Henry IV and the Holy Grail

· 12 May 2016 ·

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that I am a great, great fan of Monty Python. Python is truly the second-best piece of culture ever born in this scepter’d isle. And it’s a close second.

I shan’t subject you to my full-on Python Geek mode, although I could. Another time, perhaps. Today I want to share one special gem with you.

The troupe’s first film[1], Monty Python and the Holy Grail, arrived on cinema screens in 1975 – more than 40 years ago. Hasn’t aged a day. It was re-released later on videocassette (those miserable tapes), and more recently on various flavours of DVD and Blu-ray discs. Last fall brought the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Gift Set Blu-ray, which came in a castle-shaped box and included miniature farm animals and a catapult.

Plastic cows aside, many of the disc versions have included an assortment of entertaining, and differing, bonus features. Python loves to keep tinkering with their work. At the very least, these added bits of new content keep people buying the same old movies over and over again. Smart lads, the Pythons.

Now for the gem: what you want to get hold of and watch is a disc that contains an extra English subtitle track called “Subtitles For People Who Don’t Like The Film”. It should be listed among the bonus features on the packaging[2].

Here’s a sample of what you’ll see when you turn on that track. Apologies for the horrible video, but it gets the point across.

It’s all text from my Henry IV, Part 2. But pay attention, or watch the video again if you need to, because it isn’t just random quotes, and it isn’t the play’s lines in order.

They’ve done this for the entire film. The first time I saw it, I would have died laughing, if that had been possible. Brilliant, perfect Python.

I was so flattered.
[1]  I omit 1971’s And Now For Something Completely Different, because despite the title, it’s just re-done sketches from the first two seasons of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus television series.

[2]  If you’ve gone disc-less and you know how to mess with subtitle files, you can find the SRT for this Henry IV version at opensubtitles.org.