MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL Almost Included a Pink Knight, a Wild West Bookshop, and a Different Ending
Monty Python and The Holy Grail is one of my favorite comedies of all time and thanks to some recently found Monty Python scripts and comedy sketches, we are learning a few new details about what else we might have seen in the film!
A collection of lost Monty Python scripts were discovered in former member Michael Palin‘s archives after donating his private collection to the British Library in London. The scripts, which were original sketches for the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, will go on display later this month.
According to The Times of London, there were 50 notebooks filled with rough drafts and ideas for the film which includes an "amorous" Pink Knight telling King Arthur that the only way he would let him cross the bridge would be a kiss. Palin told the site:
"When we were writing Python in 1973, there was much more homophobia — or rather not homophobia exactly, but awkwardness of dealing with the whole subject of homosexuality."
There's also a bookshop in the Wild West that the Knights stumble upon which is "the last bookshop before you get to Mexico". They also come across Shakespeare's Hamlet, who is a "foul-mouthed private detective" in the story.
The film also had a different more conventional ending instead of the hilariously abrupt version where King Arthur gets arrested. The original ending saw Arthur and his Knights ride into a battle against the French with "a vicious streak a mile wide." The scene was cut due to budget concerns. Ultimately, the way it ended was perfect. You can read the full transcripts of the sketches here.
There's obviously a lot of other things that they came up with that they just decided not to use. After all, a movie can only be so long. It's great to learn about some of the other sketches that they thought about using, though! Palin certainly has no regrets:
"Sometimes you have things like that. I can’t think why it wasn’t used. The Holy Grail took shape gradually and at the beginning it had far more ideas in it than ended up on screen because you had to have a narrative. In the end the story of the knights was strong enough."
It certainly was. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the thousandth time!