Corbett, provide sterling support.
A transitional work for Gilliam, it has moments that feel typically Pythonesque – like knights competing to become the King’s champion by playing hide and seek – but also showcases the ability to create an immersive world (here, one indebted to painters like Bruegel and Bosch) that would fully blossom in Brazil.
Extras A chatty 2001 Gilliam/ Palin commentary; an excellent new retrospective (41 minutes); an effects artist interview on the monster (15 minutes); audio-only DoP interview; sketch to screen comparisons; a reading of the poem; UK titles; trailer. Ian Berriman
Dudley Moore was set to play the crazy who believes his rocks are diamonds; Gilliam took the role when he dropped out.
He arrived to meet the king (and find a better hat).