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.


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!


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?


SOLDIER: You’re using coconuts!


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.


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?


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