"Knights of the Round Table" is a song from the comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The song's lyrics were written by Graham Chapman and John Cleese, with music by Neil Innes. Sung by the jolly (and rather silly) Knights of Camelot, the song describes their hobbies and other un-knightly activities, such as impersonating Clark Gable, attending the opera, and pushing the "pram a lot".
Lyrics[edit | edit source]
The song uses a device of deliberately disregarding meter for comedic effect. Words and phrases that happen to rhyme with "table" or "Camelot," no matter how dubiously, are repeatedly crammed into service regardless of syllables or stress. The song itself makes reference to this: "But many times we're given rhymes that are quite unsingable," with the last word rendered as "un-sing-ABLE."
Rhyming "Table" is:
- Clark Gable
Rhyming "Camelot" is:
- spam a lot
- diaphragm a lot
- the pram a lot
In the film[edit | edit source]
After King Arthur rounds up all of his knights, the group reaches the fabled castle of Camelot (which Arthur's servant Patsy quite rightly describes as "only a model"). As Arthur and his knights ride toward the castle, we see a spectacular song and dance number in which several knights (played by the entire Monty Python group and a few locals of the filming location) dance and sing about their fantastic lives as "Knights of the Round Table." The cheery number includes knights dancing on tables, kicking over fruit, banging people on the head (possibly derived from a very similar scene during the musical number "The Country's Going to War" in the 1933 Marx Brothers film "Duck Soup"), a prisoner in the dungeon attempting to clap along despite being chained in manacles to a wall, and stepping on a cat (cat abuse is a recurring theme in the film). After the song ends, Arthur remarks, "No, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place."
The sequence, like most of the castle scenes in the film, was shot at Doune Castle. The Pythons only had one day to shoot the entire musical number.
In other forms[edit | edit source]
Lego[edit | edit source]
Featured as a supplementary feature on the Monty Python and The Holy Grail special edition DVD, a version of the entire sequence is performed by Lego block figures. The short follows the sequence perfectly, only changing one thing; instead of stepping on the cat, a knight beats a parrot against a table, though the cat sound effect from the film remains. This is a reference to the "Dead Parrot" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Monty Python's Spamalot[edit | edit source]
The Broadway production of Monty Python's Spamalot features a rendition of the song in its first act. The song is redone as a pastiche of a glitzy Las Vegas-show number. The title of the show is taken from a lyric in the song about how the knights "eat ham and jam and Spam (food) a lot." However, the connection between Monty Python and Spam is solidified with their well-known Spam Song.
[edit | edit source]
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