Yoinked from the almighty wikipedia ...
"And Now for Something Completely Different is a film spin-off from the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus featuring favorite sketches from the first two seasons. The title was used as a catchphrase in the television show.
The film, released in 1971, consists of 90 minutes of the best sketches seen in the first two series of the television show. The sketches were remade on film without an audience, and were intended for an American audience which had not yet seen the series. The announcer (John Cleese) uses the phrase 'and now for something completely different' several times during the film, in situations such as being roasted on a spit and lying on top of the desk in a small, pink bikini.
The film was the idea of entrepreneur Victor Lownes, head of Playboy UK, who convinced the group that a feature film would be the ideal way to introduce them to the US market and make them lots of money. Lownes acted as executive producer. Production of the film did not go entirely smoothly. Lownes tried to exert considerably more control over the group than they had been used to at the BBC. In particular, he objected so strongly to one character – 'Ken Shabby' – that the sketch was removed, leaving both Terry Jones and Michael Palin to complain much later that the vast majority of the film was "nothing more than jokes behind desks."
Another argument with Lownes occurred when Terry Gilliam designed the opening credits for the film. Presenting the names of the Pythons in blocks of stone, Lownes tried to insist that his name be displayed in a similar manner. Initially, Gilliam refused but eventually he was forced to give in. Gilliam then created a different style of credit for the Pythons so that in the final version of the film, Lownes's credit is the only one that appears in that way.
The budget of the film was considerably low for the time at only £80,000. This is self-reflexively acknowledged in the film's Killer Cars animation; the voiceover narration (done by Eric Idle) mentions 'a scene of such spectacular proportions that it could never in your life be seen in a low-budget film like this. You'll notice my mouth isn't moving, either.' The film was shot both on location in England and inside an abandoned dairy, rather than on a more costly soundstage. It was in fact so low that some effects which were done in the television series could not be done in the film.
When it was first made, this film failed to get a general release anywhere in the world. The success of clips of Python on Saturday Live in the US led to big box office success for The Holy Grail, and so this film was re-released to great success and all other subsequent Python ventures were very high profile."
Info once again yoinked from the wiki ...
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin), and directed by Gilliam and Jones. It was conceived during the gap between the third and fourth series of their popular BBC television programme Monty Python's Flying Circus.
In contrast to the group's first film, And Now for Something Completely Different, a compilation of sketches from the first two television series, Holy Grail was composed of new material, therefore considered the first 'proper' film by the group. It generally parodies the legend of King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail.
The film was a success on its initial release, and Idle used the film as the inspiration for the 2005 Tony Award-winning musical Spamalot. The film was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1976, but lost to A Boy and His Dog.
The film was mostly shot on location in Scotland, particularly around Doune Castle, Glen Coe, and the privately owned Castle Stalker. The many castles seen throughout the film were either Doune Castle shot from different angles or cardboard models held up against the horizon. King Arthur was the only character whose chain mail armour was authentic. The 'armour' worn by his various knights was silver-painted wool, which absorbed moisture in the cold and wet conditions.
The film was co-directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, the first major project for both and the first project where any members of the Pythons were behind the camera. This proved to be troublesome on the set as Jones and Gilliam had different directing styles and it often was not clear who was in charge. The other Pythons evidently preferred Jones, who as an acting member of the group was focused more on performance, as opposed to Gilliam, whose visual sense they admired but whom they sometimes thought too fussy: on the DVD audio commentary, Cleese expresses irritation at a scene set in Castle Anthrax, where he says the focus was on technical aspects rather than comedy.
Originally the knight characters were going to ride real horses, but after it became clear that the film's small budget precluded real horses the Pythons decided that their characters would mime horse-riding while their porters trotted behind them banging coconut shells together. The joke was derived from the old-fashioned sound effect used by radio shows to convey the sound of hooves clattering. This was later referred to in the German release of the film, which translated the title as Die Ritter der Kokosnuß (The Knights of the Coconut).
In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted Monty Python and the Holy Grail the 5th greatest comedy film of all time. The next Monty Python film, Monty Python's Life of Brian, was ranked #1. A similar poll of Channel 4 viewers in 2005 placed Holy Grail in 6th (with Life of Brian again topping the list). A 2004 poll by the UK arm of Amazon and the Internet Movie Database named Monty Python and the Holy Grail as the best British picture of all time. In 2011, ABC aired a primetime special, Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time, that counted down the best films chosen by fans based on results of a poll conducted by ABC and People. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was selected as the #2 Best Comedy.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Doomsday World, co-written by Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger, Geordi La Forge is sitting in a bar, the proprietor of which is described as knowing everything about anything. Geordi asks the bartender some obscure questions about the dimensions and climate about the planet they are on, which the bartender answers, immediately and correctly. Geordi then asks, 'What's the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?' to which the bartender replies, 'African or European?' Geordi is then forced to concede, muttering 'Damn, he's good.'"
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