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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 of 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 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 than what was seen in the 1964 classic 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 filmed outside Glasgow, Scotland which it turns out looks remarkably like Natal.

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)

Great Britain


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