“Jabberwocky (1977)” Review

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

Why did I watch it?

This is Gilliam’s (solo) directorial debut (and another film I’ve had on disc for years).

Did it meet expectations?

After Brazil my expectations were high.

This feels like a rehash of Holy Grail and Life of Brian. It even recycles several of the jokes. But even with Gilliam directing and Palin as star, it’s only 1/3 of the full strength of Python comedy. It has all the filth and flavour of mediaeval living, but, the monster aside, very little of the brilliant fantastical elements that made Time Bandits or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen so magical.

It’s not a terribly faithful adaptation of the Caroll poem, either.

Gilliam does a good job of making his interior shots very Rembrandt-ey though.

There are a host of great British comedy actors (Warren Mitchell, Harry H. Corbett, John Le Mesurier, Bernard Bresslaw, Annette Badland, Rodney Bewes) and there are Pembrokeshire locations (Pembroke Castle, Bosherston Quarry), so I can add it to my collection of filmed-in-Pembrokeshire films.

You should watch it if…

  • Long time the manxome foe you’ve sought
  • You’re a Gilliam/Python completist

You shouldn’t watch it if…

  • You prefer your comedy sketches to come in at somewhere under an hour and three quarters

Up next: Stardust (2007)

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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