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Monty Python's The Meaning of Life


  • Theatrical Version
  • Director's Cut
Release: Apr 27, 2012 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mr Miau - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Director's Cut, both taken from the German Special Edition DVD by Universal (FSK 16).

- 3 extensions, one of them including alternative footage
- Difference in time: 542 sec (= 9:02 min)

In 1983, the legendary comedy group Monty Python finally tackled the most imported issue of all time and explained the meaning of life to us. Unfortunately, this cult movie was the last collaboration of all the original Pythons (if you ignore the few seconds in in Parrot Sketch Not Included – 20 Years of Monty Python), but at least they left the screen with dignity. Although it is not the most popular of their movies and could never outshine their stories about the holy grail and the charming Brian, it is - due to the opinion of some fans and even Monty Python member Terry maybe their best work.

The Special Edition, which was released in 2003, was the first edition of this movie that did not only contain the Theatrical Version but also the Director's Cut. This 9 minutes longer version also was part of the later single disc reissue, but cannot be found on older issues! There are three points in the movie at which additional scenes were inserted, which are unfortunately in a worse quality. One of them even features an alternative take for a scene from the Theatrical Version. The audio commentary refers to the Theatrical Version but at least mentions two of the additions. Obviously, the scenes had to be removed in order to tighten the movie and were added as a bonus on DVD.

Maybe the scenes are a bit too long and were removed because of this. However, it is still a nice extra for fans and if you do not like it, you do not have to watch it as this option can be chosen from the DVD menu.

running times are formatted like this:
Theatrical Version (PAL DVD) / Director's Cut (PAL DVD)
At least on the German Special Edition DVD, the prolog is seen as its own small movie. Because it is still a part of the complete piece (how else could the prolog eventually attack the main movie?), the running times usually include it. However, some DVD players do restart the timer after the prolog, therefore we included the time designation for those cases in brackets (PAL minus the 15:51 min of the prolog).

32:55 / 32:55-36:49 (resp. 17:04 / 17:04-20:58 without the prolog)

After the protestant couple talked about condoms and before the beginning of "Part II: Growth and Learning", there is the first additional scene. In "The Adventures of Martin Luther" we see Germany in the 16th century from a Python perspective. Here, a horny Martin Luther roams the streets.

At first, only an off-screen voice can be heard while Martin Luther (Terry Jones) is running frantically around: "The Adventures of Martin Luther. An exciting and controversial examination of the Protestant reformer whose reassessment of the role of the individual in Christian belief shook the foundations of a post-feudal Germany in the grip of the 16th century. It was a day much like any other in the quiet town of Wittenberg. Mamie Meyer was preparing fat for the evening meal when the full force of the Reformation struck."
A man (Hymie / Michael Palin) looks through the door: "Mamie! Martin Luther's out!"
A woman (Mamie / Graham Chapman) in the interior gets her daughters into safety/the house: "Oh, Martin Luther."
She then goes back to her husbands: "Did you get the suet, Hymie?"
Hymie: "Oy vey! The suet I clean forgot."
Mamie: "The suet? You forgot?"
Hymie: "The lard, the fish oil, the butter fat, the dripping, the bull grease... I'll remember, but the suet, oy vey."
Mamie: "So, what do you keep up here? Adipose tissue?"
Derweil schaut Martin Luther an der Tür vorbei und Hymie meint: "Look out. Here he comes."
Mamie schreit ins Innere: "Girls, your father forgot the suet!"
Hymie stellt sich Martin in den Weg; "Hello, Martin."
Martin: "Where's the john?"
Hymie: "We don't have one."
Martin: "No john? What do you do?"
Hymie: "We eat fat."
Martin: "That stops you going to the john?"
Hymie: "It's a theory."
Martin: "Yeah, but does it work?"
Hymie: "We ain't got no john."
Martin: "Yeah, but you need to go."
Hymie: "You know how it is with theories. Some days they're fine maybe one, two, three days. Then just when it looks like you're ready for the publish you need a new kitchen floor."
Martin: "You should be so lucky."
One of the daughters can be seen briefly, Martin instantly changes his strategy: "Do you need any cleaning inside?"
Hymie: "Not today. It's all going fine."
Martin: "How's about showing me the cutlery?"
Hymie: "Martin, I got a woman and children in there."
Martin: "So, there's no problem. I'll just look at a few spoons."
Hymie: "I got two girls in there, Martin. You know what I mean?"
Martin, beating on his own head from time to time: "Honest, I don't look at your girls. I don't think about them. There. I'll put them out of my mind. Their arms, their necks, their little legs and bosoms I'll wipe from my mind."
Hymie: "You just want to see the spoons?"
Martin: "My life. That's what I want to see."
Hymie: "I know I'm gonna regret this."
Martin: "No, listen. Cutlery's really my thing now. Girls with round breasts is over for me."
Hymie: "What am I doing? I know what's going to happen."
Martin: "I'll crouch behind you."
They go inside: "Mamie, guess who's come to see us?"
Mamie: "Hymie, are you out of your mind already? You know how old your daughters are."
Hymie: "He only wants to see the spoons."
Mamie: "What do you have to bring him into my house for?"
Hymie: "He doesn't think about girls anymore."
Martin: "Mrs. Meyer, as far as girls is concerned I shot my wad."
Mamie: "You shot your wad?"
Martin: "Definitely."
Mamie quiets down and happily goes to the table: "Which spoons do you want to view?"
Martin, while watching the daughters; "I guess the soup spoons."
Mamie: "Now, they're good spoons."
Martin: "You got them arranged?"
Mamie: "No, but I can arrange them for you."
Martin: "Don't put yourself to no bother, Mrs. Meyer."
Mamie: "It's no bother. I want for you to see these spoons like I would want to see them myself."
Martin: "You're too kind, Mrs. Meyer. You could get your daughters to show me them."
Mamie is getting suspicious again: "Hymie, get him out of here!"
Hymie: "Mamie, he only said for Audrey and Myrtle to show him the spoons."
Mamie: "You think I'm running some kind of bordello here?"
Martin: "Mrs. Meyer, how can you say such a thing?"
Mamie: "Listen, Martin Luther. I know what you want to do with my girls."
Martin: "Show me the spoons."
Mamie: "You want them to pull up their skirts and then lean over a chair with their legs apart!"
Hymie: "Mamie, don't get excited."
Mamie: "I'm getting excited? It's him that's getting excited!"
Martin: "My mind is on the spoons."
Mamie: "But you can't stop thinking of those little girls over the chairs."
Hymie: "I gotta go to the bathroom."
Mamie: "I'm a married woman!"
Hymie: "So just show him the spoons."
Mamie: "And you don't want to put nothing up me?"
Martin admits: "Mrs. Meyer, you read my mind."
They go off towards the side, the daughters jealously gaze after them.

