Every line, character and scene in Monty Python And The Holy Grail has gone down in cult history – printed on T-shirts, remade in LEGO, and turned into a hit broadway musical. But there are two sketches that never made the cut. Unearthed from Michael Palin’s private Python archives by The Times, the film was originally set to feature a camp knight and a scene set in a Wild West bookshop.
The “Pink Knight sketch” was written by Palin and Terry Jones, and seems to be an early draft of the final bridge-keeper scene. Standing in a “camp pose” and demanding a kiss from Arthur, the Pink Knight says that “none shall cross this bridge save he who shall give me a kiss.” Arthur refuses, and the two start scrapping before falling on top of one another and rolling around. Cue a group of passing monks who look disgusted, saying “you could at least go indoors. You landowners are all the same.”
In another cut scene, the occasionally roving (modern day) news reporter walks into what he thinks is a Wild West saloon, but is actually “the last bookshop before you get to Mexico.” Making things weirder, he asks if he can get a pint somewhere else and the barman says, “not since they started specializing in modern European authors.”
The cut scenes might sound a bit odd now, but they would likely both be as classic and irreplaceable as everything else in the film had they stayed in (unless, of course, the Pink Knight scene was as dubiously offensive as it sounds on paper, and then an otherwise hilarious film might have always had a bit in it that made everyone except your grandparents cringe).
Palin gave the British Library his archives last June and most of it is available for anyone to look at in the reading rooms – as well as collected in a special free exhibition that’s running throughout the summer. The archives contain over 50 notebooks of drafts, sketches, scripts and notes from the Monty Python years.
Interestingly, the Holy Grail archive also shows that the film did actually have a “proper” ending, but the Python’s decided to randomly cut it short because it was cheaper and funnier. It just goes to show that no ending is
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