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Jabberwocky | 1977 | Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett

Twas brillig and the slithy toves… Terry Gilliam, some other Pythons and assorted British thesps unite to fend off Lewis Carroll’s mythical monster in this chaotic tale of medieval mayhem and surreal silliness.
Gilliam drags Python team-mates Palin and Jones through the blood-splattered filth of medieval England, which is merrily described in this piece of visual extravagance. Palin plays a dithering apprentice cooper – Dennis Cooper – who reluctantly takes on the Jabberwock of Lewis Carroll’s poem to save the kingdom and win the girl. This was Gilliam’s first solo effort, and sadly it shows. Despite his peerless imagination, a healthy degree of Pythonesque silliness and a comic cast to die for, he forgot to unite the parts with anything resembling a decent storyline. Without the biting satire of the Python output, this is a toothless monster that relies almost entirely on gratuitous gore, bodily functions and slapstick for its humour. Still, Palin is as endearing as ever, and it’s fun to see a host of fondly remembered British performers enjoying themselves, with Wall, Le Mesurier, Corbett, Bresslaw and Mitchell (TV’s Alf Garnett) all present and correct.

Michael Palin as Dennis Cooper
Harry H. Corbett as Squire
John Le Mesurier as Passelewe
Warren Mitchell as Mr. Fishfinger
Max Wall as King Bruno the Questionable
Rodney Bewes as The Other Squire
John Bird as 1st Herald
Bernard Bresslaw as The Landlord
Deborah Fallender as The Princess
Derek Francis as Bishop
Annette Badland as Griselda Fishfinger
Kenneth Colley as 1st Fanatic
Jerold Wells as Wat Dabney
Gorden Kaye as Sister Jessica
David Prowse as Red Herring / Black Knight
Roger Pratt as Man Living in Barrel
Simon Williams as The Prince
Derrick O’Connor as Flying Hogfish Peasant
Peter Cellier as 1st Merchant
Frank Williams as 2nd Merchant
Antony Carrick as 3rd Merchant
Bryan Pringle as Guard at the Gate
John Sharp as Sergeant at the Gate
Graham Crowden as Fanatics’ Leader
Janine Duvitski as Fanatic
Christopher Logue as Spaghetti Eating Fanatic
Brenda Cowling as Mrs Fishfinger
Paul Curran as Mr Cooper Snr
Brian Glover as Armourer
Derek Deadman as Apprentice Armourer
Tony Aitken as Flagellant
Roy Evans as Ratman
Bill Gavin as Old Man with Petition
Harold Goodwin as 1st Peasant
Hilary Sesta as Scrubber
Sheridan Earl Russell as Kevin Fishfinger
Alexandra Dane as Landlord’s Wife
Terry Gilliam as Man with Rock
Director: Terry Gilliam
UK | 105 minutes | 1977

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