Halleluja choirs can be heard and the narrator concludes: "Yes, another convert for the Protestants. But despite Luther's efforts to promote the idea of sex for pleasure children multiplied everywhere."

234 sec

49:34 / 53:28-54:16 (resp. 33:43 / 37:37-38:25 without the prolog)

Between the scene with the marching soldiers ("marching around the square") and the attack of the Zulus, there is an additional advertisement for the British Army.

In front of some stock footage, Terry Jones narrates while Eric Idle dresssed as a housewife gesticulates in a small window on the right: "It is worth reminding ourselves that without war there would have been little or no development of small, pre-packed cheeses no great leap forward in the building trade no holiday camps, no drip-dry shirts All these things, and other things too are byproducts of war. But, in the great fight for these byproducts of war perhaps no army has shown more courage, valour and tenacity than the British Army which went selflessly to the four corners of the globe to defend a civilization and empire a way of life that was truly the greatest achievement of the genius of the British people."

48 sec

Alternative Footage
61:11-61:49 / 65:53-70:51 (resp. 45:20-45:58 / 50:02-55:00 without the prolog)

The beginning of "Part IV: The Middle Age", the introduction of Eric Idle and Michael Palin as an American couple, is a lot longer in the Director's Cut. There are two new scees before and after it and the main part can be seen in alternative takes as well.
They get a hotel room at the beginning and talk about the contents of their bags (tampons) at first. Afterwards, the main difference can be seen: The way to the restaurant is longer and they also talk about the cholera problem of the problem. At last, there is an additional first scene in the restaurant.

Theatrical Version

The two get out of the elevator and talk.
Palin, after having polished his camera: "That's much better. Thank you, honey."
Idle: "You're welcome."
Palin: "It was all sort of misty before. That's fine."
An employee in a costume (Terry Gilliam) meets them: "Hey! How are you?"
Palin: "We're just fine."
Gilliam: "What kind of food would you like this evening?"
Palin: "We sort of like pineapple."
Idle: "Yeah, we love pineapple."
Palin: "Yeah, anything with pineapple in it is great for us."
Gilliam points ahead: "How about the Dungeon Room?"
Palin: "That sounds fine."
Gilliam: "Sure is. It's real Hawaiian food served in an authentic medieval-English-dungeon atmosphere."
Idle is already at the door in order to peek into the interior of the room.

The next shot shows the prisoner being burned with a branding iron.

Director's Cut

Medieval atmosphere from the beginnign: the couple is being led through a seemingly underground dungeon.

