|Black and White Production Still
8 inches by 10 inches (28cm x 18cm)
Celandine Films, The Monty Python Partnership
(Still from the Universal Pictures U.S. release)
Eric Idle as a wounded but still insubordinately sarcastic British private of the 24th Foot leans heavily on a Gatling Gun in the Anglo-Zulu War vignette from the 1983 production
of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
The segment while filled with the usual brand of Python humor is actually very well done from a visual point a view. Given there are a few anachronisms in costuming such as the
khaki foreign services helmets and Slade-Wallace equipment (instead of the earlier Valise Pattern) but the overall effect is actually quite convincing. In fact, and in my own
humble opinion the short segment looks better than that which was seen in that epic-that-might-have-been Zulu Dawn. One might even say that the production design was even a
bit more authentic that what was seen in ZULU.
In this scene Idle berates his passing, and very aloof officers while they go off in search of a missing leg, which has presumably been bitten off of one of their number by a tiger -
in Africa? - with classic the bitingly observant line: " Here is better than home, eh, sir? I mean, at home if you kill someone they arrest you, here they'll give you a gun and show
you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen of those buggers. Now, at home they'd hang me, here they'll give me a fucking medal, sir."
The scene was filled outside Glasgow, Scotland which it turns out looks remarkably like Natal. Possibly one of the surprising aspects of the Zulu War skit is the uncredited cameo
of none other that Michael Caine who appears just prior to Eric Idle's sceen. Caine like Idle also appears as a wounded Private of the 24th and his part is no doubt an unexpected
but very funny parody and tribute of his role in the 1964 film ZULU.
|Left: Lying wounded in a wagon, Michael Caine in his
uncredited cameo as a bloodied British Private of the
24th Foot in the 1983 production of Monty Python's
The Meaning of Life.