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Feature
Monty Python's Life Of Brian (1979)
Most of us know by now the origins of Python's second proper movie - at a press conference, Eric Idle laughingly suggested that their next project would be "Jesus Christ - Lust For Glory". What they eventually came up with was much better - an unrivalled satire on religion, and quite possibly the funniest movie ever made. Trouble was, no-one in the film business had the balls to make it. From it's opening sequence (the first joke is a pratfall) it's evident that it's going to be Python of the highest standard, but it's the cohesion of the story that makes this all work so well. In sending up not Christ, but all of the petty, political, opportunist zealots around him, they had finally found in their subject, an idea ripe for ridicule large enough to accommodate their

rapid gag rate and broadness of style. Of course Brian isn't the messiah (that'd be the boy up the street), but you try telling them - and the financiers - that. Enter Empire's favourite Beatle and cornerstone of the British film industry for the next decade, George Harrison (and his money), and the rest is history. The creation of Handmade Films. Uproar. Outrage. Censorship. Genius.

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