Idle: "Oh, gee."
Palin: "Wow."
Idle: "What a wonderful room."
Palin: "Right. Real homey."
Idle: "Yeah."
Behind them a tortured bell boy (Terry Gilliam) follows with the luggage, Palin says: "Could we have our cases down here, please, Ricky?"
Palin gets some money and Ricky rips it out of his hand: "Cheapskate."
Palin: "Thank you."
Idle: "Isn't he cute?"
Palin: "Sure is."
They go through the room and Palin notices that the view from the window can be changed with a click.
Palin: "Look at this, darling."
Idle: "That's wonderful. I love snowscapes."
Palin: "Me too."
Idle: "Me too."
Palin: "Well, guess I could use a bath and freshen up a little. Then maybe we could go explore."
Idle: "That's a real good idea. I'm gonna just empty out the contents of my bag and have a look through them, okay?"
Palin: "Yeah. Great idea. Great."
Idle does exactly this, a text overlay tells us that an hour has passed when Palin gets out of the bathroom again and the packing is done.
Idle: "Feeling better, honey?"
Palin: "Yeah."
Idle: "That's good."
Palin: "Well, what's in your handbag today, honey?"
Idle: "Oh, just the usual thing. Powder case, lipstick, some packets of gum, hairbrush, diary, 38 tampons..."
Palin is confused: "Thirty-eight tampons?"
Idle: "I was just signing my name in and the girl said to me, 'How old are you?' And I said, 'I'm 46.' And she said, 'Are you still menstruating?' And I said, 'Sure.'" Palin: "Right."
Idle: "So she gave me a couple of these little boxes, courtesy of the Super Inn. Aren't they cute?"
She takes a box and Palin reads: "'Have a nice month.' Oh, that's real good."
Idle: "I really love this hotel, Marvin."
Palin: "Me too."

Now, the same scene as in the Theatrical Version can be seen, but alternative takes were used and the dialog is a longer.

Palin: "Oh, that's much better. Thank you, honey. Everything was a little bit misty before."
Gilliam: "Hi. How are you?"
Palin: "Oh, we're just fine."
Gilliam: "That's good."
Palin: "How's the cholera problem coming on?"
Gilliam: "Just fine. I think we got it licked."
Palin: "Oh, that's great. It's a real nasty thing to have happen in a hotel."
Gilliam: "Right. Cholera is no fun. Did you know in the 19th century cholera accounted for over 12 million deaths in Europe alone?"
Palin: "Is that so?"
Gilliam: "Right. So you can see how keen we are to get it around here. Right now we need cholera like a hole in the head."
Palin: "Right."
Gilliam: "So, what kind of food would you like to eat tonight?"
Palin: "Well, we sort of like pineapple."
Idle: "Yes, we love pineapples."
Palin: "Anything with pineapple in's great for us."
Gilliam: "Well, why not the dungeon room?"
Palin: "Oh, that sounds fine."
Gilliam: "Sure is. It's real Hawaiian food served in an authentic medieval English dungeon atmosphere."
Idle: "Oh, it sounds wonderful."

The shot in the interior starts earlier, they can be seen sitting at the table. This scene actually explains why in the next scene, which can also be seen in the Theatrical Version, some weird things like a telephone are on the table.

A waitress (Carol Cleveland) comes to the table: "Hello, I'm Diana. I'm your waitress for tonight. Where're you from?"
Idle: "We're from room 259."
Palin: "Where are you from?"
Diana: "I'm from out those doors over there."
Palin: "Oh."
Idle: "Great."
Diana starts to serve several things: "Ice water?"
Idle: "Thank you."
Diana: "Coffee?"
Palin: "Thank you very much."
Diana: "Ketchup?"
Palin: "Oh, lovely. Real nice."
Diana: "TV?"
Palin: "Oh, that's fine."
Idle: "That's swell."
Palin: "Yeah."
Diana: "Telephone."
Palin: "A telephone?"
Diana: "You can phone any other table in the restaurant after 6:00."
Palin: "Oh, that's great."
Idle: "Some choice."
Palin: "Yeah, right."
Diana: "Okay. Do you want any food with your meal?"
Palin: "Well, what do you have?"
Diana: "Well, we have things shaped like this in green or things shaped like that in brown."
Palin: "What do you think, darling?"
Idle: "Well, it is our anniversary, Marvin."
Palin: "Yeah, what the hell. We'll have a couple of things shaped like that in brown, please."
Diana: "Okay, fine. Thank you, sir. Two brown. Number 259. And will you be having intercourse tonight?"
Palin is confused: "Do we have to decide now?"
Diana shakes her head and Idle says: "Sounds a good idea, honey. I mean, it sounds swell. Why not?"
Palin: "Yeah, right. Could be fun."
Diana: "Compliments of the Super Inn. Have a nice fuck."
When she leaves, Palin adds: "Oh, thank you."
Diana: "You're welcome."

Director's Cut 260 sec longer