If it were possible to make a parody film 35 years before the inspiration for the send-up were even produced, then Monty Python and the Holy Grail would be the ultimate knock-off of the Robin Hood flick in theaters now. We went to the this filum last night and, I must say, I chuckled out loud on at least a half-dozen occasions as Russell Crowe and his band of Merry Men walked straight into several scenes right out of The Holy Grail.

For starters, the costumes are nearly identical, right down to the king’s crown. Every time they showed anyone riding on horseback I kept expecting to see attendants trailing behind banging coconuts together.

Additional scenes harkening back to the brilliant Python comedy included:

---When Robin Hood first encounters Maid Marian she is on her knees toiling in the dirt. “Young girl...” Robin says.
“Woman," she replies, "I’m a woman, not a girl." And off we go into the Dennis the Peasant sketch, or at least we should have.

--- After King Richard has been killed, the assassins are rushing his crown back to France’s King Philip, Robin Hood and the gang head them off at the pass, blocking the way with the immortal words (I kid you not): “None shall pass.” Carrying the parallel a bit further, Robin challenges the men, offering to let them by if they can…wait for it…answer a riddle.

---After Maid Marian’s father-in-law convinces Robin Hood to pose as her lost husband, a celebration ensues in which much merriment is made by all. The party may as well have been an outtake from the Pythons’ celebration at Camelot. “It is a silly place.”

---During King Richard’s assault on the French castle, the French knights (whose helmets are exactly like those of the “kin-niggits” in Holy Grail), dump a black substance over the turrets that I’m assuming is tar but for all the world may as well be the shit that was dumped on Arthur and Galahad at the close of Holy Grail.

---An attendant approaches Robin with the immortal words: “Message for you sir.”

The commonalities between the two films turned Robin Hood into a farce for me. The movie was overwrought in the very way that made Python’s parody the brilliant comedy that it is.

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