Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Scene 5
Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?”
Scene 5. Man alive this is so funny. Being a scientist by profession, this is especially funny to me. It is such an outrageous spoof of ancient, backward scientific logic and thought, but it also points out the scientific logic and thought process’ relationship to the knowledge base of a historical place in time.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I absolutely love this movie. I have watched it at least 50 times. At least. Back in 1981 or 82, I won a free video disk player from Doc’s Video, one of the first stores in town dealing in the new technology of home video. Doc let me pick one disk from his rental collection as an addition to the prize. I went to the rack and there it was…The Holy Grail! I could sense Doc’s mortal fear at having to part with the disk, but I did not feel one bit of guilt or regret. Besides, Doc still had the Beta and VHS copies.
I hauled that dinosaur of electronics back and forth to friends houses, college and beyond just to watch The Holy Grail. Eventually, early in the 21st century, the disk lost its magic and became non-operational. Not long after, the video disk player’s motor failed. I have come to the conclusion the soul of the device simply could no longer stand the separation from The Holy Grail disk and died of deep and utter despair.
I now watch the DVD version. My progeny, the faithful Hays kids, also love the movie. We often share the secret language of Holy Grail quotes within casual conversation or dinner time. Scene 5 is one of our favorites.
Here is the scene, followed by the link to the YouTube clip.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Scene 5
CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We’ve got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.
BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: No, we didn’t… no.
WITCH: And this isn’t my nose, it’s a false one.
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEMIR: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat — but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.
VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
she is a witch.
CROWD: Are there? What are they?
BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
VILLAGER #2: Burn!
CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #1: More witches!
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No, no.
VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond!
BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #2: Mud!
VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!
ARTHUR: A duck.
BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically…,
VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
BEDEMIR: And therefore–?
VILLAGER #1: A witch!
CROWD: A witch!
BEDEMIR: We shall use my larger scales!
BEDEMIR: Right, remove the supports!
CROWD: A witch! A witch!
WITCH: It’s a fair cop.
CROWD: Burn her! Burn! [yelling]
BEDEMIR: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?
ARTHUR: I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
BEDEMIR: My liege!
ARTHUR: Good Sir knight, will you come with me to Camelot,
and join us at the Round Table?
BEDEMIR: My liege! I would be honored.
ARTHUR: What is your name?
BEDEMIR: Bedemir, my leige.
ARTHUR: Then I dub you Sir Bedemir, Knight of the Round Table.
Scene 5 from YouTube
And by the way, does anyone know the air speed velocity of a laden swallow?