the holy grail!

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terry gilliam Jack scaling the tower

An odd inscription for a grail...

Tom Waits offers some answers

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

THE EASY QUESTIONS:

 

Who directed The Fisher King?

Who starred in the movie?

Who wrote the script?

Who composed the soundtrack?

How long is the film?

When was it released?

 

 

OTHER QUESTIONS:

 

In the film, what is the inscription on the grail?

Is a special edition DVD of The Fisher King ever going to be released?

Who wrote the song "How About You"?  What are the lyrics?

Where was The Fisher King filmed?

What role does Pinocchio play?

What other movies feature the Holy Grail? 

If I liked The Fisher King, what other films should I see?

 

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CREATOR OF THIS WEBSITE:

 

Why is The Fisher King your favourite film?

What are your favourite films?

Why does your site focus more on director Terry Gilliam than the actors?

All right, so who are your favourite directors?

 

 

QUESTIONS ANSWERED ELSEWHERE ON THE SITE:

 

What awards did The Fisher King receive?

Where can I learn more about the mythology behind the film?

What versions of the film are available for purchase?

Are there any books relating to the film?

How did the Grand Central Waltz sequence come about?

Are there any deleted scenes not seen on the DVD?

Where can I find quotes from the film?

What about interesting trivia?

What about reviews?

Who was the boom operator?  Rigging gaffer?  Assistant accountant?

 

 

THE EASY ANSWERS:

 

Who directed The Fisher King?

Terry Gilliam, director of Brazil and 12 Monkeys, and original member of Monty Python.

 

Who starred in the movie?

Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, and Amanda Plummer.  For more information, click on their names.  For a complete list of cast and crew, click here.

 

Who wrote the script?

Richard LaGravenese, who also wrote the script for The Bridges of Madison County, and has recently tried his hand at directing.

 

Who composed the soundtrack?

George Fenton.  Information on the soundtrack can be found here.

 

How long is the film?

138 minutes (including 4 minutes of credits).

 

When was it released?

In North America, The Fisher King was released in September, 1991.

 

 

OTHER ANSWERS:

 

In the film, what is the inscription on the grail?

 

TO LITTLE LANNIE CARMICHAEL

FOR ALL HIS WORK…P.S.247

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT 1932

 

Is a special edition DVD of The Fisher King ever going to be released?

Sadly, there is no definitive information on the matter.  What's truly frustrating, is that all of the extra features are readily available on the Criterion laser disc, such as director's commentary, deleted scenes, costume tests, and more.  They just need to be transferred to the DVD format.  The only ray of hope is the fact that Criterion DVD's have already been released for three Terry Gilliam films, including Brazil, Time Bandits, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  So don't give up hope yet!

 

Who wrote the song "How About You"?  What are the lyrics?

Originally written for the film Babes on Broadway (1941), Burton Lane composed the music for "How About You", while Ralph Freed supplied the lyrics.  Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney sang it for this film, but it has been performed by countless others, including Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and of course Harry Nilsson, who performs it on The Fisher King soundtrack.

 

"How about you?" -- Lyrics

(only the first two verses are sung on the soundtrack)

 

I like New York in June,

How about you?

I like a Gershwin tune,

How about you?

I love a fireside

When a storm is due

How about you?

I like potato chips,

Moonlight

And motor trips,

How about you?

 

I'm mad about good books,

Can't get my fill,

And Franklin Roosevelt's looks

Give me a thrill

Holding hands

At the movie show,

When all the lights are low

May not be new,

But I like it,

How about you?

I like Jack Benny's jokes.

To a degree

I love the common folks

That includes me

I like to window shop

On 5th Avenue

I like banana splits,

Late supper at the Ritz,

How about you?

 

I love to dream of fame,

Maybe I'll shine

I'd love to see your name

Right beside mine

I can see

We're in harmony

Looks like we both agree

On what to do,

And I like it,

How about you?

 

Where was The Fisher King filmed?

Six weeks shooting exteriors in New York (with the exception of the Chinese Restaurant scene), and six weeks of interiors in Los Angeles.

 

What role does Pinocchio play?

Terry Gilliam:  "I added that.  It was what the Jack character is about -- to become a real boy.  And that's what he becomes in the film, a real human being.  And I can't remember when I got Pinocchio, but it was such a good character to have with Robin holding him."

 

What other movies feature the Holy Grail? 

The first film that comes to mind is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which Terry Gilliam co-directed.  There's also Excalibur, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Parsifal, Light in the Dark, Lancelot of the Lake and Brancaleone at the Crusades.

 

If I liked The Fisher King, what other films should I see?

This is a difficult question to answer, because you need to ask yourself:  what is it about The Fisher King that you connect with?  Is it the mythology and fairy tale aspect?  The themes of guilt and redemption?  The relationship between Parry and Jack?  The night-time nude silhouette dancing?  In any case, there are a few films I can suggest.

 

Rainman (a buddy film where one person is supposedly in his right mind, and the other suffers from a mental illness), The Princess Bride (combines many of the same elements as The Fisher King, though the comedy and fantasy are a notch higher), Brazil (another Terry Gilliam film, considered by many to be his magnum opus), and finally The Lord of the Rings (if I have to tell you about these films, then there's little hope of you ever becoming a Tolkienite). 

 

All Movie recommends these movies:  Joe Gould's Secret, K-PAX, Heaven Only Knows, Rue Du Retrait, Miracle on 34th Street, The Accidental Tourist, Joe Versus the Volcano, Fifi la Plume, and Starry Night.

 

 

ANSWERS ABOUT THE CREATOR OF THIS WEBSITE:

 

Why is The Fisher King your favourite film?

I love comedy, drama, fantasy, mythology, adventure, romance and magic.  Where else am I going to find a film that encompasses these varied and contrasting genres?  That embraces what I love about art, cinema, and life itself?  The Grand Central Waltz sequence wasn’t in the script, and yet it became the centerpiece of the film.  I saw that scene when I was fifteen, and was deeply moved.  Here was a vision on the screen that could finally match the ones floating through my head.  I couldn’t articulate my feelings very well at that age.  But this scene connected me to those thoughts and emotions hidden deep inside, and made me realize that there must be others who felt the same way.  For more on my thoughts, click here.

 

What are your favourite films?

Some of my favourite films, other than The Fisher King, include 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 12 Angry Men, The Princess Bride, The Insider, Citizen Kane, Brazil, JFK, Dersu Uzala, The Bear, Seven Samurai, Princess Mononoke, Baran and Color of Paradise.

 

Why does your site focus more on director Terry Gilliam than the actors?

Once upon a time, I thought actors were the key component to a movie's success. After years of studying film, I eventually came to the realization that filmmaking is an extremely cooperative process, with the director being the most central and crucial figure (with screenwriter coming a close second). Of course, Terry Gilliam being my favourite filmmaker might also have something to do with it.

All right, so who are your favourite directors?
In alphabetical order, Ingmar Bergman, Frank Capra, Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, Terry Gilliam, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Jackson, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Sidney Lumet, Majid Majidi, Mayao Miyazaki, Steven Spielberg and Billy Wilder.

If you any questions not answered here, please feel free to ask me.

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