Film: Jabberwocky pg rating Year: 1977
Jabberwocky DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Fantasy
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Michael Palin, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall, Harry H. Corbett

Also see our Guide to Terry Gilliam, or visit our Terry Gilliam UK or Terry Gilliam US stores, or see our reviews of other Terry Gilliam films Brazil, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas and Lost In La Mancha.

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Jabberwocky Synopsis - Jabberwocky is set in middle ages England and centres around the character of Denis, a naive peasant in love with the gluttoness Griselda Fishfinger - daughter of a local fisherman. Unfortunately given Denis's pitiful lack of money and prospects and Griselda's complete disinterest in him, her father does not allow Denis to marry his daughter.With abundant naivety Denis sets off to seek his fame and fortune in the big city so he may one day return to marry Griselda. He arrives at the city only to find that it is in crisis, hunger is rife, and entrance to the city is as under strict control - all due to the terrorising by a monster called the Jabberwocky. Denis finally manages to find his way into the city where life is just as tough and there are no jobs available for him to make his fortune. Inevitably the only job going is the one that no one wants -that is to rid the city of the Jabberwocky. The the pay is good if he is successful - half of the Kingdom plus the hand in marriage of the Kings beautiful daughter (who frankly isn't a quarter of the woman that Griselda is).

Review of Jabberwocky - Jabberwocky was Terry Gilliam's first sole directorial project, and no doubt that lots of the preparation for such a project was hatched during his co-directing stint on Monty Pythons Holy Grail a couple of years previously, as some of the similarities between the two films are undeniable. Python colleague Michael Palin is the lead here(plus a small cameo by Terry Jones), and what is lost here in not having the Pythons acting talents is more than made up for in a much more consistent script and story plus a plethora of classic british comic actors. Max Wall, as the King, and Warren Mitchell as the delightfully named Mr Fishfinger here a superb. The freedom of Gilliam to make something his own certainly shows up here and quite clearly his imagination given free reign showed so much of the promise that would later be fulfilled with bigger (and sometimes still inadequate but huge) budgets. Its a shame that this film is still unfavourably compared to The Holy Grail, but I think although the film doesn't have the same amount of Belly laughs as Grail, it is certainly a much more rounded piece of cinema.
The reasons I recommend Jabberwocky are: 1. Superb performances - especially Max Wall, Warren Mitchell and Michael Palin. 2. A fantastically well presented visual representation of Dark Ages England.