the colonial theatre marquee

Illuminating Cinema: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Directed by Terry Gilliam. UK. 1975. PG. 91 minutes. Rainbow Releasing. Digital.
Sponsored by Kevin R. Pound
Sat., November 24, 2018
November 24, 2018
3:30 pm

The end of November brings many cherished traditions: Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, shopping with the crazed masses on Black Friday, watching parades and football games, and gathering at the Colonial to watch one of the funniest (and most quotable) comedies of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Perhaps the Pythons’ finest film, this cult classic puts an absurdist spin on the King Arthur legend complete with silly swordplay, horseless horseplay, a killer bunny, and a band of knights who say “Ni.” Written and performed by John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman, Holy Grail also features a hilarious turn by Carol “The Seventh Python” Cleveland and several silly songs courtesy of former Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band member (and soon-to-be Rutle) Neil Innes. Plus, it’s the only film that dares ask the question “What’s the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Whether you’re seeing it for the umpteenth time or the first time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail will put a smile on your face and earn a place among your Thanksgiving traditions.

About the Talk & Conversation

In this episode of Illuminating Cinema, we look at all things Python, with especial emphasis on the groups’ impact and influence on British and American comedy.

The humor of Monty Python has been described as absurdist, anarchic and irreverent; in some circles it has even been accused of blasphemy and heresy. As a comedic style, one of its main facets centers around the desire to expose the fragile rules that define normalcy and expectation within society. This can be accomplished through the simple ending of a sketch halfway through to begin something completely different. And, in its most infamous guise, to question the power of organized religion, especially its ability to distort the message of the central figure on which it is based.

Through a discussion of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), we will examine how this form of humor is directed at the figure of the typical Englishman. Analyzing how Monty Python’s use of two dominant tales within British mythology, the Arthurian legend and the Grail saga, provide a commentary on the traits of self-importance and pomposity that seemingly dominate the English character. We will also look at the history of this form of British self-reflective humor, especially beginning with the publication of Grossmith’s Diary of a Nobody in 1892. We will also look at the way Monty Python utilized this comedic trope to expose a Britain, its empire in collapse, rife with internal social problems, but happily moving along on a coconut-driven mission of self-delusion.

About the Speaker

Andrew Owen received an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Bangor University, Great Britain, and was a fulltime faculty member at Cabrini University. Andrew is also a house manager here at the Colonial.

Andrew’s main areas of interest relate to the social history of censorship within popular culture; analyzing areas related to propaganda, horror, and the societal and cultural dynamics of censorship discourse and practice. Andrew is also interested in the study of humor, especially as it pertains to its usage by subordinated social groups to attack, challenge, or draw attention to the oppressive ideologies and practices of the dominant social group.


3:30PM – Pre-Show Talk in the Garden Suite
4:00PM – Film Screening in the 1903 Theatre
5:30PM – Post-Show Conversation in the Garden Suite


Adults: $25
Members, Seniors & Students: $20
Click HERE to purchase Cape Fear, Holy Grail and It’s a Wonderful Life at a discount.
Click HERE to purchase a ticket to the Holy Grail film screening only.

In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn, a free small soda, a complimentary theatre cup. Plus $5 beer or wine (at this event only).

A limited number of tickets are available for each Illuminating Cinema presentation so we encourage advance purchases.

Discounts are available when you purchase tickets for all current Illuminating Cinema selections during the same transaction.

Member Passes are not accepted for this program.

About Illuminating Cinema

When the credits end that’s when the conversation begins!

Illuminating Cinema connects you with film fans of all ages for fun, refreshments and engaging conversation. Each presentation begins in our beautiful Garden Suite with a pre-show introduction from a guest speaker who offers insight and observation to help sharpen your focus on the respective film. After the lights go up in the historic 1903 auditorium, we’ll gather in the Garden Suite for a convivial post-film conversation with the speaker and each other.

In addition to admission to the film screening and the pre- and post-film discussions, your Illuminating Cinema ticket includes a free small popcorn, a free small soda, a complimentary theatre cup. Plus $5 beer or wine (at the Illuminating Cinema event only).

Focus your appreciation for film with Illuminating Cinema!