In a comedy, there’s nothing better than coming up with a great set piece, something the writers and actors can milk for all it’s worth — and then some. A classic example is the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). I suspect that countless males around the world know this scene by heart, including both of my sons who have been known to act it out line for line.
Here King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his loyal sidekick Patsy (Terry Gilliam) happen upon a bridge guarded by the cruel Black Knight (John Cleese):
As he moves, the BLACK KNIGHT bars the way. BLACK KNIGHT None shall pass. ARTHUR What? BLACK KNIGHT None shall pass. ARTHUR I have no quarrel with you, brave Sir knight, but I must cross this bridge. BLACK KNIGHT Then you shall die. ARTHUR I command you, as King of the Britons to stand aside. BLACK KNIGHT I move for no man. ARTHUR So be it! ARTHUR draws his sword and approaches the BLACK KNIGHT. A furious fight now starts lasting about fifteen seconds at which point ARTHUR delivers a mighty blow which completely severs the BLACK KNIGHT's left arm at the shoulder. ARTHUR steps back triumphantly. ARTHUR Now stand aside worthy adversary. BLACK KNIGHT (Glancing at his shoulder) 'Tis but a scratch. ARTHUR A scratch? Your arm's off. BLACK KNIGHT No, it isn't. ARTHUR (Pointing to the arm on ground) Well, what's that then? BLACK KNIGHT I've had worse. ARTHUR You're a liar. BLACK KNIGHT Come on you pansy! Another ten seconds furious fighting till ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHTS's other arm off, also at the shoulder. The arm plus sword, lies on the ground. ARTHUR Victory is mine. (sinking to his knees) I thank thee O Lord that in thy ... BLACK KNIGHT Come on then. ARTHUR What? He kicks ARTHUR hard on the side of the helmet. ARTHUR gets up still holding his sword. The BLACK KNIGHT comes after him kicking. ARTHUR You are indeed brave Sir knight, but the fight is mine. BLACK KNIGHT Had enough? ARTHUR You stupid bastard. You haven't got any arms left. BLACK KNIGHT Course I have. ARTHUR Look! BLACK KNIGHT What! Just a flesh wound. (kicks ARTHUR) ARTHUR Stop that. BLACK KNIGHT (kicking him) Had enough ... ? ARTHUR I'll have your leg. He is kicked. Right! The BLACK KNIGHT kicks him again and ARTHUR chops his leg off. The BLACK KNIGHT keeps his balance with difficulty. BLACK KNIGHT I'll do you for that. ARTHUR You'll what ... ? BLACK KNIGHT Come Here. ARTHUR What are you going to do? Bleed on me? BLACK KNIGHT I'm invincible! ARTHUR You're a looney. BLACK KNIGHT The Black Knight always triumphs. Have at you! ARTHUR takes his last leg off. The BLACK KNIGHT's body lands upright. BLACK KNIGHT All right, we'll call it a draw. ARTHUR Come, Patsy. ARTHUR and PATSY start to cross the bridge. BLACK KNIGHT Running away eh? You yellow bastard, Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!
Here is the scene in all its absurd glory:
[Originally posted October 17, 2008]