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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:23 pm
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Another thing that complicates this question is the formal or conceptual aspect - the films may be brilliant, but Holy Grail and Brian both broadly fit into the convention of the genre parody film. After all, parodies of film genres were being made in the 30s and 40s, with the Abbott and Costello films etc (of course I think the Python films are infinitely superior to these). Holy Grail is simultaneously a parody of Arthurian romance stories, quest/adventure movies and arthouse medievalism (especially Bergman), whereas Brian is in some ways a parody of religious epics. The Meaning of Life also parodies a few specific films, including Oliver!, If..., and Zulu. Therefore, the films, great as they are, could be seen as being less original in conception than the TV show - which is about as innovative in its form as anything that has ever appeared on TV: the sketches go way beyond the standard sketch format of the time, not least in terms of length. They also do a lot of very radical things with individual episodes, including putting the title sequence in the middle, tampering with the end credits, and sticking bizarre inserts into sketches (Gilliam as viking saying '...was wearing...'). They never went quite as far as that in the films - the equivalent might have been if they'd made a five hour film where the narrative completely changed half way through and where the image kept occasionally shifted from colour to black and white, etc. (Having said that, the end of Holy Grail is still pretty bold). Therefore, it can safely be said that the TV show was more innovative - but does that necessarily make it 'better'?


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