28. November 2010

Classic Scene: Monty Python and the Holy Grail - "Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"

DIE SZENERIE: Nachdem ihr erster Filmausflug „And Now For Something Completely Different“ eher ein Best Of der Sketche ihrer TV-Serie „The Flying Circus“ war, markierte „Monty Python and the Holy Grail“ den ersten Kinofilm der britischen Komiker mit eigens für den Film geschriebenem Material. Aus Kostengründen - der Film hatte ein Budget von knapp $400,000, spielte weltweit jedoch insgesamt 5 Millionen Dollar ein - konnten es sich die Pythons nicht leisten, echte Pferde für ihre Artus-Persiflage zu verwenden. Stattdessen griffen sie auf einen Sketch von Peter Sellers zurück, der anschließend durch seine Erklärungseinbindung zum ersten und erfolgreichsten Sketch des Filmes wurde.

EXT. CASTLE WALLS
- DAY


Mist. Several seconds of it swirling about. Silence possibly, atmospheric music. After a few more seconds we hear hoof beats in the distance. They come slowly closer. Then out of the mist comes KING ARTHUR followed by a SERVANT who is banging two half coconuts together. ARTHUR raises his hand.

ARTHUR: Whoa there!

SERVANT makes noises of horse halting, with a flourish. ARTHUR peers through the mist.

CUT TO shot from over his shoulder: castle rising out of the mist. On the castle battlements a SOLDIER is dimly seen. He peers down.

SOLDIER: Halt! Who goes there?

ARTHUR: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!

Pause.

SOLDIER: Pull the other one.

ARTHUR: I am…And this is my trusty servant, Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of Knights who will join me in my court in Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master.

SOLDIER: What? Ridden on a horse?

ARTHUR: Yes!

SOLDIER: You’re using coconuts!

ARTHUR: What?

SOLDIER: You’ve got two empty halves of coconut and you’re banging them together.

ARTHUR: (scornfully) So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the Kingdom of Mercia.

SOLDIER: (interrupts him) Where did you get the coconuts?

ARTHUR: We found them.

SOLDIER: Found them? In Mercia? The coconut’s tropical!

ARTHUR: What do you mean?

SOLDIER: Well, this is a temperate zone.

ARTHUR: The swallow may fly south with the sun, or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are no strangers to our land.

SOLDIER: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

ARTHUR: Not at all. They could be carried.

SOLDIER: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?

ARTHUR: It could grip it by the husk…

SOLDIER: It’s not a question of where he grips it it’s a simple question of weight ratios. A five-ounce bird could not carry a one-pound coconut.

ARTHUR: Well, it doesn’t matter. Will you go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here.

A slight pause. Swirling mist. Silence.

SOLDIER: Listen, in order to maintain air speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second. Right?

ARTHUR: (irritated) Please!

SOLDIER: Am I right?

ARTHUR: I’m not interested.

SECOND SOLDIER: (who has loomed up on the battlements) It could be carried by an African swallow!

FIRST SOLDIER: Oh, yes! An African swallow maybe…but not an European swallow. That’s my point.

SECOND SOLDIER: Oh, yes, I agree with that…

ARTHUR: (losing patience) Will you ask your master if he wants to join my court in Camelot?!

FIRST SOLDIER: But then of course African swallows are non-migratory.

SECOND SOLIDER: Oh, yes.

ARTHUR raises his eyes heavenward’s and nods to PATSY. They turn and go off into the mist.

FIRST SOLDIER: So they couldn’t bring a coconut back anyway.

SECOND SOLIDER: Wait a minute! Supposing two swallows carried it together?

FIRST SOLDIER: No, they’d have to have it on a line.

SECOND SOLDIER: Well simple - they just use a strand of creeper…

FIRST SOLDIER: What, held under the dorsal guiding feathers?

SECOND SOLDIER: Why not?

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