Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ-Figures in Film

By Lloyd Baugh | Go to book overview

4
The Scandal Films:
Monty Python's Life of Brian and
The Last Temptation of Christ

Monty Python's Life of Brian, 1 a 1979 British production directed by Terry Jones, has the dubious privilege of being the only Jesus-film in the key of satirical comedy. A cinema spin-off from the hugely successful British television series, Monty Python "Flying Circus", Life of Brian is clearly within the "firm tradition of British humor . . . which depends on the juxtaposition of the unexpected with the ordinary," 2 a brand of humor which does not easily translate into other languages and cultures, wherein lies one of the major reasons for the film's limited success.

Life of Brian, the group's "most sustained [cinema] effort to date," 3 was radically different from the television series. This difference was judged positively by some critics, who for example note that, compared to the fragmented, gag-after-gag, style of their television show and previous films, " Life of Brian adopted a refreshingly coherent plot structure." 4 It is precisely this coherent plot structure that was criticized by others: "The Life of Brian is far less funny than a Monty Python television show . . . the plot line forces a linear and ev0en logical approach on performers whose genius always lay in the lack of such a next-step approach." 5

Given what was popularly rumored to be the theme of the film, a Monty Python version of the life of Christ, it is not surprising that things did not go smoothly with the financing and production of the film. Early on, the producers, EMI, got nervous with the protests regarding the film, and with the excuse of the costs becoming excessive, canceled their participation. To the rescue came a friend of several of the Monty Python crew, the ex-Beatle George Harrison who, together with a banker friend, put the necessary funding together, and the work got underway. Because of its structural weaknesses, the finished film had only minor critical success and because of the limited appeal of the Monty Python style of humor, it had only limited international distribution. For example, it was never released in Italy. 6

The producers need hardly have worried, for Life of Brian is "patently . . . not an attack on Christianity," 7 and in fact it is not even a film about Jesus. In ninety minutes of running time, the only visual references to Jesus are a brief shot of a crib at Bethlehem at the beginning of the film, in the most tacky Christmas postcard style, complete with glowing babe and singing choirs of angels, and a couple of distant shots of him during the Sermon on Mount,

-48-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ-Figures in Film
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 337

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.